How to Attract Your Target Clients

We’ve talked before about choosing the kind of work and clients you want to work with. Knowing who you want to work with is great, but how do you find them? We’re lucky enough to be in an industry where there’s no shortage of work, but a lot of that work isn’t worth our time and effort, so it’s important that we remain somewhat picky with who we decide to work with.

Attracting your target client instead of working with just anyone has several benefits. It allows you to get the kinds of projects you really want while working with your ideal client. No need to tell you how working with your ideal client can lift a ton of stress off your shoulders, right?

So how do you attract that perfect client? What if you have no idea who the perfect client is and should be? Read on my fellow freelancers!

Deciding Who’s Your Target

Before you can start trying to find and attract those elusive clients of perfection, you first need to figure out just who they are. No one can tell you who the perfect client is (although we’ll probably agree on several of the points), because what works for me may not work for you. However, there are several questions you can ask yourself to decide who it is you want to work with:

  • Do I prefer agency clients, small business clients or large businesses?
  • Am I okay with getting paid 30-days after invoice, or do I want to get paid now?
  • Do I want to work off-site or on-site or both?
  • Do I want to focus on local clients?
  • What kind of work do I want? Do I want advanced programming work, simple designs or work for the government?
  • Do I want the client to keep a strictly professional relationship, or do I want the client to be friendly (this works when communication is via email only as well)?

My own perfect client is simple. I want to work with design/in-house agencies or freelancers only. I prefer someone who is professional, but very friendly who doesn’t mind joking around. I want to work with someone who already knows the ins and outs of what I do, so I don’t have to worry about teaching them how to work it. Ah…perfection!

Attracting Those Perfect Clients

Now that you know who your target clients are, it’s time to find them. The first thing to finding them is to stop taking on those clients who aren’t your targets. This can be tricky though if you only have a few clients or if none of your current clients match that profile, so it’s okay to slowly phase those clients out as you replace them with your target ones. If you are busy already and have some that happen to fit, you can do what I did and immediately stop taking projects from those clients who don’t fit with you.

To attract your target client, you’ve got to act like your target client. If you’re wanting someone who’s all-business and professional, don’t use lax and personal speak in your portfolio and correspondence. Likewise, if you’re wanting a fun client who’ll joke around and be a bit more personal, don’t stick to boring, professional speak in your portfolio and correspondence. Just like you, they tend to be attracted more to their idea of the “perfect freelancer” and you want to make sure your materials match who you’re looking for.

If you don’t have any clients who match your ideal profile, now’s the time to get your marketing up to snuff. After you’ve made sure that all your materials match the kind of client you want, it’s time to go client hunting.

Great Places to Find Awesome Clients

Where you look for clients is almost as important as what clients you work with. When I first started freelancing, I tried looking for clients everywhere I could, and quickly found out that some places where much better than others in terms of the quality of the client and project.

Avoid Craigslist and any job bidding sites as much as possible. I know some people have had some success, and if you’re completely new to freelancing, they might be the only way to go. However, in my experience these places offer low paying jobs, terrible projects and worse client relationships.

Here are some awesome places I subscribe to via RSS that update me when a new job is posted:

No matter where you look, always remember to only accept those clients who fit your profile. Pretty soon, all of the clients you work with will be your perfect target ones!

Your Turn

How do you attract your target clients?

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