Have you ever gotten desperate for clients? Maybe you don’t know how you’re going to pay next month’s rent. Maybe your car broke down and repairs will cost more than you have right now. Maybe a tree fell into your house and your insurance won’t cover it (that’s a true story, by the way).
Whatever the reason, you need clients. Right now. What’s a freelancer to do?
It’s time to step up your marketing game! Fortunately, there are tried and tested marketing strategies that have proven to be effective for freelancers. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Read the list below and choose two you can implement in the next two weeks.
5 Ideas to Get Leads Fast
1. Approach your existing network
The easiest way to get new leads fast is to approach your existing network. Reach out to family members, friends, former co-workers, and even former employers. Let them know what type of work you do and for whom, and to pass along your information to someone who may need your service.
It doesn’t matter if nobody in your network is a business owner. The idea is to somehow get the word out into their networks. After all, everyone knows someone who runs a business, or works in a business that hires freelancers.
Shoot them an email, call them, or set up a coffee date. Do whatever feels natural and comfortable to you.
(By the way, there’s no need to tell everyone about your emergency. That will only make you look desperate, which is not attractive. Promote yourself based on your merits as a skilled professional, not based on your needs.)
2. Tap your current/past clients
Your clients can be your best promoters. Assuming you’ve done a great job and they were happy with your work, they will effectively talk you up to people they know. Don’t be shy; ask for referrals.
Write or call your clients to explore if they may have a need for your services again, or if they know someone who does. It never hurts to ask. The worst thing that could happen is they say “no.”
3. Get super active in one social networking platform
If you use any of the social networks, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, intensify your presence there in the next couple of weeks. Follow or connect with people who fit your Ideal Client profile, or who may know those who do.
Engage with them. Respond to their posts or updates. Add to the conversation with your own insights, or share additional resources they may find helpful.
If they express a need for anything and you know a solution, share it. Post links to useful articles, blog posts, or reports.
Occasionally, throw in a pitch for your services. Make it natural and non-hypey. Something as simple as, “If you or someone you know needs graphic design services, I have an opening in my schedule right now. Call or email me….”
4. Offer a steep discount to members of a forum/networking group
I don’t like this approach, because in general, I don’t like discounting on my services. However, in times of great need, this strategy works very well.
Go to an online forum or networking group you belong to and offer your services at a special rate — exclusive to the group’s members only.
Be very specific about which services are discounted, and when the offer must be taken. You wouldn’t want people taking up your offer months down the road when you’re already too busy with other clients.
5. Launch a direct mail campaign
Direct mailing to a targeted list of prospects is another effective way of getting leads fast. However, it takes more work than the other strategies discussed here.
Instead of offering your services directly through the mailing, offer a free piece of information or buzz piece instead. A special report or white paper is the most common buzz piece. If you have two weeks to pull this off, I suggest spending one whole week creating your buzz piece.
You want your buzz piece to be focused on one specific need or problem your Ideal Client is experiencing. You want it to be well written (yes, even if you’re not a writer) and provide extremely valuable information. You want it to be so good, you could charge money for it — and people would happily pay you.
After your buzz piece, you’ll need a letter to go along with it. The letter sells your buzz piece. It’s free, but you still need to convince the prospects that it’s more than worth the time and effort to go to your landing page (web page) and submit their contact information in order to get your buzz piece for free.
Even if things look dire to you right now, don’t despair. Times like these, you realize it’s actually a GOOD thing that you don’t have a fixed salary. You can make more or less money — it all depends on you.
The amount of projects you can get are no longer limited by your geographic location. Through the Internet, you can connect with prospects from any country in the world.
It’s up to you. Do as much or as little as you like to get the word out about your services and skills. Accept as much or as little work as you like.
But when time is running out, it’s wise to use high-impact marketing strategies that have been proven effective by freelancers who came before us.
If you were desperate to get more clients immediately, which of these strategies would you use? Have I missed high-impact strategies that should have been included in this list?
Do share your thoughts, experiences and questions in the comments below.
PS: Don’t wait for an emergency. Market your business consistently, even when you think you don’t need clients. That’s the only way to ensure you’re never desperate for clients.
Image by kelsey_lovefusionphoto