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ASK US WEDNESDAY: “How can I get new client leads?”

by Rachel Smith
13 February 2019

So, it’s 2019 and I’ve decided to get out more, get new client leads and get more fun clients this year. I’m also moving out of the country to a bigger city, which I hope will help. I have a friend who has any number of custom clients, as well as newspaper and magazine work, and doesn’t do any social events etc because she is a homebody. Sure, everyone likes her – she’s one of those very popular people – but her client base is unbelievable. She even scores jobs off LinkedIn although she said she hasn’t updated her profile forever and it needs work! She also lives in the country, not a city area. Clearly she is really good at PROSPECTING. What do you think she is doing right to score all these good gigs including ones that have the possibility of travel, health and beauty treatments, etc? Anna

She’s obviously doing something (or several somethings) right – and without knowing her and her business, it’s hard to say what those strategies might be. But I will say that prospecting doesn’t have to be about getting out and pressing the flesh, although that can help if you attend the right events and meet the right people. Here are a few other ideas for closing the deal on new clients and new projects.

Ask existing clients for testimonials

This is hard for many creatives, so we’re not surprised it’s a regular question popping up on AUW. We’ve written about it here and include a script from our ebook here, on how to ask. Glowing testimonials on your website, socials or Google listing build trust and provide social ‘proof’ of your skills and experience, and may just be the tipping point for a new client to contact you. Another way is to create a Google business listing, link it to your website, then direct clients there to give you a Google review.

Ask existing clients for referrals

As part of your friendly follow-up (1-2 weeks after a project has ended) seeing if a client has any more work to outsource, you can also say (on the phone or via email), ‘If there’s someone else at your organisation who might have a need for my services, I’d love it if you introduced me’. You never know where it might lead!

Optimise your LinkedIn profile.

Darren Baguley breaks down headline tricks here and we also love this post on The Freelancer’s Year about how to effectively use LinkedIn to find work. In short, you need a photo (a nice, professional one), and the right keywords in your headline (like ‘freelance’ and ‘content writer’ and ‘copywriter’ or ‘journalist’). Your elevator pitch in your summary should be short, succinct and heavy on bullet points. If you’re happy to be found by recruiters you should flick the dial to ‘open’ on your profile and fill in the form to list the types of jobs you want.

Approach new leads via LinkedIn

Don’t be shy about researching companies on LinkedIn that you’d like to freelance for, and sending them a message via the platform – especially if you see they’re currently hiring / in a state of flux. They may need some freelance help to get them over the line.

Join multiple Facebook groups.

Jac Taylor, who featured in our recent Freelancer Q&A, believes that FB groups are gold for digging up new leads and we totally agree. You can join Find A Finders Fee, Young Australian Writers (if you’re under 40), Freeline on FB, Binders full of Writing Jobs (women) and Freelance Jungle has a private jobs group for its Patreon followers.

Create Twitter feeds for pitch call-outs.

This post is all about finding work on social media in general, but there’s more info about how to set up Twitter effectively so you capture pitch call-outs from editors.

Build strong relationships.

Of course, this is important with editors and clients. But it’s also a great idea with other freelancers who also may occasionally have an overflow of work. Creating those relationships can be done at conferences, freelancer events, engaging on social media and of course, by sharing people’s work on your socials, congratulating them for milestones or announcements or commenting on their posts. It builds goodwill, hopefully encourages people to share your stuff back, and may turn to work or collaborations.

Optimise your website for SEO.

Lister Jude Love provides some tips on optimising here, but it’s about more than this – image tags and the right metadata for each page is also important. We have a post coming soon with more tips on how freelancers can optimise their website, rank higher in Google (and get more work!), so watch this space.

Hit up your existing networks.

Email every single person you know – not a group blast-out, but a personal email. Let each contact know you’ve moved, the type of projects you’re interested in working on or types of clients you’re interested in working with. You never know what kind of ideas or offers of work you may get back. Your current network will also know other people they can recommend you to.

What are your tips for getting new client leads?

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Rachel Smith

As a kid, Rachel used to carry around a little suitcase of pens and paper so she could stop and write stories whenever inspiration struck. These days, she writes for a living, in between running the show at Rachel's List. Some of you may actually believe she looks like a megaphone in real life, but it's not the case. Honest.
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4 responses on "ASK US WEDNESDAY: “How can I get new client leads?”"

  1. helen hawkes says:

    Great article thanks Rach!!

  2. Thanks for the mention Rachel! Great post as usual. I’m a bit behind on my blog post reading but I’m getting there 🙂

  3. Rachel Smith says:

    It’s a commitment Lindy! I think I have a couple of yours to catch up on too 🙂

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