When I first started freelance writing, I thought all I needed to do was write a couple of blog posts, and the customers would start rolling in. But despite sending out a few hundred emails, that didn’t happen. And the more time I devoted to digital marketing and becoming the best SEO strategist I could be, the less time I had to grow my freelance business.
But with a little trial and error, I discovered ten killer ways to get new clients. And when I occasionally hit a dry patch, these simple steps always get things moving again.
You don’t have to be a Kardashian, a digital marketing expert, or a master of SEO to thrive on social media. Even if your followers are few when you start, share and share alike. Getting your name out in front of a few people is better than not getting yourself out there at all! It’s not about getting the greatest number of views; it’s about cultivating engagement: shares, likes, and re-Tweets. Post things that offer value and help others reach their goals include a great image, and people will share. And the more people share, the broader the circle of new people who see you and your work.
The old saying, ‘no man is an island’ applies to building your small business, too. And when you team up with another brand, a colleague, or other contemporary, the potential exists for increased exposure, credibility, and grow your business as well. It’s a win-win situation that helps both you and your new partner by dual promotions. As a writer I like to work with other authors and illustrators on anthologies – 15 people have a much broader promotional circle than just one!
Share Your Knowledge
By teaching a basic skills class or seminar at your local community college, you’ll be helping others get ahead while building your small business. I attract a broad cross-section of attendees at my “Intro to Digital Marketing” seminar, people I otherwise may not have had the chance to cross paths with. You may be inclined to do this for free, but you’ll see greater results if you charge for participation. People are more invested in something when they’ve paid for it. Include some handouts and takeaways that contain information about your business. And don’t forget to include your contact information on everything that you give away.
Doing a guest post is an easy way to gain exposure and grow your small business. Guest posts allow you to put your expertise in front of a whole new audience. Guest blogs can be either free or paid, and you should decide whether a free post aligns with your career goals.
I typically charge for website SEO consultations, but at slow times I have been known to run a limited period special. This is when I offer a one-time, fifteen-minute phone, email, or Skype consultation for free. Be sure to follow up with your potential client after the consult and provide additional information about your services and what you can realistically do for them.
Run a Contest or Giveaway
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Contests, giveaways, and other freebie events are a wonderful way to attract potential clients and promote your work. I’ve used Rafflecopter in the past and I think they’re great. They create a box you place in your post that records each share your articles gets, as an entry. The more shares, the more entries, and the more chances of reaching new clients!
Update Your Bio, Website, and Portfolio
When was the last time you took a good hard look at your professional image? Is your bio more than a year old? Is your website the old black-screen-with-white-font style from five year’s ago? Is the most recent addition to your portfolio more than six months ago? Demonstrating your relevance and authority is vital if you want to attract new clients. But you can’t do that if your web-presence is out of date. And if you haven’t had anything published in the last six months to add to your portfolio, don’t stress. Create a dynamic blog entry that will engage readers and show off your talents.
Reconnect with past clients to see how they’re doing. Fill them in on your latest accomplishments and achievements. Find out what they’re working on and see if you can help.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Now that you’ve updated your website, it’s time to share! LinkedIn, Google+, Medium, StumbleUpon, etc., are great online sharing sites. For Twitter and Facebook, share just a teaser with a link at the bottom that reads something like this:
This story originally appeared on http://www.freedomchevalier.com on July 20, 2016
Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO is fantastic. I’ve used it countless times while donning my journalist hat, and enjoy being on the other side as a source! It’s simple and fun: sign up for the email list and connect with reporters seeking sources to include in their articles. You never know, you could end up in the pages of the New York Times!
In many ways, these ten tips really boil down to one simple one: never stop promoting yourself or your work. Think back to your early days. You started doing this because you believed in your work and yourself. Rekindle that passion and tell the world why you’re good at what you do!
There’s a great line in the 1992 film, Straight Talk, starring Dolly Parton and James Woods. In it, Woods’ tells Parton his dream is to write a novel and then dismisses his confession with the comment, “but the world doesn’t need another baseball novel.” The inimitable Ms. Parton responds, ‘if it’s brilliant, they do.”
So be brilliant, and carve out space in the world for your talents. And stop by and say ‘hi’ now and then! I’d love to hear from you!