If my recent post about why you should (or should not) become a freelance WordPress developer inspired you to finally leave the corporate world and set off to work as a freelancer, kudos!
While this is certainly an exciting time, it can also be super terrifying. After all, how are you going to find paying clients that will justify leaving the steady salary you were earning at your 9–5 desk job?
This is the make-or-break point for most beginning freelancers. If you don’t know how to secure a constant stream of revenue from your clients, you’re never going to make it on your own. #RealTalk
The good news is that it’s not that difficult to market yourself and sell your services to potential clients. It may sound intimidating — especially if you don’t have a background in sales or marketing — but with the right tricks, you can streamline this process and make it the easiest part of your new career.
Pitch Potential Clients with Your Website
Like I said in my post about using your website to pitch potential clients, prospects who are interested in your services will scope you out better than their Tinder matches. They’ll scrutinize your website and read all of your social media posts.
While most people would be a little creeped out by this, you, dear freelancer, will be using this modus operandi to your advantage.
You know you have a captive audience, so make sure your prospects like what they see. Grab them from their search results and lead them to discover why you’re the best candidate for the job.
Use your website to explain what makes you special. For example, I’m different from other freelancers because I’m a WordPress consultant, developer, speaker, and teacher. I’m also a host of a weekly WordPress podcast at OfficeHours.fm.
By including all of these keywords on my website, I’ll be more likely to pop up in search results when prospects do a simple web search. Plus, defining what your ideal clients and projects are lets potential clients know if you two are a good fit.
Don’t forget to let your personality shine and dazzle your prospects with a portfolio that shows off your skills. If these prospects are impressed enough, they’ll give you their contact information. Let’s sweeten the pot to guarantee that happens.
How to Capture Contact Info from Your Prospects
How many times have you thought, If only I could find clients, I would know exactly what to say to convince them I’m the right person for the job?
Well, your wish is granted. By adding an option to exchange a newsletter or opt-in offer for your website visitors’ email addresses, you’ll have a list of potential clients to pitch your services to without having to go out and find leads.
An opt-in offer or lead magnet is usually my favorite option to recommend.
You’ll create a valuable piece of content — such as a worksheet, series of email lessons, e-course/e-guide, etc. that your audience will find value in. The more this content helps them out, the more likely they’ll see you as an authority figure who knows what they’re talking about.
The kicker is that this valuable piece of content is free for your potential clients.
Wait, give away my hard work for free?
No, freelancing does not mean free work. But if you tried to monetize this offer, you may only get a few takers. By giving away your work in exchange for an email address, you may be able to get repeat customers that generate way more income, making that email address more valuable than actual cash.
Create an opt-in offer that works for your target audience. For example, if your target audience is small business owners, your opt-in offer may be something like: 10 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make that YOU Can Avoid.
Place this opt-in offer on your homepage, after each blog post you write, on every social media platform you use, and in forums you participate in. You want to get this offer in front of as many eyes as possible to get the most email addresses to pitch to.
Don’t Sell — Engage!
You may be tempted to immediately start blasting your list of newfound email address you captured from your opt-in offer with your services, but hang on a second.
Your potential clients are still feeling you out, so give them more content that proves why you’re the only one to work with. If you provide these leads with content that continues to help them solve problems they’re facing, who do you think they’re going to call when they have a big project they can’t tackle on their own?
Stick to what you know best and deliver content on that platform every week — no slacking allowed! You want to prove consistency, dedication, and ingenuity.
Your content can be in the form of:
- Weekly blog posts
- Newsletter updates
- Podcast episodes
- Social media posts
- YouTube videos
Email your list every time you have a new piece of content to share, so they never miss an update. They’ll start to look forward to hearing from you and learning your pearls of wisdom, while you’re building a sense of trust and authority.
Use Your Existing Contacts for Referrals
You should already have a target customer in mind when looking for new clients to work with. Why not use your existing contacts to help you connect with them?
Share a status update on your favorite social media platforms to let your contacts know what you’re doing and who you’re looking for. Keep it short and simple so it doesn’t get ignored.
Here’s an example for a freelancer looking to attract small business owners:
Do you know anyone working in a growing startup who may be looking to take their website to the next level? I’d love to help! If you know someone who fits this description and needs exceptional design or website development work, please message me privately. I’d love to send you a special gift in return.
Let your contacts know you’re looking for work and open the doors to opportunity.
Sometimes all it takes is letting people know what you offer, and that you’re a working freelancer, to open the doors of opportunity.
Send Your Customers Thank You Notes (Really!)
When was the last time you received an actual handwritten thank you note?
Sending one of these is an easy way to stand out in your customer’s eyes. Once you complete a project, send one out thanking your customer for their business and letting them know how much you enjoyed working together.
Briefly ask them to share your contact information with other people they may know in need of the services you provide. Don’t get long winded here — make your point, but keep the focus more on thanking your customer.
Here’s an example:
Thank you so much for your business — I really enjoyed working with you to create the awesome new website for your photography studio. Your photographs are the true star of the project!
As a quick favor, I’d really appreciate you sharing my contact information with anyone looking for website development services. If it’s easier, you can send me their information and I’ll handle the rest from there.
In return, I’d be happy to send you a special gift for your time.
Please keep me in mind, and once again, thank you for your business! I look forward to working with you and your team in the future.
This simple act of kindness can return high-paying referrals in a short amount of time.
Network in a New Way
When most of us go to networking events, we’re usually focused on finding clients to work with. But thinking this way means you’re missing a big opportunity.
Take the time to meet as many people as possible. Then, offer a referral exchange to each person you meet.
Pay attention to what your new contact does. Ask them what their target customer (a good lead) looks like. Let them know that you’d be happy to refer their services to anyone you meet who seems like a perfect fit. Grab one of their business cards and you’ll be surprised to see that they’ll offer the same exchange for you.
Connect with your new contact on social media and don’t forget to send them a thank you note mentioning how grateful you are that they’re willing to help. You never know when they’ll find a possible lead that may be able to work with you.
Now it’s time to get moving! Brainstorm a few ideas for your opt-in offer and remember to engage with your new audience, instead of trying to sell them on your services immediately.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your current network of friends, family, associates, and happy customers to promote your services to new prospects. If you follow these tips, you’ll be attracting tons of clients in no time!