With the start of a new year comes new challenges, some things come to an end, and new beginnings arise. Last year I got to work with some truly amazing clients. Not that all of my clients aren’t amazing, I just wanted to let you know the consistency is there. That being said, I didn’t get to work on awesome projects, with great clients from the very beginning of my freelance adventure. I wanted to write this post mainly to help those that are just beginning their freelance journey, or newer freelancers. As freelance creatives, we are always looking for interesting new ways to approach things along with new ways to attract clients, and I hope that this post will help you achieve your goals in 2018.
How Do You Attract Clients?
Yeah, I know me asking you the same question you’re asking seems weird, but what are you currently doing to find new projects? It’s not that i’m genuinely wanting to know, more of a question you should be asking yourself. Evaluate your current efforts, and pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t. This is the beginning to getting more quality clients in the new year. Perhaps you’re spending money that you don’t need to on Facebook or other social media advertising? Maybe you’re committing too much time to your website and not seeing enough traffic or conversions in return for your efforts? Whatever isn’t making the cut and drawing in new interest that has a good conversion, evaluate how you can change this.
When I first started freelancing, I focused so much on social media. Twitter, Facebook, and a number of blogs. I must have spent almost two years off and on focusing on the wrong things, commenting in the wrong ways, and sharing things nobody really cared about. Now I spend almost no time on social media, and I manage to draw more interest by doing next to nothing than I did years ago. The reason being people are looking, or interested in specific things in our industry of freelance graphic designers, so I share limited projects, or information about freelancing on my social media – not anything and everything anymore.
Attract Clients With Social Media
I’m sure most of us all have social media accounts. If not multiple, at least one, right? Are you using your social media to attract clients, and if so, how? Did you know you can create business profiles or pages for both Instagram and Facebook? They’re both a little different from each other, but they allow you to post links to your site, offer buttons for contacting you directly on platforms potential clients are already on, and let you easily share content while making your posts, pictures, and links easy to share between followers and fans. I’d highly recommend looking over Pages on Facebook.
I’d suggest starting with Facebook to help attract new clients because everything you share there can be posted to instagram so long as there are images attached. This is perfect for blog posts, or portfolio content. That being said, don’t hesitate in sharing blog posts to Pinterest either. This can create a direct link to your blog posts and other pages on your website. From my own experience, things on Pinterest seem to get a lot more interest due to their visual value. So don’t neglect sharing your content on these three social media platforms. Obviously you want to track visitors and shares, and all of the above have some good tools for tracking and viewing these stats with their business pages or accounts. The best part is, they’re all free!
Optimize your Site & Content
There are some simple things you can do to optimize your website content and get more visitors to your website. That itself is probably deserving of its own blog post. So, I highly recommend reading my post on SEO Myths & tips. That post covers the basics on how to begin optimizing and points out some pitfalls to be aware of.
In a nut shell, focus your efforts on optimizing page titles, the page content, and images on your website. If you’re using WordPress for your website and blogging platform, then Yoast is a great tool for managing these aspects on your website. Just make sure to keep your image names, tags, and descriptions relative to the pages they display on. If you’re hand coding images into your website then make use of alt tags.
These aspects are often overlooked but can provide a major source of traffic compared to poor optimization or none at all. S.E.O takes a little time before you see any real benefits, there’s almost never immediate results. However, S.E.O is really one of those things that gives back what you put into it.
Be Everywhere Your Clients Are
Attracting new clients isn’t really an exact science, it’s like casting a wide net over the internet. Only your net is the content you’ve created. The more of your content that links to your website from popular sites and social media, the more credibility you can create. A great way to get in front of potential clients is to be everywhere they are. Just like big brands that spend thousands of dollars to get in front of you hoping to convert you into a customer, you can do the same thing by making everything you crate, sharable.
While I use this tactic in moderation, there are some great examples of online stores who make use of Pinterest and Instagram to share their products. So why not include social sharing options on your blog or portfolio pages within your website? If you’re not into adding social share options to everything you post on your website, I completely understand that. I think this type of tactic is best executed in moderation. Perhaps just make your blog posts sharable, or use a social hub for comments on your blog instead of the default comment section. The option is entirely yours!
Start a Newsletter
While this is something new i’m playing with, it’s definitely been worth doing so far. Every week or two, I send an email newsletter to previous clients and people who’ve made project inquiries through my website. While sending a newsletter is great, providing the people on my email list with value is much better. I create value by sharing tips with them. I know each and every one of my clients, past present, and future is coming to me because they need a graphic or web designer. So what can I offer them of value? Simple. Tips, tricks, inside knowledge, brief tutorials. You name it! I’d rather a client remember me for going above and beyond than just doing the bare minimum for them. I’m sure you’ve heard this before but, it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than acquiring a new one. Well, sending my previous clients, and those who have made inquiries before let’s me target both the existing, and potential. Hopefully you see where this type of added value can pay dividends.
If you don’t have much of a client pool full of email addresses to target, don’t fret. In this situation i’d recommend focusing more on blogging and social media. After you build a list of emails from project inquiries and previous client projects, then get to sharing posts that they may have an interest in. From there you can basically market yourself to them again by providing value to them again after a project.
There’s some great options for creating email campaigns for sending out emails. I personally use Mailchimp because for my needs it’s perfect. They also don’t charge you anything for having a small list of under 2,000 recipients. Other options that may fit your email marketing needs are: Constant Contact, or Campaign Monitor. The last two are probably a little less well known, but should be perfect for helping to attract new clients.
Get All the Reviews
If you’re a business owner or freelancer, don’t neglect the positive impact that reviews can give you. Both in search and on social platforms. Touching back on Facebook Pages: If you set up your page as a business, you can ask your clients to leave you reviews. The same can be said with Google business listings. Both Google business listings and Facebook Pages are free to set up. Believe it or not, your competition or another local freelancer has made good use of these functions and has them set up already. There’s nothing stoping you from doing the same thing, or getting ahead of the curve by seeing these profiles up.
One of the best things about Google business listings is that Google themselves, love to provide Google content. So, people searching for your services or business niche will have more of an opportunity to find you through Google. Provided you have a Google business listing this can make major advances in attracting clients.
Extra benefits to obtaining reviews let you prove credibility to others who find you online. It might seem a little strange at first when you ask clients to leave their feedback on your Facebook page, or business listing – but it’s a great feeling reading their feedback or seeing a five star rating. In turn, when others see positive feedback they are more inclined to contact that business or individual. All in all, this can help attract clients.
What are your thoughts?
I really hope this information is of some use to you. If theres anything that you’ve noticed which helps to bring in clients, please feel free to share that here for other readers. Perhaps you have some tips for others on how to attract clients? I welcome all comments and feedback.