I use LinkedIn a lot – to write blog posts, find leads, network with people in my industry, research potential clients and more. It’s a great tool for helping me to grow my business and attract potential clients.
There are numerous experts who write a lot about getting noticed on LinkedIn and building your brand. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to make the most of this resource.
Show up consistently where your prospective clients hang out – in groups, for example. Be consistently visible – write regularly. Be consistent in your message – stick to what works for you.
Set aside time regularly to market on LinkedIn, research leads, contact prospects, etc. Spend the time to make the network valuable for you, and to add value to your network. Schedule your time weekly, and use that time to add value – help people with leads and introductions. Connect others where you can.
Share your unique perspectives and views. Add commentary on other people’s content. Write interesting articles on what you know. Add your point of view to your articles. Send personal messages to your contacts, and get involved in conversations.
Tools are as effective as you use them, and LinkedIn is no different. It won’t be as effective if you just set up a profile and let it sit there. Make the most of the tools at hand, and get yourself out there.
How do you use LinkedIn to your advantage? Need help with writing great messages? Let me know – email@example.com.
I’ve written quite a bit about how prospecting and how to find clients as a freelance writer. It was a tough middle part of the year for me, and many others, as some clients slowed their output or shut down completely.
Although I have several strategies in getting more client work, I like this three-step system, which works pretty well.
1. Browse job boards daily
I’ve made a list of sites that have the types of leads and clients I like to work with. I have them linked in a web folder, and go through them in the morning or afternoon to find new opportunities. I search according to certain keywords, such as freelance, writer, editor, copy editor, etc. I also find companies that might hire for my role, based on other roles they’re hiring for. For example, if they need a technical writer or graphic designer, then they might need a copy editor or freelance writer who can handle other tasks.
2. Research the leads
There are some job postings where I’ll just apply and move on. However, in most cases, I’ll do research on the company on LinkedIn, find out more about what they do, make sure to get a contact name, and get as much detail as possible about what they’re looking for in this role. I’ll make note of some key terms and phrases to use when applying for the role or reaching out to a prospect.
3. Create a targeted email pitch
I use a script as the foundation for my reach out email. I’ll then customize the content of the email for the person I’m reaching out to, the position I’m looking to apply for, the skills I offer that match their particular needs, etc. The goal is to attract the reader’s attention and get a response (preferably a YES) to my email. Any response shows some level of interest, and gives me a contact for future follow-ups. The key is to personalize the email by highlighting a need or something that would make them interested in me. End it with a call to action so that it’s easy to reply. I also need to stand out in some way by tying my skills and experience to their needs or problem.
Would this approach work for you? Do you have your own way of finding possible clients? Let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a freelancer or solopreneur, you are responsible for attracting and retaining clients. You have a number of tools at your disposal for getting clients. One overlooked strategy involves increasing your influence – or your ability to get clients to come to you. Your influence serves as a magnet – it draws prospects to contact you and consider you for the services you provide. So how can you work on your “influence muscle” and get more prospects to see you as the solution to their needs?
Consider these six elements of influence, and work those muscles (all together or individually) to become more influential in your field.
Do something for someone else, and they will tend to return the favour. This is one of my preferred approaches. I will refer clients and leads to people, or help them find something they need – and they’ll be more likely to help me in the future. Reciprocity is a side effect of content marketing – you produce free useful content, and your readers / audience will feel obliged in some way to do something for you. Reciprocity involves giving now to receive later (but without making it feel like an obligation to do so).
People tend to follow or obey authority figures. It’s in our nature. What you need to develop is earned or demonstrated authority (NOT institutional authority) – your authority comes from your experience and showing your knowledge. Again, content marketing shows that you know what you are doing, which builds your authority.
We associate and do business with people we like. We want to associate with people we like. Become a likeable expert, and people will want to do business with you. Being likeable is subjective, but it’s relatively simple to achieve – be honest, be yourself, be friendly and approachable.
People do what they see others doing. It’s why social networking websites do so well – people go where their friends and influencers go. When people say positive things about you (through testimonials or referrals), others will follow. Pay attention to what others say about you, and spread the word.
Commitment + consistency
When you commit to something, you tend to follow through and do it consistently. People are attracted to those who are committed to their craft, and who show that they are able to do it consistently. When you have a solution to a problem, and demonstrate that you can solve those issues consistently, prospects will want to work with you.
It’s the law of supply and demand. When a resource is scarce, or limited in time or availability, people will want it more. People tend to respond to avoid loss. Think of when you wanted to get something because it was running out. If you have a webinar or run a training course with limited seating or that is only available for a given time, it will trigger a response. This is my least favourite approach, as it can be used dishonestly and can backfire. But used properly, it can help with developing influence.
Build your influence, and you will attract prospects and grow your client list. Do it honestly and use the method(s) that work best for you.
Any questions or comments? Let me know – email@example.com.
If you’re self-employed, then you need to generate leads to keep bringing in new clients for your business. My advice to everyone is to find what works for you, and that you enjoy or are willing to do, and keep doing that. I tend to focus on contacting people through LinkedIn and sending customized emails to potential clients.
However, if you’re having difficulty finding lead generation strategies that work for you, then consider the following list – which I picked up from Josh Haynam at Hubspot.
Collect and share success secrets from thought leaders. You can read books or interview industry experts, and summarize what they’ve said, much like Tim Ferriss has done in Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors.
Make helper videos to solve an issue for prospects. You can also create a learning centre on your website or with your own YouTube channel.
Create a quiz on your website to learn more about visitors and obtain their contact info. You can then publish the results of the quiz.
Provide best practices for a challenging tactic in your industry. Make and share a list of great ideas on how to tackle a challenge, such as best practices for publishing a blog that draws in readers.
Show what is working for you in your business. Provide a list of tips on what has worked or not for you. For example, if you are great at writing white papers, then you can explain what has worked for you, and what to avoid.
Create a useful spreadsheet of resources. Even with Google and the Internet, people appreciate when someone has done the work for them to put together a list of useful resources.
Offer a deep dive answer on a tough question. This means giving in-depth, step-by-step information on how to address a difficult problem. For example, you could go into detail on how people can attract clients at a trade show.
Create a worksheet that simplifies a process. A prospect would give you their email address in exchange for the worksheet that can simplify that aspect of their life. I’ve seen great worksheets on writing sales sheets and marketing materials.
Create a list of useful tools. Readers will use the tools to accomplish a goal, and keep returning to your site to make use of those tools. Even something simple like calculators for specific purposes – mortgages, investments, etc. – would bring in leads, as long as they apply to your business.
Compile examples and case studies for people to learn from. Show how people have succeeded by doing something or following a process. This is effective in niche industries, as people want to learn from others in their industry.
Create a valuable email course that teaches people how to do something (like create the perfect prospecting email) through a series of email lessons. I’ve taken a number of email courses, and they are great for learning at your own schedule.
Host a giveaway. Make the giveaway something that people really want (whatever is hot or useful at that time). Make it something different, like a fountain pen or media streaming device.
Create a template to simplify an everyday process – such as a budget, calendar, schedule or market research.
Offer a free trial of your services. For example, you could edit / review a website page to demonstrate the value you provide.
Make a checklist that takes the reader through a series of steps to ensure that a task is completed. It could serve as an easy reference on a process, such as what you should include in any prospecting email.
What lead generation tools have worked for you? Let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: I’m the shoemaker whose kids have no shoes here – I’ve put off redoing my website, which is a must. I’ll use the excuse that I’ve been busy with client work, but in reality, I’m just procrastinating. Still, to follow is some good advice, so don’t let my negligence get in the way of improving your website.
As a freelancer, you need to use a variety of tools to attract new clients to your business. Your website should be one of those key tools. It should be more than a portfolio site – it should work for you 24 hours a day, attracting the leads and clients you want. There are scores of books, websites, blogs and experts who can help you to create a better website. I’ve distilled a few ideas that can help you – the freelancer – create a website that will make your business more stable (i.e., attract clients on a regular basis).
9 things that your website should do
Fit the world view of your ideal client. Don’t be everything to everyone. Address the content on your website to your best or ideal clients. Think how they think. Use the language that they know and use.
Follow design best practices. Find a design you like and emulate it. Make sure that it uses spacing well (not cluttered), clear imagery (nice photos), legible fonts (on all types of viewing devices), etc. Simple is better
Use effective headings. Keep them under 10 words. Each one should explain why the visitor is in that section. Headings should be benefit-focused.
Tell your dream client why they are in their current situation. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, point out the horrors that occurred when they tried to do all the writing themselves, or they used an amateur. Don’t brag about yourself.
Show the reader your passion and experience. Tell them about who you’ve helped, what you’ve done, and why you enjoy doing it. Be real – be yourself.
Explain solutions clearly. State a problem and how you solve it, clearly and simply.
Maximize the value of their visit. Give the reader something for their time – an ebook, cheat sheet, free gift, etc. Encourage them to come back, or sign up to a mailing list or newsletter.
Point to a victory. Include a case study that shows what you did for another client who is like them. Explain what you did differently, and how you solved a problem.
Have a clear call to action. Tell the potential client what to do and what will happen next. If they provide their email address, you will schedule a time to talk about their needs.
Make these changes to your website and you should see results – not right away of course. Your website is a tool, along with marketing, networking, cold / warm calling, etc. Make your website do some of the heavy lifting for you, and you’ll see results.
Let me know if you need help with some of these elements. I can refer you to some great web designers and writers (if I’m not available). Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions – email@example.com.
I’ve written a few blog posts on this topic already: check out two of them here and here.
I’m sure that you’ve sent out many an email to prospects, only to never hear back. It can be frustrating to have to deal with the prospecting void – emails go in and never return. There is a lot of great advice (through books, websites, podcasts, etc.) that can help you to write more effective emails.
Here are two tips that can increase the response rate of your prospecting emails. Use them together for greater success.
Ask for action at every step of the email marketing process
Include a call to action in your email. Too often, we send out emails discussing what we do, or how we can help a prospect to solve a problem, or wanting to talk about how we can improve their productivity… without telling them what to do next. You’re leaving it up to the email recipient to figure out the next step. Without an impetus – the call to action – a body at rest tends to stay at rest.
This does not mean that you should just say “Call me now so that I can sell you this great product or service.” The call to action depends on what you want to achieve. Maybe you want to establish a relationship before making the hard sell. In this case, give them something free and valuable – tell them to click the link to download a free report or provide their email address to sign up for a newsletter that will give them great value or useful information.
The next email might ask them to select a time and date for a short call to find out more about their business, discuss any problems, explain your services, etc. Again, you provide the call to action, such as set up a phone or Zoom call, or email me now for available times to talk.
At every email interaction, tell the person what to do and how to do it. Make sure to:
Be specific. State exactly what they need to do (e.g., click here, download this, enter your email). Any confusion will eliminate action.
Be simple. Use short, simple sentences. Avoid distractions and cut to the point.
Every call to action must use action words (CLICK, DOWNLOAD, CALL, EMAIL) followed by what will happen next (the benefit of completing the call to action).
Position yourself as scarce
There are two aspects of scarcity.
1. Be scarce in who you work with
You can send hundreds of emails to hundreds of potential prospects, and hope that the law of averages works in your favour. Or you can target your prospects to get a higher return on your effort. Being scarce means you choose the clients to work with. You choose a niche, or only work with a certain group of prospects, and focus your email marketing on their needs and the solutions you provide.
2. Make your offer scarce
You provide prospects with a time-limited offer (e.g., the rates go up after a certain date, you invite only 50 people to a webinar). The offer must be valuable and truly scarce, not something that changes. False scarcity leads to false authority. Value your time, skills and offering, and others will value it as well.
Try these email tips for yourself and let me know if they improve your email response rate. I’d love to hear the results. If you need help with writing emails, let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some time ago, I attended a seminar called “Mastering your business for maximum profit and success” by Colin Sprake. He runs seminars and trains business owners on developing strategies to grow their businesses – whether they sell products, provide services or consult. The title of the seminar attracted me (NOTE: Strong headings are important), so I decided to get out of the office for a bit and check it out. Colin offered some great strategies and tips, although I did not sign up for his program.
NOTE: I rarely do, as the short-term costs outweigh the long-term benefits… for me.
I’d like to share some of the tips provided here, as I think that freelancers, solopreneurs, consultants and other small businesses can benefit and grow their businesses by following these strategies without having to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in the training.
NOTE: I’m not advising for or against Colin Sprake’s program – check it out and see if it’s right for you.
Seven steps to growing your freelance business
Be laser focused
Whatever your business, focus all your efforts on making it succeed. Develop a vivid vision of your target and purpose, and then put all your effort into reaching that target. Be tenacious in achieving your goal.
Determine what you want to be
Don’t be a “me too” business – like everyone else in your market. Be a “me only” business – the only company that does what you do. You can do this by identifying what works and what doesn’t in your market, and learning what’s missing (i.e., what your clients need that others don’t provide). Talk to your clients to understand their needs and challenges, and then create solutions / products / services that address those challenges. Create branding that differentiates you from your competition and helps you to stand out from the crowd. Then support your brand with marketing (e.g., website, tagline, marketing materials) that speaks to how address these challenges.
Identify your audience
Create an avatar – the best client that buys from you frequently, that you love to deal with, that pays regularly and never complains. This is your ideal client, and you must learn everything you can about them – including where they hang out, so that you can reach more of them.
Write powerful headlines
Your headlines (in your emails, website, articles, marketing materials, etc.) should grab the reader’s attention, target their pain and shout “This is for me!”
Advertise your services
Create advertisements with powerful headlines that install urgency and scarcity – so that potential clients act quickly on your offers. Include a lot of white space and a powerful call to action – get the reader to respond to your advertisement. Bridge the gap with credibility – quotes, case studies, testimonials, etc. Repeat your advertisements to the same potential clients 5-7 times, at least once a week.
Maximize your sales
Many freelancers spend most of their time on operations – running the business, paperwork and so on. You must spend most of you time on sales and marketing, which is how you get your clients. Increase the percentage of time you spend on sales and marketing by outsourcing or streamlining the operations work.
Invest in yourself
Invest in training and education, as well as sales and marketing, so that you can grow your skills and your business. These are not costs, as they benefit you and lead to income. Focus on results rather than excuses. Think of ways that you can achieve a goal, rather than thinking that something cannot be done.
Follow these tips and your business will improve, especially if you have not been following any of these strategies. You can also seek out Colin Sprake and find out where he is teaching his next seminar. Let me know what you think, and how it works for you – email@example.com
Many businesses use systems and repetitive processes to support their success. Repeatable processes are efficient and make it easier to run and grow a business. Similarly, successful people have daily habits that allow them to achieve more and succeed in what they do.
Everyone has different habits that work for them. Consider applying the following habits to help make your make your business a success.
Continuously define success for yourself. What does success mean to you – making $100,000 per year, selling X units per month, being able to sit on a beach twice a year? Establish metrics so that you can measure and define your success, and then compare your results against those metrics.
Always continue learning. Improve your skills and knowledge through courses, articles, books, webinars, etc., both inside and outside your industry.
Keep your eyes and ears open for popular ideas and trends, as well as what is going on behind the scenes. Don’t go after every new idea – focus on one or two and be the trend setter in that area.
Be persistent. Don’t stop trying when you hear “No.” Each “No” is one step closer to the next “Yes.” Also, don’t just go for what is easy. Difficult paths have less competition.
Be generous. The more you give (such as referrals), the more you get. Giving leads to healthy relationships.
Use new technology to automate processes, attract new clients and provide better customer service. You don’t have to spend a lot on technology to achieve significant returns.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take your work seriously. Treat your business like a business, but relax your view of yourself.
Prioritize your customers’ needs over your own. Focus on what they need as a solution rather than what you want to sell.
Create a list of tasks to do on a specific day, organized by priority. Accomplish those goals. Every little win is a move forward.
What do you think of these habits? What habits do you have that help you succeed? Let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a freelance writer like me, then you know that to build your business, you must keep finding new clients – or get clients to find you. Successful marketing includes awareness creation – making prospects aware of you and the services that you provide.
Creating awareness of your services requires motivation – you must motivate yourself to market you and your business all the time. Technology and processes can help, but motivation is the engine that drives your marketing. Motivation comes from knowing why you must market yourself over time. When you understand why, motivation follows more easily. So, how do you achieve this motivation?
Know your value
Understand the value of what you do. You must know how you and your services help others. Make a list of your services, and how they help your clients (and you) to achieve their goals, address their needs, increase their income, solve problems, etc. Focus on the positives to understand your value.
Go for scale
Create a plan to scale your business. Work on getting more clients, and planning on how you will then serve those clients. You might get too many clients to handle now – that’s a good problem to have because you can choose to turn away lower paying clients, or outsource to handle that extra work. Continue working harder so that you can take on more work. You can also create and market supporting products (eBooks, webinars, email courses, etc.) to create additional income. The point is to not think small – do not be hesitant about growth.
Market for fun
Do what you enjoy if it does the job. Marketing should not be a chore to avoid. Add activities that you like doing to your marketing – networking, speaking at events, free talks at schools. As long as you enjoy it and it gets the word out, then keep doing it.
Focus on wins
Position your marketing in a way to create daily small wins. It could mean sending five emails per day, or calling one prospect a week, or writing a blog post / tweet. Traction stars with small wins, and every win is encouraging.
Motivation is the key – to marketing, working hard, improving yourself, and many other aspects of your work and life. Find what motivates you, and use it to market and grow your business.
Do you have more suggestions on motivating yourself to keep marketing? Let me know what you thought of my post – email@example.com.
Some freelancers, solopreneurs, and creative professionals want to be all things to all people. You can be a “Jack/Jill of all trades” and still be successful. I’m a bit of a generalist – I write on a wide range of topics for clients in different industries. There’s a book called Range by David Epstein which argues that you can have more success by not focusing on a niche (read it – it’s quite good).
However, some freelance writing experts argue you can find greater success by focusing on a niche and deciding upon who you want or need to serve. Position your services by focusing on an area to stand out among your competitors. Show your customers that YOU are the solution for them. Customers respond better to focused prospecting.
I think you can succeed by focusing even if you are a generalist. You can write just informative articles and blog posts for companies in different markets.
So, where do you start in positioning your freelance writing or creative business?
Explore 2-3 areas or industries that you want to work in based on your experience, connections, interests, etc. Start with what you know and where you have experience.
Look more deeply into the markets you serve. Determine what your clients/market needs, and determine how you can satisfy that need while doing something that you enjoy.
Follow current business trends and investments. Choose growing markets as well – such as ebooks and interactive publishers.
Tell your prospects that you understand their particular issues and that you can help them to address those needs. Using your industry experience, try to address those specific challenges.
Choose markets that have money to spend. Look at their websites and marketing materials, and collect marketing materials from trade shows. When examining the markets, take a look at the size of the market (number of prospects), the average project or purchase size, and the frequency of the need for your services.
There are many other ways to position your creative business, but these ideas should give you a leg up in attracting the clients that you want, and growing your business. Do you have other ideas for positioning your creative business? Let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org.