As you already know, the benefits of having a freelance job are numerous:
- freedom and flexibility in choosing when you work
- diverse projects that keep you engaged and motivated for a longer time
- no limit on your income
- no office rules to abide by
However, the biggest problem for freelancers is not doing the actual work but finding new qualified clients, that is – freelance lead generation.
Most freelancers struggle with filling their pipeline with prospects who value their work and pay on time. This is particularly true during the first few months being in business.
Every freelancer has been in a feast and famine cycle at least once in their career. You know the drill – all the work comes at once, so many deadlines, you get buried in work.
But then everything stops, and you have nothing to do. To avoid this, you must learn how to generate new freelance leads.
Luckily, freelance lead generation is not difficult. You only need a bit of practice, creativity, and perseverance. In this post, you will learn how to find new leads and land more clients for your freelance business.
What is freelance lead generation?
To put it simply, freelance lead generation is the process of attracting your ideal clients and getting them interested in hiring you. Such potential clients are called leads.
You know your potential client base better than anyone. And you probably know you can find them in different ways.
Whether you do it through browsing job boards, sending cold emails or calling them, networking events or social media, the point is to figure out the method that works best for you and then focus on it.
You need to discover all your potential customers and narrow down the list to those that are worth working with.
Completing this step will ensure that your portfolio features clients who are targeted in a relevant way and also that it attracts future clients who will value you and your work.
Here are some simple criteria that you can use to build your ideal client list:
- recognized and established brands
- clients with credibility in their area of expertise
- brands that are relevant to your vision
Also, try to add some of your own criteria. Create this list right now in Excel, Google Docs, or simply write it on a piece of paper.
Understand who you are going to target with your freelance lead generation, and then continue to update and change the list accordingly and on a regular basis.
How can I get freelance leads?
Freelancing has one major flaw — a lack of guaranteed income. Many freelancers experience the fear of not earning enough on a daily basis.
Even those who can pay all their bills for the current month are not sure about the next, not to mention making more money so that you can finally start saving.
The best way to stabilize freelance income is to create a freelance lead generation strategy. Besides stabilizing the income, such a system allows you to grow and scale your business long-term.
For this, you need to learn about various freelance lead generation strategies, test and experiment, and find those that get you most leads.
And while there are many ways to generate leads, freelancers must constantly discover new ones. Why?
Because the freelance industry is becoming hyper-competitive and only those who are creative and persistent in finding new ways will be able to thrive in this environment.
10 Ideas for your freelance lead generation strategy
Tired of theory? Below you can read about some practical tips for strategizing your freelance lead generation.
1. Create your own website
Although your business has only one employee, we live in a time when no business is complete without a website. A website will build your credibility and show you as a professional that cares about their reputation.
If you aren’t an advanced web designer or don’t want to hire a WordPress developer, you can easily create a website in WordPress and then use WordPress lead generation strategies to attract new clients.
2. Don’t forget about SEO
In order for people to hire you or join your list, they must first know that you exist. This is where SEO helps.
It is the process of increasing organic traffic to your website through ensuring that you appear on the first few pages of search engine results.
The best way to maximize your SEO results is to start a blog, publish valuable content on a regular basis and optimize it for relevant keywords. In the meantime, harness the power of SEO already being used by freelance job sites to bring in qualified clients on a daily basis.
3. Follow trends
Monitor new and important topics on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Trends. Then find a way to incorporate them into your new blog posts and social media content.
4. YouTube marketing
With 1.9 billion monthly active users, YouTube is the second most popular website in the world. Many people have become famous precisely because they know how to use YouTube.
As a matter of fact, this platform is a great place to expand the reach of your freelance business. You can use it to create and publish educational how-to videos that your target audience will find valuable.
Such tutorials can help your audience, while you get to present yourself and your skills in an indirect yet effective way.
Pro tip – you can use professionally created YouTube end screen templates to drive engagement and build viewer retention.
LinkedIn is a social media platform for professional networking. Use it to your advantage in your freelance lead generation strategy and set up a profile that highlights your portfolio and skills, including choosing a professional-looking photo.
Also, you can start posting updates and join LinkedIn groups relevant to your niche.
6. Email marketing
Emails aren’t dead. Email marketing will allow you to nurture relationships and convince your prospects that your services are valuable and just what they need.
Create an email list and send some marketing materials to help your prospects advance through your sales funnel.
Email marketing services can help you here if you don’t have the time to properly create the whole email marketing campaign.
7. Gather testimonials from your previous clients
When it comes to freelance lead generation, true testimonials and reviews build credibility and trust, as well as persuade prospects to take action. They will also set you apart from the competition.
Testimonials tell a story — people will see where the client was before and where they are now — all thanks to you.
8. Offer your prospects a free consultation
A free consultation is a great way for potential clients to see what it’s like to work with you.
While you get to show them how amazing you are at doing your job, you can also nudge them to take the next step toward becoming your long-term client.
9. Attend conferences and big events
Local networking events not only offer an opportunity to expand the visibility of your personal brand, but also to meet quite a few attendees who may want to hire you directly.
10. How about business cards?
Good old business cards. This may seem too old-fashioned but handing out business cards is one of the easiest ways to build your freelance lead generation.
Not only can you use them at conferences and meet-ups, but you can also hand them out to people that you consider to be great potential clients wherever you meet them.
Following up on your freelance lead generation strategy
Following up on your leads is an essential part of any freelance lead generation strategy. Most of us stop after we write an email pitch and click ‘Send’.
The truth is that everyone is busy. Things get neglected or fall through the cracks. And while there may be one in ten clients that get offended by you following up, most of them will actually appreciate that you did it.
In the worst-case scenario, your message will be ignored again or you will simply get a straightforward ‘No’.
Following up on your freelance leads is as simple as creating a new client base. Here are some tips that can help you follow up in a proper way:
- Create an email folder for emails that are waiting for a reply. This will help you stay organized and know when to follow up.
- Whenever someone responds to you from their personal or business email address, you should thank them for their interest and reply to any additional information requests promptly.
- You can also create another email folder for project communication. Whenever you are waiting for any project details, you will have the latest email you sent in this folder.
- After several days, you can follow up with those you haven’t heard back from and ask them if there is anything you can do to move the project along. This way, you will stay organized while also looking proactive to prospects and clients.
Finding the balance between working for your existing clients and searching for new ones is no easy feat. However, with an effective freelance lead generation strategy, you can complete everything on time.
Just don’t forget that freelance lead generation should be an ongoing priority even when you have enough work.
Remember this – periods when you are busy are actually the best to start lead generation, since the process of converting a contact into a lead, and a lead into a client, takes time.
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