Many creative businesses, studios, and freelancers spend a good chunk of their time, energy, and money trying to find and qualify new leads. After all, a company can't grow if nobody knows about it. I've talked before about how "If you build it, they will come" isn't even an accurate quote, let alone a great model for business. However, there's more to it than trying to get anyone with a pulse through your front door.
You are not for everyone! It's key to be attracting the right kind of people - qualified leads. Not everyone makes the perfect client, and it's frustrating to waste time on free discovery calls or creating proposals to only discover that someone isn't a good fit for you - or worse, not even serious about hiring you in the first place!
By following these three steps, you will not only spend less time writing pitches for leads that don't close, but you will also grow your business, increase your conversation rates and gain a higher return on your investments.
Develop your online presence
An online portfolio is a must in the freelance world. People will ask where they can learn more about you or see samples of your work. If you don't want to be working for FREE all the time, you need an online outpost to exhibit your work. That includes testimonials from previous clients, if you have them, and making sure your messaging is clear. Who do you serve? Why do you do this work? Why does the world need YOU to be doing it? Answering those questions (at a minimum) will go a long way toward helping people self-select and weed themselves out before you ever sit down to have a chat about how you can work together.
Even if you aren't the best with technology, there are plenty of websites that make it easy to put a portfolio together to showcase your work. With sites like Behance, you have a chance to show your skills without needing to do much in the way of building a website. Heck, even your social media outposts can be a place to at least get started with sharing your work.
At some point, though, you're going to need your own online hub - a website and email list that YOU control. If you're not a techie, you can use any number of pre-fabbed templates or invest in managed hosting with your website provider. You can also hire techand IT specialists on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and myIT.com Computer Support to ensure that your business and services operate without any glitches.
Participate at industry-specific events
Attend or present at any meetup, event, or conference related to your field, not only to meet potential leads but also to display your credibility as an authority in your industry. Right now, a LOT of companies are taking their events into the virtual world, making it easier than ever to get your name out there and have the undivided attention of an audience that's relevant to you and your business needs.
Even if you're not speaking or presenting, events like this can help you build your network quickly - especially if you take the time to connect with the folks who are presenting at the event. Find them on social or send them an email letting them know how much you're looking forward to their talk, or how much you enjoyed their presentation. That's how I ended up speaking on Jeff Brown's Read To Lead podcast. We met at a local podcaster's meetup where he was the speaker. I emailed him afterwards and we struck up a conversation. He invited me to be a guest on his show and later a presenter at his virtual event. Several of my current clients, and a number of new subscribers came from that one connection!
The next time you see an event advertised or are invited to attend or speak, say yes. Put yourself out there. It goes a long way to qualifying new leads.
Have a clear marketing strategy
Creating a marketing strategy that includes a good mix of both inbound and outbound marketing can give you more success in generating qualified leads and help you grow your business. While most creatives focus on inbound marketing (content marketing, etc.) because it's more cost-effective, there are times when targeted outbound marketing (ads, for example) can help you reach more people faster.
Create content that draws your target audience in, keeps them coming back, and makes them want to stay in touch. These, alongside well-researched SEO strategies from sites like indexsy.com, are excellent conversion tools and one of the best ways to ensure that you are found by your dream clients. Remember, it's not magic, it's marketing.
If you need help pulling all your marketing tactics into a cohesive strategy, you'll want to join us inside the Creative Freedom Incubator, where getting your marketing right is a big part of how we help. With a marketing plan intensive each year and regular coaching support to help you hone your message, finding and attracting your best clients becomes a lot easier with our team on your side!