3 easy ways to find new clients for your business
No matter what your creative craft is, an essential piece of your business is your customers – the people actually paying you to do what you do. Sometimes you’ll get lucky with a steady flow of work, but other times you’ll have to spend a little time looking for new clients to market your services to. And once you find those leads, you’ll want to make sure that you’re putting out the right message, connecting to their needs, and nailing your pitch so you can convert them into high-paying customers. No pressure, right?
Whether you’re just starting your creative venture, are in a bit of a lull, or are growing quickly and ready to onboard new clients, these three tips will help you find new clients for your business and seal the deal!
1. Start with your current network
The first step when you’re looking for new clients is to start with the network you already have, even if your business has been around for some time already. You may feel like everyone around you knows what you do already (and that might even be true!) but do they know what you’re currently looking to do more of? Are they aware that you’ve got room in your client docket to onboard a few more fabulous customers? Don’t just tell your network about your business; tell them your goals and what you’re offering right now.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with social media. If you’re looking for a few more clients, be honest about it, but in an exclusive kind of way. Try something like: “I’ve got room for ONE MORE design client this month. Who’s it going to be??” Even if you’re desperate for clients, your audience doesn’t need to know that part – just the part where you’re ready to onboard someone new. This will also help add a little urgency to anyone who may be thinking about your services but isn’t sure if they’re ready to commit.
The most important part of your network that’s easy to overlook is your existing clients. They know you and your work best, which makes them fantastic sources to help market your business. Shoot out a quick email and ask for any referrals, whether that means they send you potential clients that you can cold call or incentivizing them to recommend you to their friends and family.
Even if you feel like you’ve exhausted your current network, chances are you haven’t. Your business is always evolving, your contacts are constantly changing, and the people in your network will always have new needs. It’ll probably take more than just one tweet, but your current network is a group you should always market yourself to when you’re looking for new clients.
2. Reach out to a new network
If your current network isn’t providing any new clients fast enough, then it’s time to start branching out. If you’re comfortable just reaching out to strangers, try contacting some local businesses or people who may be interested in your services and explain what you have to offer. The worst they can say is no, so you don’t have much to lose by shooting out a few cold emails.
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If your creative work isn’t really tied to location and you enjoy writing, another great way to expand your network is to guest post on blogs. This can help get your name out in front of a new audience and bring them into your own circle of contacts, which means you can then market your services to them. This is also a great way to boost some pageviews on your site and increase your social media following.
If you don’t enjoy writing or in-person networking is more your style, then another great way to extend your reach is to attend some industry events. Now here’s the thing you have to keep in mind: Even if you attend an event for other creatives like you (instead of say, something where your clients would be), that can still result in new clients for your business.
For example, let’s say you’re a designer and you attend a local design meetup. The other people there are probably also designers, so they won’t need your services directly. That relationship might be incredibly valuable, however, because they might be looking for a partner or just someone to send extra clients to. By connecting with other people in your industry, you can help each other out so that everyone wins, and at the very least, ask them questions about how they keep bringing in new clients.
By reaching out to new networks, you’ll continue to grow your own which will get you one step closer to signing on new clients!
3. Refresh your onboarding materials
It’s one thing to find new clients, it’s another entirely to actually book them. Once you discover your leads, you need to have the materials ready to seal the deal and convince them that you’re the creative for them. Take a look at your onboarding materials, including your elevator pitch, final contracts, and everything in between.
When you’re thinking about your pitch, make sure it accurately reflects both the work that you have done (your portfolio pieces) and the work you want to do more of. Include this on your website, social media profiles, in your emails, everything. Whether someone discovers you first or you’re reaching out to them, your messaging about your business needs to be consistent across channels.
Along those lines, make sure your website and portfolio accurately demonstrate the work you want to do for future clients. This is especially important if you’re transitioning from one type of business to another. Don’t post those print pieces on the homepage of your website if you’re trying to focus on web design. Be clear about what you offer so the right potential clients come knocking.
And last (but not least), make sure your contact information is easy to find and 100% accurate. It seems silly, but it’s amazing how many contact forms out there don’t work right. Double check your form, and then have friends and family test it out and send you practice emails. Better safe than sorry, right?
Free ebook: How to get more clients for your design agency
These tips are a great start, but finding new clients is no easy feat. To learn more about carving out a niche, marketing your business, and streamlining your process (so you’re ready for new clients!), check out our free ebook with six full chapters filled with actionable advice.
What other tips do you have for finding new clients for your business? Share your advice in the comments!