Author: Brinn Miracle
Sourcing clients doesn’t have to be a mystery. As a service provider, you may not have access to someone well versed in business practices to help you navigate the waters of finding and securing new clients. This could be your first freelance gig, or you could be a seasoned veteran looking for some fresh tips to reinvigorate your business. Regardless of where you are in your journey as a services provider, there are several places that you can source new clients.
Many new contractors wonder where they will find potential clients. Luckily, Archability helps out in that department by connecting contractors and services providers with potential clients. Archability is the best way to start your search for new clients, but what if you want to expand your pool of potentials and draw in customers from multiple avenues? There are two main places to look for new clients: online and in person.
When establishing yourself or your business, a prominent web presence is a no-brainer. But with the overwhelming number of options, which platforms should you invest your time and money in, and how do they differ from one another?
Social media is a great way to connect and interact with potential customers and peers in your industry. Social media is quickly becoming the best way to build relationships with those apart from your immediate geographic area. Twitter is a place for networking with like-minded individuals who share interest in similar topics as you. Facebook is a way to broadcast your portfolio images in a casual, conversational way, and LinkedIn is a place to stash your impressive resume and find referral sources from colleagues who are swamped with work. Try creating profiles on social media platforms that relate to your area of expertise or your client base’s interests. After time, you’ll begin to find leads and see relationships blossom.
Forums are a place where many people go to discuss the specifics of challenges they face. If you are good at articulating your thoughts in written form, try joining a few forums on topics related to your services. Answer questions from other members and volunteer your knowledge; soon you’ll be considered an expert in your field and people will continue to seek you out for your skills, knowledge and company. Just be sure to charge for your time if you are providing professional services!
Emails and e-blast campaigns are akin to paper mailers one receives in the mail advertising new businesses or services. You can collect emails from visitors to your website, ask for everyone to sign up for your newsletter, or give you their contact information in exchange for useful free information. Once you have a decent list of contacts, send out an e-blast or newsletter with great content focused on what you do, why it matters and how to get in touch to start new projects. Read up on proper etiquette, as you will want to be respectful of your potential client’s inboxes – don’t over-use this feature!
Websites are the best way to put out your digital shingle. A simple but easily navigable website is essential for projecting an image of yourself as a competent professional. You can design your own website on free web-builders, or pay someone to do it for you. Either way, a website is the best way to let people find you; make sure your SEO is well done so that search terms lead to your site. As you build relationships on social media, you can point potential customers to your site for more information that you created once, but can reference in perpetuity.
Networking Events are a sure-fire way to meet lots of interesting people. Try to attend events that are geared specifically to your area of expertise or interest. While you can meet clients at any party, you are more likely to rub shoulders with potential customers when they attend a function with the purpose of hiring in mind. Conventions, mixers, and volunteer activities are all places you can meet potential clients.
Giving seminars or educational talks is a great way to establish yourself as an expert on a topic and meet a large amount of people without having to shake each person’s hand individually. Those who are impressed with your skills and knowledge will approach you after the seminar to find out more information, ask for your contact card and generally get to know you. Find opportunities to educate others, and clients will find you.
Direct Referrals are the best kind of clients. As you provide services on more and more jobs, you will gain a certain amount of momentum from your existing clients’ referrals. Make sure you keep in contact with past clients and check in with them on occasion to see if they need additional services (repeat clients) or if they know someone who may (referrals). The advice of a friend is usually the first we choose to listen to, so make sure you stand out among your clients as the person to go to with any need, big or small!
These are just a few ways to source clients and establish relationships with future customers. What are some ways you have found clients for your projects? If you have any tips, be sure to leave a comment below! Tune in next time for more Client List tips.
Brinn Miracle is a licensed architect working in Houston, Texas. She writes about architecture and design topics at her blog, www.architangent.com/blog