Something a little different on the blog today people.

First and foremost, this is a PPC blog and hopefully a bit of a help centre, where you can learn tips, tricks and best practices from a PPC consultant with 10 years of marketing experience.

But I pride myself on informative content, so a slight change up in topic today, talking about #FreelanceLife.

In the interest of “they ask you answer” I’m answering arguably the most asked and important question out there…

“How do you get clients as a freelancer?”

I’ve been asked the question numerous times, not just from new freelancers, but peers, existing clients, family, friends. Well everyone really.

It’s the question I asked when I took the plunge and created Tom Holder PPC, so here are my top ways to find clients and a list I often refer back to when I’m looking to land new business…

 

  1. Connect With Your Ex

Not normally a recommendation, right? But this is exactly how I landed my first client a few years ago.

An ex-colleague had recently started his own SEO start-up and naturally had some clients who wanted to experiment with PPC. He contacted me and 3 years later we still work alongside one another and he’s been my best client to date.

Presuming you were a model employee (of course you were), it might be in your current company’s best interest to retain your services. You know how they work, you know the work, you know the clients, so keeping you in a freelance/contracting capacity could be an option, and far less disrupting than the company having to replace you.

Explore the options, you might find your first client in the company you’re leaving.

 

  1. Network

Online networking is great, and there’s a place for it in the overall funnel, but there’s something about face-to-face networking that you can’t get online.

You can be personal and personable. The conversations you have in person are longer lasting than interactions you have online.

Start locally. Chances are there will be local business networking events in your area. Attend them, chat, add value where you can and make sure everyone knows who you are and what you do. But don’t give it the hard sell, no one is there for that. As I said above, be personable and people will remember you.

You also want to attend events where your perfect client might be. For example, if I wanted to find a new client in the travel market, I would attend some large travel business summits and events. Same rules apply here, look to gain new connections rather than trying to instantly sell your services.

 

  1. Colleagues Not Competitors

The minute you think of others operating in the same space as you as colleagues, and not competitors, the minute the door opens for new business opportunities.

Attending business network events and just being in an online world, you will meet what many would call “competitors”. People doing exactly what you’re doing and looking for same clients that you’re looking for.

Truth is, your peers can offer sub-contract work, and partnerships like this can be long and fruitful. Which was the case for me early into freelancing.

I partnered with another PPC consultant who was at capacity himself, but didn’t want to turn down leads he was generating. So he took on more work, and myself as a sub-contractor.

Work can come on a sub-contract basis as outlined above, or from a lead referral partnership, where you’re passed leads and you payback a commission if a lead is onboarded as your own paying client. Both methods are a win-win for both parties. You get work and your peer earns either a mark-up on your white-label work, or a commission for supplying the valuable lead.

 

  1. Content Is King

I’m going to whisper this one so my SEO mates don’t get too excited, and reference all of my previous contradictions about SEO dying…but content is king!

Not just for content’s SEO benefits, but for the reach you can gain off of valuable and informative content.

I need to take my own advice more on this subject, and create more video. Here’s a note to keep me accountable. A couple of years ago a created a “how to” video on Google Ads remarketing. Super simple, just a screen recording with accompanying voiceover. The video has now been watched over 53,000 times and has contributed direct business along the way. I’ve even had people as far as Australia email me about it.

Use your content to provide value to your audience, and to prove yourself as an expert in your field.

With continuity and good content, your audience will grow and become thousands of prospective customers.

This might also lead you to guest posting and featuring on some leading blogs, furthering your credentials as an expert in your field and increasing your value.

 

  1. Clients Are Free Marketing

Use your existing client base as free organic marketing. If you’re doing a good job, and over delivering on your work and results, your clients can become your best resource.

A personal recommendation is so much more valuable than a sales pitch or cold approach.

Let’s flip it and talk about tradesmen. My brother’s one. Most will build their entire business off the back off referrals and word of mouth. Do good work and your clients will scream your name.

Business owners are often well-connected. One of my current clients introduced me to two of his entrepreneurial friends, resulting in direct business.

Don’t be scared to ask for referrals either, but time it well. Just sent a monthly report with amazing figures? Or received incredible photography feedback? An infographic you created for a client got featured with thousands of impressions? These are the perfect times to ask your client to refer your services to anyone they think might need them.

 

  1. Be Visible

This is a bit of a follow on from my points on networking and creating content, but you need to be visible. Whether that be in person, online, through content or social media. How are your clients and audience going to find you otherwise?

Social media is the biggest player here. Follow the big blogs and influencers in your line of work, comment on articles, tweets, Instagram stories and posts. These interactions won’t go unnoticed, both with the curators and the audience.

You’ll get new connections, interactions and increased readership of your own content. I can guarantee you that.

If people know you, they’re more likely to reach out to you, or recommend you to others.

 

  1. Cold Emailing

This one might come as a bit of surprise but there is still a place for cold emailing.

But I’m not talking about blanket cold emailing, with generic spiel and boring paragraphs about your services. Think about it, would you read that?

You need a way in, a different angle, to stop your email becoming the newest member of the junk bin, with the 20 other cold emails your prospect received that day.

Again be personable. Try and spot a mistake in their work, solve a potential pain-point, but be complimentary too if you can. Don’t go full negative.

As a PPC consultant, I might notice an ad in the listings completely unrelated to a Google search I made. That’s a route in.

Your email might read something like…

“Hi xxx,

I was searching for [enter product or service here] and noticed one of your Google Ads in the paid listings.

I can’t imagine you want to be visible and paying for these types of searches, so you might want to tighten up your keyword match types or be a bit more aggressive in implementing negative keywords.

You might find some budget savings here and conversion increases at the same time, as you’re likely to be spending your money on a much more relevant search term and prospective customer.

I did also notice you have a good range of ad extensions displaying, so this should really help your keyword quality score and give you more prominence in the listings.

Please do pass this on to your current PPC agency or consultant for reference.

If you’re managing this yourself, I’d be happy to offer a no obligation audit, which might highlight some more areas where you’re leaking budget, and where conversion rates could be improved.

Have a good day.

Tom”

 

 

So that pretty much covers it, although I could talk about this subject all day.

Remember, everyone’s been in your shoes once, trying to land their first freelance client. Even the freelance peers you look up to.

Be consistent, turn up every day and keep doing the right things. If you implement any of my recommendations, I’d love to hear how they worked for you, success stories, or maybe some verbal you had back from a cold email haha. Both ends of the results spectrum welcome.

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