An important question is present in all freelancers who start: how to find customers? I offer 8 tips to help you find your next missions. Freelance junior or senior, I hope they will help you start and develop your business.
If it is easy to become a freelance, the hardest part is acquiring a clientele, a network!
In this article, we give you all the keys to ensuring an on and offline presence, to broaden your notoriety to find customers. However, it is not enough to be active to hope to sell your products and services. It is essential to analyze your environment, the needs of customers and competitors to position yourself as well as possible and ensure that your acquisition strategy works fully.
- Propose suitable offers
- Take customer reviews into account
- Transforming prospects into customers
- Analyze your competitors
- Demonstrate persistence
- The starter kit for finding customers
- Ensure an online presence
- Ensure an offline presence
Propose offers adapted to the needs of the market offering an offer that meets consumer expectations is essential to find new customers. After identifying your target customers, be certain that your products and services meet their objectives and problems.
In addition to choosing the services to offer, you will have to have an eye on their quality and the ideal price. Always ask about the price grid for your sector, to offer prices corresponding to what you offer.
Do not try to be cheaper than the competitors, but be sure to set up a psychological price. Indeed, if too high prices scare away your prospects, too low prices can also induce a notion of poor quality in the minds of customers and push them to look elsewhere.
Take the time to understand what customers expect and also remember to see what additional service they may need and which competitors do not offer!
Take customer reviews into account
No matter what you do, expect to receive positive or negative feedback from customers.
The demands and demands of your customers can help you significantly improve the quality of your offers. Therefore, it is necessary to listen and consider each opinion, to detect their real expectations.
It is also about retaining your customers. This will improve your reputation and above all, your e-reputation!
- Knowing how to transform prospects into customers
Customer acquisition necessarily involves the conversion of prospects obtained through your digital presence: followers, subscribers to the newsletter, visitors who have downloaded an ebook, etc., but also by those met on events.
This, therefore, implies the implementation of a personalized prospecting strategy, based on your prior discussions or the actions carried out on your website.
Contact each of their “hot” prospects by phone or email to make an offer tailored to their needs or make an appointment to meet them.
Analyze your competitors
The competitive environment of your market includes a wealth of information to exploit to improve your services and acquire new customers.
The market is very evolving, especially for freelancers of the web, it is always necessary to analyze the trends, to adjust your offers and your strategy to the new expectations of consumers.
To do this, keep an eye on your competitors and draw inspiration from the best practices of leading companies in your sector. Watch also on their evolutions, they are often precursors of new practices, in connection with the future needs of your market.
” Everything is very timely to who knows how to wait, ” says the proverb. This also applies when you are freelance!
Indeed, acquiring the first customers is often the most difficult step, but once it is successfully crossed, they will come naturally. You just have to wait for the first customers to trust you and recommend your services.
Of course, you must also wait until the SEO of your website and your presence on social networks bear fruit. But if your strategy is successful, the results will come quickly!
Good to know
As a freelancer, you must regularly scan your environment to find trends, adapt your offers and improve your strategy. It is thanks to this regular sector watch that you will be able to acquire new customers and strengthen their loyalty.
The starter kit for finding customers
To effectively promote and communicate your business to your future customers, I recommend the following supports to get you started.
This support will allow you to build a bond with your prospects. Apply and educate yourself properly to create an effective and original business card, in order to make the best use of its power and range.
Iindispensable, it will be your showcase day and night, 24 hours a day to find your customers. Here are some recommendations for putting your website online:
- Use a simple domain name to remember and write
- Be specific about your activity and your skills
- Display your contact details in the site header
- Reassure your visitors by posting customer comments
- Add your site to all websites where you have a profile
- Add a module to save the emails of your visitors
- Optimize the natural referencing of your site (if you don’t know how to do it, ask for a quote on Codeur.com )
Do you want to create your website using a CMS such as WordPress, Shopify or Prestashop? Discover all of our tutorials to help you create and optimize your site!
A Linkedin profile is as important as a website. To optimize your Linkedin profile, I recommend:
- To inform the skills which correspond to your expertise
- Include as much information as possible to prove your know-how
- Take care of your description and your profile picture
- Add interesting keywords for SEO in the summary and in your profile URL
- Insert a link to your site
Read also: LinkedIn 5 tips for generating leads
You are now equipped with the 3 main supports to start your search and find potential customers. Let’s see together how to ensure your online presence to generate qualified contacts.
Find Customers OnlineThe idea is to organize yourself well and work on your online presence in a limited time. If you don’t set yourself a time to complete this task, you could be wasting time browsing the internet for no specific purpose.
Register on Codeur.com
Register on Codeur.com as a freelance to find new customers!
Registering on our marketplace will ensure you an online presence with “hot” prospects, that is to say with a real and defined need. The advantage is to save time in the search for qualified prospects.
Your skills, contact details and website will be presented directly to the prospect who can then choose you. Even if the competition turns out to be a little more important, prospects have selection criteria (location, availability, experience, budget, quality of service, recommendation, etc.) that can match your profile.
A real time-saver to find customers!
You can try to pick up signals sent on the web. For example, use monitoring tools to receive the best results in your “Freelance Developer Search” search in your mailbox.
Eexamples of tools to capture signals:
- Coder’s twitter for projects (tweets only intended for freelance missions)
- Google Alerts
- Twitter search
- Linkedin search
Mail is a powerful tool! Collect and maintain a database containing the emails of people with whom you came into contact at parties or on social networks.
Here is the procedure for extracting emails from your Linkedin contacts:
- Connect to your Linkedin profile
- Go to “Network”, then to “Contacts”
- You can now “Export your contact data”
- Click on “Download data archives, including relationships, contacts and account history” and start your request
- You will receive your database within 24 hours
Use tools like Mailjet or Mailchimp to send regular event emails to this contact database. Share the updates of your site, your new achievements, your promotions, your new partnerships, your wishes, your advice to prepare for the back to school or the winter sales, etc.
Aalso, remember to take care of signing your emails. It must contain at least the following information:
- Your first and last name
- The baseline containing your added value, your know-how
- A link to your company website and your job
- Phone, address and social media
You can use apps like Rapportive to add your Linkedin profile to your Gmail mailbox. Once added to Linkedin, your contact will be able to recommend or share your activity on this platform full of professionals.
You may have noticed that I am not encouraging you to start a blog to promote your business.
Indeed, this time-consuming activity does not necessarily present interest in the contribution of customers. I would rather recommend guest blogging.
Do not waste time creating quality content on your company blog (except for small news specific to your company to reassure your customers).
For the rest, it will take as much time to write or create good quality content as it is to publicize it.
Take advantage of blogs that already have a good reputation in your community and post content on their supports, with a promotion of your profile. You will drain many visits to your site and your social profiles much more quickly.
Here are examples of content to create and share on recognized sites:
- Original CV
- Original business cards
- Feature articles and tutorials
- Case studies
- Humorous cartoons
You can also put a site concept (explanatory or humorous) online as part of your activity. You may be lucky enough to draw some traffic and have some popularity on your business site.
Register on social media
Your online presence will also involve the creation of social profiles.
I advise you not to spread yourself too thin. Choose carefully the social networks most relevant to your activity, according to your targets. Use our guide to properly use social networks.
Consider joining groups of professionals on these platforms. For example, we have a Linkedin group and a Viadeo group for Codeur.com. We add discussions regularly. Participating in these discussions or adding them, in turn, will allow you to get a little more visibility on your profile.
Find forums that could include leads for your business.
You sell websites, scour the websites of entrepreneurs, traders or e-traders and help. Again, I do not recommend the quantity, but rather the quality. Chat with members, make yourself known, make yourself useful and display your skills by signing your profile.
Research posts to find out if any members are having issues that you can fix and contact them directly by private message to start the discussion.
Avoid unearthing subjects posted several years ago!
To choose the right forum:
- He must have targets that match your activity
- You should be able to add value
- He must have regular activity. If the last message was a few weeks ago, drop it
- It must have an interesting number of views. If the most read message contains 200 views, go your way
- Check that it tolerates the presence of links in the signature (see if the old members have a link)
Create a visibility exchange
Do not hesitate to create a partner page on your company’s website to highlight the freelancers with whom you work.
Show that you are not alone in carrying out an entire mission that requires very diverse skills, to reassure your client. Also, offer a little visibility on the activity and the complementary skills of your partners. Encourage them to do the same to have positive synergies over time.
Use Google Adwords
I don’t necessarily recommend it from the start, because there is already so much to do before you start buying traffic to your site.
If you are, however, determined to use Adwords to drive paid traffic to your business site, I recommend that you read the following links, to minimize your campaigns and landing pages.
Ddon’t have fun launching a campaign that points directly to your home. Inquire a minimum before. Understanding the basics will require two to three nights of reading, but will help you save money in the long run! For quick awareness of SEA, I recommend:
- Florian Marlin’s Very Good Book – The Guide to Sponsored Links
- Tips for your landing page by Graphiste.com
- An interesting old article with some useful tips to optimize an Adwords campaign
Find clients offlineYour offline presence will be as important as your online presence. It allows you to diversify your sources of business contributions, meet prospects or friends of prospects, partners and get to know better the needs of your targets.
With the offline presence, you can hope to score points thanks to your kindness, the feeling you will have with your contact, the relevance of your knowledge on a problem and thus, offer reassuring support, to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
To start, here are the tips that were useful for me to start my old business.
Use the phone
An inexpensive tool that can allow you to quickly land your first meetings. Before starting your telephone prospecting, I strongly encourage you to develop a small scenario to standardize your calls. This will prevent you from sputtering, asking questions that may block you, or forgetting important information. By building this scenario beforehand, it will also allow you to anticipate negative reactions from your customers and prepare your counter-arguments.
Here is how you should prepare this scenario in a few steps:
- Begin your pitch with greetings, presentation and verification of the contact
- Hang your interlocutor:
Invite him on a field that concerns him, while trying to obtain more precise information on his needs, to make a tailor-made approach and get his attention.
- Go straight to the benefit that your services will bring
- Check if your contact is available and can give you a few minutes
- Announce the subject of your call by entering more details
- Offer speaking time to your contact:
Find out their needs by asking discovery questions. The goal is to gather information about the prospect.
- Refocus the discussion on yourself:
Announce the prospect of a future commercial meeting with your prospect where you will find out more about their needs and where you will give them if they wish, a commercial offer.
- Set the date and check your mutual details
- Close the call:
Ask your contact if he can prepare some documents for your appointment, then finish with a question that will populate your prospect-client file.
Take part in meetings near you
Try to find conferences around your activity, web aperitifs such as tapers, to come and present your personality and skills to Internet users with whom you are used to interacting on social networks. This can then encourage recommendations, when missions that may concern you, pass under the noses of your friends on Twitter for example.
Find groups near you
There is no shortage of supports:
- town or village associations
- traders association
- business clubs, etc.
Look for groups of entrepreneurs or colleagues, to present your activity to potential prospects. This will help you develop your network and collect emails and business cards.
Use the recommendation
Send a short email explaining your skills and the issues you can help solve.
Notify your contacts, friends, family, former office colleagues, former employers and former teachers! Ask them to share your website address and your profile on social media. Get recommended on Linkedin.
Do not hesitate to also ask them for the contact details of the people you could contact, to set up possible synergies.
The recommendation also works with your customers! Once the service is finished with it, collect his opinion and ask him for authorization to post it on your site.
Also, ask your client if he does not have professional knowledge that would need your services. You will sometimes collect a telephone number to solicit.
Starting a freelance activity is not easy. I recommend that you apply these tips a few months before starting your business. This will allow you to start word of mouth and get first contacts and prospects.