Guest Post by Lisa Jordie
Because freelancing can have some awesome perks like schedule flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere, it can sometimes be mistaken for an easy career path. If you are a freelancer, you know that nothing is further from the truth. There are a ton of days that it feels and is incredibly hard to be your own boss when running a freelance business. For me, the most difficult days usually involved the struggle to find clients. At the beginning of my freelance journey, it felt extra yucky and very, very hard. But it doesn’t have to be.
Word of Mouth Marketing Should not be Overlooked
Although not always the quickest of the methods to get freelance clients for your new biz, one of the most genuine ways I used was by word of mouth. Best of all, word of mouth comes totally naturally to all of us! We all have people to meet and places to go, so why not utilize all those spectacular human interactions to help find yourself more clients?! Here are some great ways to seize the spectacular opportunity that is word of mouth marketing.
Get Yourself Out There
Literally. Get outside of your home. Take classes. Go to the gym. Join a Young Professionals group. This may seem obvious, but it’s the first step – and a huge one – in the path of word of mouth marketing. It’s simple math, too. The more human beings you encounter, the more chances you’ll have to meet people who might need your freelance services. This would be a great time to learn a new skill to apply to your freelance business. Improv, acting, painting, dancing, computer skills…you get the idea. Try something. And don’t forget about things you enjoy that you do as a hobby! Real talk: I have a friend who met a client through joining a Pokémon group and playing on the app together at a bar downstairs from his house. Nerdy? A bit. Adorable? Totally. Did he land a new client while doing something he liked? Yep!
Tell People What you do
One of the most common things people ask others when meeting new people is, ‘So, what do you do?’ (A dermatologist asked me this yesterday.) So more often than not, telling people you’re a freelance writer, blogger, voice-over artist, digital content producer, etc..is going to come up naturally. If it doesn’t, ask them about what they do, and then share your story! People are much more likely to use the services of someone they already know. In these days of digital everything, there is some sense of divinity to meeting someone out in the wild that attracts clients through word of mouth marketing as well. But if you don’t tell people what you do, it’s nearly impossible for them to know and inquire about your services.
Ask if They Need Help
‘Do you need any help with the copy on your business website? I’m pretty good at writing web content that converts readers into customers!’ That was the question I asked a classmate I met taking a local acting class after I found out he had a small business. “Oh, I didn’t even think about that – absolutely, I could use the help!’ Sometimes, small business owners are so busy with all the ins and outs of keeping their business afloat, they forget about things that may seem trivial to them at the time, or something they personally wouldn’t have the skill to do themselves. This client wasn’t even completely aware of what a freelance copywriter could really do, so I let him know, and he’s been a client ever since. But had I not asked him, I would have never had the chance to find out if he needed help and let him know exactly how I could help him.
Referrals. Referrals. Referrals!
This part of word of mouth marketing tends to be more on the passive side of things. Meaning, you do a good job and plant the seed with your clients, they’ll refer you to people they know or meet. It works like this; As your client’s awesome small business is growing (in part because of the awesome freelance work you do for them) they’ll inevitably be meeting and chatting with other business owners. If they loved the work you provided, your name is bound to come up, and voila! A beautiful referral turns into a harmonious new relationship with another wonderful client. Just because you aren’t the one making the words at the time, doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as word of mouth marketing. Also, it never hurts to incentivize or remind your clients you are for hire and open to more work by offering a referral discount on your services. This definitely helps current clients remember your name (and your work)!
Be Cool and do Great Work
This one is pretty straightforward. If you’re a kind and likable person who does great work, you’re just more likely to get more clients by referrals and word of mouth. Connect with people on a genuine level. Take care of the clients in your life and treat them like people. The Golden Rule is in full-force when it comes to word of mouth marketing. If you slack on a job or treat a client poorly, don’t expect word of mouth marketing to do you any favors here, sorry!
Word of mouth marketing doesn’t just happen in person. Get online and interact with people. Make sure you are responding thoughtfully and in a genuine manner to any emails that come through or any blog comments someone may make. Thank people privately who share your content via social media. A considerate response can not only be surprising, but it can also go a long way when someone may be in need of your freelance services in the future.
Never underestimate how powerful word of mouth marketing can be. If used properly, word of mouth marketing can be an incredibly useful tool to help promote your freelance services and land you new clients. Go new places, meet new people, talk about your job, ask if people need help, take care of your clients and keep crushing it with your awe-inspiring freelance business! Good luck, you can do this.
Author Bio: Lisa Jordie has been a blogger and freelance writer for hire since 2014 when she ditched her cubicle for a more flexible lifestyle. She offers work from home, blogging and freelancing tips at TheDriftingDesk.com. Visit her site to learn more about how to succeed as a freelancer.