Continuous clients are every freelancer’s dream. You have the same clients paying you for work month after month without the need to keep finding, courting, and signing new clients. It’s just you spending your days working and knowing when and where your next invoice will be.
To make this dream a reality, though, you need a well-established base of existing clients. That’s where lead generation comes in.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the practice of attracting new ideal clients and getting them interested in your business, so they reach out and make contact. That’s what defines lead generation: the potential customers taking that step of engaging with you.
In marketing lingo, this engagement is your “lead.” It could be an email to request information, a message on social media, a subscription to your email letter, or something similar.
Lead Gen Tips for Freelancers
Lead generation is the hardest part of a freelance business for many freelancers because unless you have experience in marketing strategy development or building a business in the past, you’re probably new to lead gen. Start with these trusted techniques.
Build a Strategic Website
You’ve probably heard a million times that you should have a website to showcase your work and case studies. This is true but it’s only the beginning. For lead generation, you need the site to guide visitors toward making contact.
For example, include calls-to-action on each page inviting the user to contact you or start an online chat. Have an email marketing newsletter sign-up form on your sidebar so it’s always visible. Give users an incentive to reach out, like a limited-time download or a free consultation for submitting their email address. This doesn’t mean your site can’t be informative, but there should always be an invitation to connect too.
Post the Right Balance on Social Media
Social media is a struggle for many freelancers, especially those without a marketing experience. You want to advertise your services and drive new business with social media but you know no one wants to follow an account that posts ads every day. How do you find a balance?
The trick is to handle your social media similar to the way you manage your site. Offer plenty of helpful content but end it with a link to your website where they can get more information. When potential clients get to your site, it’s set up to encourage them to reach out and convert to a lead.
You could also use social media to post especially enticing calls-to-action. Try something like, “Special announcement: I now have an opening for a new project! This will be first come first served, so reach out now to discuss your needs before the spot is filled.”
Use Purposeful Video Marketing
Video marketing is a great way to make yourself known as a genuine expert in your field. You can post YouTube videos talking about the latest trends in your industry, giving a quick how-to tutorial, and so on. Think about the content your target market of business owners would want.
To use these videos for lead generation, you need some way for them to encourage interaction. Add an end screen with links to your site. Since you’ve already optimized your site for lead generation, it will do the work for you.
Blog Around the Web
Like videos, blog posts are a way to share your professional expertise. There are more opportunities for search engine optimization in blogs too, so with the right SEO strategies, readers are more likely to find you.
Spread your blogs far and wide. Post blogs on your own site, but also publish guest blogs on other sites too. Look for sites that will include your bio at the end of the blog with a link back to your website.
These guest blogs are especially effective for several reasons. First, they give you more credibility because you’re published on a high-authority site. Second, they provide a link to your website from a high quality site. This is called a backlink and it’s terrific for your site’s SEO. Finally, the blog will drive readers to your site, so if your site is set up for lead generation, you have the potential for countless new leads.
Publish LinkedIn Content
LinkedIn is a particularly great place to build your influence and generate leads. It’s as simple as posting every day or two with some insights and thoughts about your area of expertise. Over time, more people will recognize the value of your content, so they’ll follow you and engage with your posts, ultimately spreading your name even further.
The beauty of LinkedIn is that it’s already a lead generation platform because any user can message you directly. That’s true with other social media platforms too, but LinkedIn is focused on professionals so you can expect those leads to be more promising and lucrative.
As you’re producing LinkedIn content, don’t forget to interact with others’ posts too. Simple comments here and there will help you build relationships and get your name in front of more people, who may click through to your profile and reach out as a lead.
The Need for Ongoing Lead Generation for Freelancers
Lead generation is a cumulative effort. The more you put into it, the more those contributions will build on each other and build up to more and more leads. This can take time, though, so don’t wait until business hits a slow period. Now is the time to start optimizing your website and using other lead generation strategies so you can maintain them on a regular basis.