Okay, okay, I know…referrals are the most obvious and well-known way to get new clients.
However, too many consultants just wait for referrals to fall in their lap. After all, happy clients should spread your name, right? Most clients will, but sometimes clients are busy and won’t go out of their way.
Instead of waiting, open your email and find 2 happy clients, who haven’t sent you referrals yet.
You are going to email them right now asking for a referral. Seriously…do this.
Below is the email copy of what your referrals should look like. and always endeavor to keep it short.
How is [Company] doing? I enjoyed working with you on that project and would love to hear how it’s going.
On a side note, I’m looking for new clients to work with.
Can you connect me to any people or companies in your network that could use my services right now?
Partnering with an agency is a great way to bring in new clients. I’ve used this exact strategy and built a partnership with an agency that sends me at least 1 new client per month. I also make sure the agency is larger than my consultancy, so I’m not competing.
I found agencies usually pass on work because:
Normally when an agency turns down a prospective client, they’ll refer the client to a new company in their network. That’s where you come in.
I reached out to a dozen or so web agencies with a personalized email offering to partner or take on any work they pass up. I received responses from about half, and set up phone calls with each to discuss further.
I would usually email the person in charge of business development, since they were focused on building relationships with outside vendor.
This is really another no-brainer, and chances are you already use job boards. If you don’t, bookmark all of these below and check them daily for new projects. This is probably one of the easiest ways to get new clients.
These boards include design, development, marketing, copywriting and miscellaneous jobs. Positions cover remote, full-time, part-time, contract and more, so there’s plenty of options.
When I say “lost clients”, I’m referring to clients you may have spoke with or sent a proposal to in the past, but didn’t win the business.
Go through your email and find clients you lost 2+ months ago. Send them a follow up email asking how their project is coming along, and if there is anything you can do for them.
This tactic is about being helpful and showing you care about the client. This can lead to a small project or even spark a new conversation about hiring you, if they are unhappy with their previous selection. If not, you’re still putting yourself on their radar and might see some referrals coming your way.
Browse through old email conversations with colleagues, connections and people you’ve spoke with in the past, who could be a fit for your consultancy. Follow up with each, asking what they’ve been up to and how you can help.
Asking how you can help the person, whether its giving feedback, advice, tips or doing a small task, can be rewarding, and it helps you build up relationships with the right people. Remember, if you go out of your way to help someone for free, they’ll likely return the favor and help you.
I followed up with an entrepreneur I met a few years back, who had recently founded a company. He asked for my feedback on his product and any advice I had. I hopped on a call with him to discuss, and he later hired my consultancy for some internal design and UX work.
Facebook ads and Google Adwords are great ways to advertise your consultancy to prospective clients. Both platforms let you set a small daily budget for those that are cash-strapped, or want to test the waters.
I found Facebook ads easier to use than Google Adwords, which definitely has a steep learning curve if you’re new. PPC University is an amazing resource to learn about running effective campaigns, or check out Kudu, a service that will manage and run campaigns for you.
For visitors who come to your website and leave, you can use retargeting services like Adroll or Perfect Audience. These platforms allow you to track who visits your site, and lets you later serve ads to them via Facebook, Twitter, and other online marketing channels.
You can also try buying display ads from BuySellAds. However, there may be a higher minimum budget, depending on the sites and creatives you select.
Blogging is an amazing way to build relationships and become an expert consultant. My first blog post ever has gotten over 15,000 visitors, 50+ comments, hundreds of newsletter subscriptions, and has introduced me to some amazing people.
Start by blogging about topics that tie into your services, and will appeal to prospective clients. By posting quality content, Peep is viewed as an expert on conversion optimization, which helps him build an audience and generates new business for his consultancy.
I also reach out to my network and send a link to people who I think might find my post interesting. This is usually enough to get the ball rolling and to get some traffic to the post
Blogging takes a lot of time, especially since you need to do it consistently, for better results. Scripted is a great content writing service you can use to outsource your blog post writing.
Write an eBook that can help solve a business challenge or create value for your prospective client. Marketer? Write an eBook on how to decrease shopping cart abandonment. Writer? Write about how Compelling copy can help a business make more money. Designer? Write about how user onboarding is key to getting customers to use, and later pay for your product.
Write the eBook and give it away for free or sell it on your website. If you give it away for free, be sure to capture emails in exchange for the book, that way you can build a list of prospective clients to market to.
Find blogs that your prospective clients read and ask to guest post on them. You should write about a topic that fits within the blog, but also something that readers will get tons of value out of.
Guest blogging is great because you can share your expertise and grow your brand by tapping into someone else’s audience.
Generating leads consists of finding prospective clients that could benefit from your services, and coming up with a plan to reach them.
There are also services that can do the lead generation and sales process for you, like Leadgenius, Hiplead, and GetPropects
Tweet is a powerful way to find real-time tweets from people and companies looking to hire or that need help. You can find these tweets by using certain keywords and phrases like below:
Hiring a [your keyword here]
Looking to hire a [your keyword here]
Looking for a [your keyword here]
Be creative. Try different search phrases and you’ll discover some great potential clients and projects. You can use Warble to automate your searches and have them delivered to your inbox each day.
Instead of sitting behind the computer all week, plan to go to a Meetup or a Conference, where your prospective clients may be mingling. If you go to conferences and meetups where all your competitors are, you’ll have a hard time finding people that need your services.
Online networking is important as well. Complete a LinkedIn profile with up-to-date information and work samples. Import your contacts and connect with as many people in your network as possible. Share your blog posts, website and other interesting content directly to your LinkedIn news feed.
Just like going to meetups or conferences that your prospective clients attend, join LinkedIn groups where they post. There are groups for every industry on LinkedIn, so this is an excellent way to get in front of prospective clients.
If you work from home, consider coworking at least once a week. Coworking spaces are great for meeting like-minded individuals and becoming part of your local community.
You’ll build up strong relationships and be a go-to consultant for people at the coworking space. Most spaces also host events, meetings and conferences, which are great platforms for connecting with people and spreading your brand.