In this day and age, it’s amazing how many options we have to build our businesses. Yet, with so many marketing tools, sales strategies, and systems out there, you may wonder what’s best for you.
The good news is, often the best solutions are the simplest ones. And I’ve discovered over the years that a great way to find new clients and reliably generate work is through relationship building.
It may seem obvious, but you have a far better chance of getting consistent work by learning how to tap into your existing network to find clients, rather than trying to build a new one. Here are a few simple ways you can leverage your current network and relationships, no matter where you are in your business, to get more projects coming your way.
The Worst Secret You’ll Ever Keep
You would be surprised how few writers actually tell people what they do. I often forget that many of my friends and family don’t realize that I’m a copywriter, nor do they fully understand what copywriting is.
I’m not talking about pitching your services to people out of the blue. The simple act of talking openly about the kind of work you do, no matter what it is, is extremely powerful.
For example, last year my cousin’s husband opened a craft beer shop in my hometown to great success. We got talking when I was home for the holidays, and my writing work came up in the conversation.
He had completely forgotten that I write copy for a living and immediately lit up because he needed help with marketing. And that’s not the first time that’s happened. My husband ghostwrites for a living and was offered a $10,000 contract from an old college friend who needed a book written.
You honestly never know when a conversation could turn into a writing project. Which leads into my next point…
Tap the “Human Side” of Clients
I’ve developed a pretty great network through attending events, talking about my work, and standard marketing practices. However, my most treasured relationships often come from clients I’ve already worked with.
Whenever I finish a project, I always follow up to see how my writing performed. It’s a great way to gather testimonials, show you truly care, and, of course, help out if there are any issues. It also cements you in their mind as a caring professional, as opposed to just a “one-off” writer.
After that, I’ll typically follow up in a few months and see how they’re doing. I don’t make any mention of writing – I simply ask about business, their family, etc… and many times they reply with “oh, hey, it just so happens I’m doing such and such, are you available to help?”
(Mindy can attest to how often I follow up about projects or pitch new ideas…)
Social media helps, too. Many clients will add me as a personal friend on Facebook and just by doing the standard amount of liking and posting, it helps keep me “top of mind” for them.
I would say over 80% of my work is from repeat clients. Sometimes that work comes right away, other times it’s offered years later. The key is staying in touch and being a human first.
Befriend Indirect Competitors
Another lucrative pathway for getting client work is connecting with people who offer complementary services to yours.
For example, I became good friends with a Facebook Ads expert after meeting her at an event and maintaining a relationship. We don’t work together often, but over the years we’ve helped each other out here and there and have developed trust.
Whenever she has a client that needs copywriting, she refers me to them and very often they say yes. I’ve made thousands of dollars from her referrals, and have repeatedly returned the favor.
If you’re a copywriter, there are so many professionals you can build powerful partnerships with – web developers, social media experts, graphic designers, software engineers (especially those who work with marketing tools)…The list goes on and on.
You can meet many of these people at business events or simply by talking about what you do when you’re with family, friends, or in public. The key is being open to possibilities and not being afraid to put yourself out there.
Leverage What You Already Have
Finding clients doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are kind, open, and honest with people already in your life, you can give your business a significant boost by learning how to use your existing network to find freelance writing clients. What do you have to lose?