It’s the question many of us ask when we first start our business: how do we get clients? When you initially start your business you’re relying on your tenacity, the quality of your work and definitely not your bank account. We’ve all been there, heck i’m still there, going in circles on trying to get in front of our ideal clients, but not wanting to spend the big bucks to get there.
Today i’m sharing some ideas on how to get in front of your ideal clients that i’ve used since starting my business. I’m sure there are many other ways, and remember that every business and every industry is different, but I hope these help you get your feet off the ground!
Even if it’s not something you do regularly on a personal account, having a presence on social media is so important because your competitors are. When my friend told me that she found a photographer for her Christmas photos from a hashtag on Instagram, I knew I had to get serious.
Do some research on what platforms your target audience is on, and make you have a presence on each of those platforms. The most common would be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Post consistently. If your community knows that every Monday at 9 am you share a blog post, they will be more likely to follow you and create a connection with you. From there, you develop a relationship, in hopes that one day in the future you can work together.
Share quality content. Making sure that you are on brand message is very important so that people aren’t confused on what service you provide. Provide your community with relevant content that gives them a little taste of your personality and your work. Here I wrote a post on setting an intention for your business that will help you stay in line with your brand message.
Post at the right time. If you haven’t already, make sure you are a business account (on Instagram) and check your insights on when your followers are most active on social media and use this as the times to post your content.
Like, comment, follow. It sounds self explanatory, but I still have to say it. No one is going to just stumble upon your account with one follower on accident. You need to follow your ideal clients, comment meaningful messages on their pictures and like people’s pictures!
The best part about social media? It’s free. If you put in 100% effort you will gain a community, which in turn will give you exposure to your ideal clients and hopefully turn into business. All without spending a penny.
Blogging is a great way to get traffic to your website and get in front of your ideal client and give them a taste of what you have to offer. By blogging, you are creating trust with your community and bringing more traffic to your website. Make sure that you are posting quality content that speaks to your target audience and posting it all to your social media accounts and Pinterest!
Networking has been the number one way that I have gained clients. I spend at least 5 hours a week going on coffee dates and to networking events trying to get myself in front of as many people as possible. Although the internet has allowed us to build relationships with people all over the world, there is no connection like the connection you met face to face. When you put yourself out there in networking groups, even if the people you meet don’t need you for their work specifically, they might have a friend that does and then they have a friend and the cycle goes on.
Creating in person connections is like having a small marketing team of people that vouch for you. No matter where you live, look online for networking groups that have business owners similar to you and go to the groups! Don’t be shy, everyone is there to do the same thing you are and these communities are all about supporting local businesses.
Some groups are free or might cost a small amount, but it’s 100% worth every penny. Some groups that are in multiple cities:
AKA offer your work for free. When you’re first starting out you have to be willing to work for free, especially when building your portfolio. Reach out to some ideal clients or friends and ask to either do a trade or if you can provide them services for free, in turn for a testimonial and adding it to your portfolio. Not only does this allow you to add something to your portfolio that speaks to your ideal clients, it also creates a connection with someone you’d like to work for again and can turn into many more paid clients down the road.
Here I wrote a blog post on how to create a portfolio without any clients.
This is a debatable subject that some might say is not worth your time, but for me has proved to be one of the top ways i’ve booked clients. Now, if you type up a generic email and blast it to 100 people it will not receive the same attention as a personally crafted email will. Do some research on this person and develop an email that speaks specifically to them, sharing with them how you can help enhance their business. I am extremely passionate about helping my clients create beautiful brands that book their ideal clients, and am sure that my email shows them specific details on how we can work together.
Everything I said earlier is completely irrelevant if you don’t have a website that takes people to your website. You can post 500 times a day, but if you don’t have a website that clearly and beautifully defines your business and brings people to contact you, there’s no point. The purpose to market yourself is to ultimately get clients and if your website doesn’t share what you do, then that’s not going to happen. If you don’t have money to hire a website designer, there are lots of inexpensive options. Although it’s not completely free, this is an investment that is 100% worth it. If you take yourself seriously, then your future clients will too.
I know that it’s difficult when first starting your business, but if you hustle hard the first year, I am a believer that it will come back to help you in the future. All of the coffee dates, networking events, hours of planning social media and crafting cold emails, will be worth it in the end. If you have any questions about any of these topics, please feel free to reach out!
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