Where Do You Find Clients?
There’s a poll up at Freelance Switch, asking Where Do You Find Your Clients? It’s a great question, but the challenge with any poll is that the responses are taken out of context. The poll allows you to choose from the following seven responses about where you find clients:
- Local Business
- Professional Website
- Word of Mouth
- Cold Calling
- Pay Per Click ads (Google, Facebook, etc)
- Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
- Off-Line Networking Events
In my opinion, if your marketing is working effectively, your answer would be “several of the above”. Or possibly, “all of the above”, depending on your business. These marketing tools aren’t meant to be stand-alone avenues. They work best in synergy, supporting each other, to help you find clients.
A cold call rarely results in an immediate sale, but dropping off a quality business card and brochure might lead a prospect to my website. The quality of my professional website might encourage them to sign up for my Small Business Self-Assessment in the sidebar, or even to schedule a free introductory marketing coaching consultation. After they find value in those experiences, then they might be ready to try some private marketing coaching. Notice that there’s a step-by-step process there that allows my prospects to learn more in a comfortable way. You need a marketing funnel to find clients, that leads the right prospects into closer contact with you.
Attending a networking event doesn’t result in sales by itself, but when I meet someone and explain a few benefits of what we teach in our Web-Powered Marketing Workshops, they might be willing to find out more from checking out the website. If I stay in touch, using email and social media, and perhaps help them with referrals or information, they might pass on my name to someone who is having challenges with their technology and marketing. Networking events are a great way to find clients, but just showing up isn’t enough. You need to support that activity with a web presence that gives you credibility, as well as good business cards and consistent followup.
Word of Mouth Marketing is Great, But
The poll respondents are overwhelmingly choosing “Word of Mouth“, but as I said, that’s misleading. Word of Mouth marketing doesn’t work well all by itself – it works to help you find clients when it’s part of an overall marketing strategy.
Someone who hears about me through someone else still checks out my website – and has usually been handed my business card, which has a clear description of what I do (and testimonials on the back). Or they get a recommendation at a networking event to come and talk to me.
Sometimes the person who passes on a referral for me is reminded to do it by seeing me in a social media channel like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Reminding people of your existence regularly will help you find clients.
No One Source is “The Way” to Find Clients
If all is working as it should, there’s a synergy created among multiple sources and that’s what really builds your business quickly. I currently use six of the seven sources listed in the poll to drive my business – they work together.
You Need Marketing Synergy
Remember the old saw that the average buyer is touched seven times before they buy? Those “touches” don’t all have to be sales calls. Your online reputation, professional website, social media activity, and off-line networking are all important parts of your marketing strategy – and they’re only parts. Get your free Small Business Self-Assessment from the sidebar and evaluate yourself on more than forty activities in your business that impact your marketing effectiveness. These activities help you find clients, and keep them. Let me know what you think of the results!
image credit: PictFactory
About the author
I'm a big fan of entrepreneurship. Most of my learning, teaching and business is focused on effectively creating "freedom businesses" that allow you to focus on your strengths, and bring what you're really good at to the world - profitably. My clients are looking for more of the right customers - and I show them how to make that happen. I help them develop their web presence through their website, SEO, social media and other marketing tactics.