Creating a website for your freelance business is essential, but that’s just step one. To get freelance clients to come knocking on the door, your site needs strong search engine optimization or SEO.
Proper SEO involves a variety of strategies to help your site appear more often in relevant searches. Part of it hinges on the back end with SEO meta tags in your HTML, for example, but your content is a large part of it. Produce and publish well-optimized content on a regular basis to land on that coveted first page of Google results.
1. Encourage Referrals
Don’t treat each client like one client. Treat them each like they have the potential to lead to 20 clients because they do. Let happy clients know that you’re looking to expand your business and that you’d appreciate their recommendation to anyone they know who’s looking for services like yours. Word of mouth spreads quickly and it turns into new business.
2. Master Your Google Profile
If you Google “Indian restaurants” and Google shows local business listings at the top, those are probably the first ones that catch your eye. As a freelancer, you can get the same advantage by creating your own local business profile on Google My Business with all your basic information. You need a business address but if you work from home, you can hide the address from public view.
3. Be Strategic on Social Media
Instead of stalking old exes, use your social media time productively. Look for Facebook groups that are relevant to you and may include potential clients. Try groups for local entrepreneurs or freelancing groups. Once you’re in, actively engage in conversations on a regular basis to connect with people and make your name visible.
4. Network Online
Online networking takes minimal time but it can be a tremendous way to get new clients. LinkedIn is an especially great tool. Chat online with local business owners and engage with content from people in your target industry. Every person you meet is a potential client or potential referral.
5. Choose Your Work Environment Wisely
We all have to work somewhere and staying home could shortchange you. When I started my freelancing career, many of my first freelancing jobs came from people I met in coworking groups or working in coffee shops. Striking up chats with other people at those coffee shops and coworking spaces could lead to a relationship with a new client.
6. Be Prepared to Seize Opportunities
Sometimes our greatest opportunities come when we aren’t looking. You never know who you’ll meet at the grocery store, so be prepared at all times. Prepare an elevator pitch about what you do and have business cards in reach wherever you go.
7. Engage with Small Business Groups
Local businesses are terrific clients for freelance work. There’s a connection because you’re both entrepreneurs and they’re often easier to work with than large corporations. To reach them, get involved with small business groups in your area. Whether these groups focus on informational sessions or networking, you’re bonding with the right crowd.
8. Develop an Email Newsletter
Consider your target audience of potential clients and what they might want to know within your area of expertise. Then launch an email newsletter that gives them what they want. Grow your email list by marketing it on social media and your site. Potential clients on your subscriber list will get to know you and develop trust in you as an expert, giving them a reason to hire you.
9. Write Guest Posts
Sites everywhere are looking for fresh content in your specialty area, and you can produce it for them. Look for blogs that will publish your guest posts with a bio and a link to your website.
This gets your name in front of a larger audience to grow your freelance business. Publication on high-quality sites also boosts your online reputation. To top it off, that link to your site is called a backlink, and it improves your SEO.
10. Spread Your Knowledge
You have more knowledge to share than you think, so get on the teaching circuit. Look for conferences, webinars, and other knowledge-sharing opportunities where you can present.
This builds your credibility as a professional while also putting you in front of a new audience. It’s ideal if you’re speaking to potential clients like business owners. Market these presentations on your site and your social media too.
Watch the Clients Roll In
The freelance life is grand anyway, but it’s better if the clients come to you so you aren’t chasing them every day. These strategies above will put you on your way toward a steady flow of clients without so much extra work.