52 Creative Ideas for Finding New Clients

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 2:13am by Site Administrator

As a bootstrapper, you know that clients equal business. Without them, you’d just be another one-man (or woman) shop with an office trying not to go into debt. Fighting for and retaining clients against your competition can be a struggle, just like recruiting new employees or searching for a job yourself is a frustrating battle. With this list, we want to help you take a step back from the front lines and get a little creative. Read below for more than 50 ideas on how to find new clients the smart way.

Online Tools and Resources

Utilize the Internet to connect you to clever tools and resources that will help you find new clients.

  1. Make sure your website is in working order: If you hand someone a business card, they probably won’t call you right away, but they will check out your website. If you have an amateur online set up, you won’t come across as cutting edge or professional enough, even if your physical office space is in great shape.
  2. Start blogging: In addition to setting up a professional looking website, start a blog on which you regularly post articles about your field. You can dispense free advice or discuss industry news in a more casual setting than if you met face to face with a new client. You’ll increase your online profile by reaching out to readers all over the world.
  3. Maintain a strong presence online: Regularly visit other blogs and websites in your field and comment on different posts and message boards. Most sites will allow you to link back to your own blog or website. Becoming a known fixture online is free advertising, and others will come to recognize your level of expertise.
  4. Hot Gigs: This online staffing exchange can help you find new clients looking for qualified vendors and project managers.
  5. Word of Mouth Marketing Association: This online community supports entrepreneurs by allowing them access to a job board where they can find new clients. Business owners can also read articles, share tips and meet up at events through the organization.
  6. Web Designers: 5 Steps to Dozens of New Clients: This detailed article from Interspire.com reveals 5 Internet-based tricks and tools that Web designers can use to win over new clients.
  7. Free Tips from the Marketing Mentor: The Marketing Mentor Ilise Benun sends out free tips to subscribers who want advice on attracting new clients.
  8. YouTube: Direct a YouTube video that showcases your company’s services in a creative way. You can embed the video in your website or blog, e-mail it to friends, family and clients, or just wait and see how popular it becomes on its own.

For Freelancers

Freelancers in search of new clients should check out these job boards, which post resumes, offer tips for finding new gigs and encourage networking throughout the freelancing community.

  1. 37signals Gig Board: Clients can search this job board for freelancing help with copywriting, Web design, programming and other techie tasks.
  2. Writerlance: This site is "connecting writers with buyers." Sign up to start placing your bid on quality projects.
  3. Guru.com: Guru.com boasts that it is "the world’s largest online service marketplace." Register your skills here to meet new clients.
  4. sologig: Sologig posts "superior projects" for "independent talent." Browse through the job listings and place your bid on top projects which could lead to long lasting client relationships.
  5. Freelancers Network: This UK-based network is worth checking out if you live in the area or feel like you can compete with British professionals from home.
  6. iFreelance: Use this site to find new gigs and start an ongoing business relationship with new clients.
  7. eLance: Web programming, design, writing, sales and other jobs are available here. Register online for a clever way to meet new clients.

Marketing Strategies

Without a solid marketing strategy, you’ll never be able to reach out to quality clients. This list documents clever ways to modify your marketing plan so that your business achieves maximum exposure.

  1. Create an e-mail campaign: Web-based tools like Breeze can help you design and create attractive e-mail campaigns that you can use to announce your business deals, special events and other news-worthy items that will attract new business.
  2. Find New Clients: Check out this article by Bernadette Doyle to learn how to successfully market yourself and your company so that you become attractive to your specific audience.
  3. New Client Marketing Institute: Turn to this website for free how-to articles that will help improve your marketing strategies and attract clients.
  4. MarketingProfs.com: This online networking community of marketing professionals hosts a job board, blog, information about upcoming special events, and features lots of valuable marketing resources and forums that promote communication among business owners.
  5. CPA Marketing Challenge: Clients Quick and Easy: This guide offers fail-proof advice on how to attract clients you’ll work with forever.
  6. shoutlet: This social media marketing tool allows entrepreneurs to manage contacts, newsletters, mailing lists, tracking tools, and digital content storage capabilities.
  7. New Clients Now! Marketing Strategies for Freelance Success: Freelancers have unique marketing needs, and this article reveals simple but effective secrets for success.
  8. Entrepreneur.com: Utilize this valuable resource for all kinds of articles and advice on marketing, attracting new clients and other topics related to owning a growing business.
  9. As your business grows, advertise to existing clients: Just because you’ve had the same client for 5 years doesn’t mean they remain aware of your company’s most recent progress. Continue to market to existing clients by notifying them of new services, special deals and more.
  10. Become an industry expert: Check out this article from Write2Market.com for tips on how to gain publicity and a new client base by becoming a go-to expert in your field.
  11. The Freelancer’s New Client Primer: Great tips supplied in this article include perfecting the art of selling, building rapport among industry professionals and developing a relationship strategy.
  12. CafePress.com: Design and order your own promotional items to hand out at trade shows or to give as gifts for existing clients.

Networking Ideas

Let these tools and guides inspire you to tap into all of your contact resources to network, network, network.

  1. Reconnect With Your Alma Mater: Ework.com writer Rob Einaudi urges professionals to go back to school in the search for new clients. He notes that "many alumni associations have large databases containing a wealth of useful information and contacts."
  2. Keep your portfolio in the trunk of your car: You never know when a new opportunity might strike. While it’s best not to show up to a wedding with a bulging binder under your arm, make sure you have a few examples of some of your best work, and keep the phone numbers of references handy in case a new business relationship materializes.
  3. LinkedIn: This popular online social network connects professionals, students and alumni. Become a member and set up your own profile to strengthen existing business relationships or start new ones.
  4. Capazoo: This online social networking community supports blogs, videos and music files so that you can reach your customers more creatively.
  5. Doostang: This career hub doubles as a networking site for those looking to expand their audience and professional contacts. Doostang is currently invite-only, so ask around to see if you can score an invitation.
  6. Gather: Members of this social network can post photos, engage in group chats, upload videos and make new contacts.
  7. Attending Trade Fairs/Exhibitions to Meet New Clients: Discover what other professionals have to say about networking with potential clients at trade shows.
  8. 10 Tips for Successful Business Networking: Nervous about getting out in the real world to meet new people? Use this guide to arm yourself with solid networking strategies.
  9. Networking Tips: How to Work a Room: Check out this article from the University of California – Berkeley’s career center. Great tips include: "check your attitude", "practice and perfect your self-introduction" and "risk rejection".
  10. Meetup: Meetup connects people who share the same interests, business-related or otherwise, and encourages them to organize real world events to network, communicate and foster new relationships.
  11. Business Networking for Entrepreneurs: This resource from About.com has lots of clever ideas for giving your networking skills a boost. Learn about "the importance of being memorable" and "how to cultivate a network of endless referrals."
  12. Ryze: This popular business networking site connects users to new clients and business partners through its professional online community.
  13. How to Network: For Introverts: This article from BusinessPundits.com coaxes shy business professionals into the profitable world of business marketing.
  14. 8 Networking Tips: Ideas like "brainstorm for contacts" and making sure to follow up are simple but extremely effective strategies that will help you find new clients.

Guides

Read these articles and guides for quality information on seeking out and retaining profitable clients.

  1. How to Attract New Clients to Your Work at Home Business: Work-at-home professionals sometimes don’t get as much respect as entrepreneurs who operate out of a traditional office. Use this guide to develop a marketing plan that will bring clients to your home office.
  2. How to Land New Clients Fast: This step-by-step article urges business owners to "be bold, be creative" and "give up your fears, doubts and insecurities" before actively pursuing new clients.
  3. 101 Ideas to Get More Freelance Work and Generate New Client Leads: Save this resource from FreelanceSwitch to get lots of clever ideas for bulking up your business and fostering relationships with newly acquired clients.
  4. Five Ways to Cross-Promote to Attract More Customers While Spending Less: Start a partnership with another company in your field or active in a different industry to sponsor an event, engage in product sharing or refer customers back and forth.
  5. CareerJournal.com: This "executive career site" from the Wall Street Journal includes a job board, a collection of business-related tools and many other resources to help your business grow.
  6. Small Business Resource Center: Nielsen’s Professional Network publishes this online collection of articles, tools, job classifieds and other resources to increase your presence among potential clients.
  7. Target Ideal Buyers to Get More Customers: This post from the StreetSmart Marketer blog dispenses critical advice for recognizing "ideal buyers," who are "easier to sell…more profitable" and "likely to become the best clients."
  8. Business Planning: Pitching successful campaigns to clients all starts with a solid business plan. Use this guide to develop an effective, workable strategy that will attract the clients you want.
  9. 21 Strategies to Attract New Clients: This article is full of ideas for bringing new clients into your office.

Get Involved

The following ideas will help you get out of the office and get involved with the community.

  1. Leverage Your Hobbies: MsMoney.com suggests that entrepreneurs take a look at what interests them outside of work, and then take steps to pursue it professionally. Rob Einaudi writes, "if you are an avid skier, perhaps a ski resort, tour company, or retailer you frequent could use your services. The fact that you already "speak their language" will make you a top candidate."
  2. Volunteering: Use a site like Volunteer Match to find volunteering opportunities that match your interest and are located in your area. Volunteering is a great way to meet individuals from all walks of life and develop with them a special bond.
  3. Donate your services: If you don’t have time to give up your weekends or evenings to helping with a volunteering project, consider donating your services, whether it’s printing services, marketing assistance or legal help to a charity in your area. You’ll enter into a whole new world of valuable networking and new business opportunities.
  4. Join a professional organization: Join up with the local chapter of your field’s professional organization. You’ll meet other professionals at all levels at special events, lectures and more.


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