How to attract and retain clients as a freelancer

As a freelancer, at some point, you’ve probably asked yourself, what can I really do to attract and retain clients?

Like many other freelancers, perhaps you’ve taken bold steps to get new clients but unfortunately in some instances, it was just a flop and since then you’ve been wondering, what exactly did I do wrong?

Have you ever found yourself in this place? Sometimes all your best guesses could be completely wrong. So, what exactly is the issue you ask?

Follow me closely in the following paragraphs as we unravel how to break the hedge and get new clients even if you’re just a new freelancer…

Identify your Ideal Client

One of the first things you need to do if you really plan to attract and retain clients is to identify your ideal target clients. Without doing this you cant get positioned to target them.

So at this point, you’ll want to ask yourself the three primary questions, who’s my ideal client, where are they and how can I get to attract them?

Starting with “WHO”, before you decide this, you need to be very clear on the services you’re offering and the particular end users of that service. When you get to figure this, it becomes easier to identify your ideal client.

After identifying the “who”, you can dig in a bit deeper to define the “WHERE”. So, here’s the part you find out where your ideal client hangs out.

Usually the location of your ideal client could be online or offline but since we’re using digital marketing strategies we’ll focus on online locations.

With this, you get to find out, are these target audience gathered on a particular social media, website or a competitor’s platform? As soon as you identify where they are, we can now head over to the last leg of the three questions, “HOW”.

This question focuses on strategies you can actually use to attract and retain your ideal clients.

So, suppposing you found them on a competitor’s website, your next step is to find out how to get them over to your own website.

If on the other hand you found them on a specific social media platform, your goal is to find out ways to sign up on that platform, create content, engage and get them over to your own in that platform for the keeps.

Here’s a complete guide on how to identify your target audience here.

Now, that you’ve figured out how to identify your target audience, the next step is to put your acts together create a brand that will attract this audience.

Create a Brand

Absolutely, no one wants to work with an unknown entity. So, whether you’re a new or established freelancer, if you really want to attracts and retain clients, you need to create a brand.

Start with identifying the skills or services you want to sell. After that, find out, why do you want to do this? Beyond making money, what is your mission as a freelance entrepreneur? What difference do you want to make?

Write down these things and subsume them into a mission and vision statement, including a statement of purpose that will guide you. Remember you’re just starting out so you may not have a complete idea about what it is for you so do not put too much pressure on yourself at this point.

Start with writing down the most important ones as they come to you. You can always fine tune things out later.

When you’re done with this, head over to build the brand proper. To get some clues at this point, you want to find out, are there any important brands in this space? If yes, what exactly are they doing well that you’d like to borrow from?

As soon as you find this thing(s), begin to build it right into your brand. You don’t need to copy verbatim. You can just get the inspiration from there to create what works for you.

Here’s a complete guide on how to create your brand as a freelancer.

Create a Website

After creating a brand, you’ll need a platform to host the brand. And this platform will have to be accessible.

Doesn’t matter whether you have a handle on social media or not. To really make moves to attract and retain clients as a freelancer, you will need a website.

This is important because owning a website makes you come out as a more professional and reliable freelancer, works as the central platform for your digital marketing campaign as well as serve as a place where you can host and show case your portfolio.

So, you need a website. And getting one is not difficult. You can get our team to set up a world-class website for your freelancing business by clicking this link or you can get to do that by yourself, using a guide like this one here.

PS: While building your website, be sure that everything is properly on brand, including your brand colors, logos etc.

Get your Social Proof

Now that you’ve set up your website, the next step to attract and retain clients is to put your portfolio together and showcase your best work to the world.

Remember, no one is going to give you their work if they don’t see your pedigree or feel that you have the requisite experience and skills to do their jobs.

So, to get past this hurdle, you need to put in place, a solid portfolio before you get started.

How to Create your Portfolio as a new Freelancer

Naturally, if freelancing was a 9-5 job, you’d definitely have gone for internships and all. If you can, it’s still a good thing to do to gather some experience.

On the contrary, instead of freelancing, there are certain ways to get some portfolios. One of them is charging very low for services just to get clients to start with.

The draw back with this is that some clients can begin to commoditize your services. And it can get pretty difficult to get out of this hole, the moment you get into it.

The next strategy you can use instead of freelancing is to offer free services in return for a review. This is another strategy that can work in getting you jobs to display on your portfolio.

The third and final strategy is to start with getting jobs and referral from family and friends. Although this might get difficult in some niches but its still a good strategy to break the ice and get your portfolio created.

Read this guide from freelancer.com to get further tips on how to build your portfolio.

Promote your Services

Congratulations, you’ve successfully created a portfolio. Now, the next step in your journey to attract and retain clients is to promote your services.

There are many ways to do this both digitally and non digitally, including paid and unpaid strategies.

For the digital promotion, you can choose to combine both the paid and free promotional strategies, depending on your budget.

For the free strategies, work on combining strategies like content marketing, social media marketing, guest posting and link building to promote your business, gain visibility and traffic over to your website.

The paid strategy on the other hand could include a combined strategy like social media marketing, search advertising, paid adverts, sponsored posts etc.

Remember it’s always best to have a combination of both paid and free strategies to have a well structured results. And even when you’re on a lean budget, you can start up something then grow it up later.

Over here is a robust guide on how to promote your business online.

PS: Alongside the digital marketing strategies listed here, you can also combine traditional marketing to further attract and retain clients for your freelance business.

Work on Customer Relationship

Customer relationship might sound like your least worry at the starting but it’s very important to you as a freelancer. Because if you want to attract and retain clients, the way you relate with your existing clients is going to play a huge role right on that.

Starting with your level of professionalism, one of the questions you need to answer is; am I really delivering excellent services for my clients? If I were a different person, would I actually patronize myself as a client, based on how I deliver my services?

Sometimes, you may not really get unbiased answers by asking yourself this question so you can decide to get a honest review from others just to find areas you can improve on.

Furthermore, be opened to learning and improving on your skills from time to time. Get new certifications and find out what’s new in the industry. Doing this will keep you ahead of the competition, giving your clients something to always look forward to.

Evaluate your Outcomes

After taking all these steps, to attract and retain clients as a freelancer, it’s now time to review and evaluate your outcomes.

At this stage, you want to consider the steps you took to attracts clients to your business. Analyze these steps to find out what really worked.

Also to be figure out are the strategies that didn’t work. This can be done at intervals like quarterly, half yearly or yearly. Make sure it’s structured into a timeline that’ll allow you to know what’s going on with your business in time.

Like I say it most often, a lot f the times many freelancers do not take out time to evaluate their businesses. And most often than not, this will always have its impact on the outcomes you get.

So, you don’t want to be a part of these freelancers. You want to take steps to ascertain the health of your business. Find out strategies that can be used again and the ones that need to be overhauled for new ones.

Doing this, you’ll get to have a clear idea on what your business can do to get and retain new clients. You will also identify the strategies that are creating the right results so you can rinse and use them again.

Final Words

Frankly, everyone starts from somewhere so, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re a new or old freelancer, you can take steps that will drive real growth for your freelancing business.

But the question is, are you willing and ready to take these steps?

As a matter of fact, this isn’t a journey you’re going to start and finish in a single day but with sustained effort, consistency and the right strategies as listed out here, you can create commendable results.

Beyond that, you can join our content mentorship program to get mentorship and learn digital marketing skills to boost your business.

So, now it’s over to you. What’s your biggest challenge as a freelance entrepreneur when it comes to attracting and keeping clients coming back? Let’s get to read your comments.

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    Victor Winners

    Victor Winners

    Award winning Blogger, Author, Web Developer, Senior Digital Strategist and Founder of Africa's most widely read blog on Content Marketing and Digital Strategy, VictorWinners.Com.Named as one of the top 50 design influencers globally, since 2014; Victor Winners has helped over 2 million readers to understand and use digital technology to transform their lives and businesses.

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