How Do You Get Clients?

A step-by-step approach for the simplest way to build your business

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How do you find your clients?

If you don’t want to faff around online, this issue walks you through the most pragmatic way I know for getting clients.

The edition in a nutshell:

  • inbound vs. outbound marketing and what it means for you

  • a step-by-step approach for getting clients

Let’s get into it.

First, Context: Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing

Let’s start off with some background intel.

There are two ways you can approach your marketing:

  1. Inbound marketing

  2. Outbound marketing

Inbound draws people to you. This is typical for social media, for example. Make content, show people your services, bring them into your world.

Outbound addresses people directly. It goes “out there”. This can be cold acquisition, ads, or billboard.

With social media and content marketing, inbound has become the norm in conversations about marketing - especially for solo businesses.

It’s not the only way there is, though.


Don’t Get Lost in the “Steps” of Marketing

With inbound marketing, it’s easy to get lost in the myriad of steps it seems you need to take: Make the content, post it, make a story, tease the offer, talk to people in the DMs, pitch them your service again, etc.

youtube videos GIF by Channel Frederator

It can be a very convoluted way of getting clients. You keep busy churning out content, when you want to be doing work that gets you paid.

One is not like the other.



The Pragmatic Way to Get Clients

The most pragmatic way to get clients is to reach out. There’s a way to make cold acquisition a good experience for everyone. See below.

The Steps.

Let’s say you’re a web designer and want more clients.

1) Get clear on who you want to serve.

You need a niche in this case and want to ask yourself this:

  • Do they need your service?

  • Can they pay your rates?

For example: Solid, small businesses that have been around for decades and have outdated sites like a plumber.

2) Do your research.

Now you need to find your leads:

  • Pick a niche (for example local service businesses), then

  • Google - it’s easiest to go by region

  • Make a list (put everything together you find in a table - business name, URL, contact email, phone number, etc.)

3) Get more intel on how you can serve them.

It’s not enough to just have business names and contacts. You need to filter, whether you’re a good match and it’s worth reaching out to.

In the example of the web designer, you can ask yourself:

  • What does their site look like?

  • Does it look like it converts well?

  • Do you notice anything else that needs fixing?

Note all those in your table from the above.

4) Reach out.

Now comes the fun part: reaching out. Email works well here.

It’s important to write a personal message, not spam them. Do not copy-paste your messages here.

Use the information from your research to send something like this:

Hi [Name],

I’m XYZ, a web designer [from abc if the local angle applies].

I looked at your website and noticed [this is where you add concrete things you saw, for example: your site looks great on a desktop, but doesn’t work as well for mobile phones, etc.].

This can be easily improved with ….. OR It would be much better for your business and your clients, if your site…. [It’s important here to suggest something concrete they can respond to.]

Is that something you’re interested in? I’d be happy to help you [f.e. set up your site for a great user experience.]

Best [or whatever else you like to use here],

Boom, done. Rinse and repeat as you make your way through your list.


6 Things to Consider

1) Follow up.
Make sure to follow up with the people you reach out to. How often? When?

2) You will get ghosted and rejected.
You won't hear back from everyone. Such is life.

3) Personalize.
It’s way, way less awkward to cold email people when you personalize your message. That changes the dynamic from spam to a service-oriented offer.

4) Make it about them.
What can you do for people? What can you improve for them? How will the person’s business be better when they work with you? This is not about you but about what you can do for others.

5) Make sure this suits you.
Cold outreach isn’t for everyone and doesn’t work in all industries. Whether or not this is appropriate for you or your industry is your call.

6) Follow your excitement.
Who do you want to work with? Whose business fires up your creativity? Excitement is a great filter for outreach. Connect with the people and companies you want to work with.

Aaaand, that’s it from me for today. And always remember: marketing is about people.

Happy Marketing,

Johanna 📣

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