Tap Into The Power Of Word Of Mouth Referral

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‘How did you hear about us?’ It’s a common question a business person likes to ask when someone engages out of the blue with their brand and it’s usually to find out if their marketing is effective. Referral or ‘word of mouth’ should not be underestimated by freelancers as a powerhouse for generating work leads.

The unusual thing about ‘word of mouth’ is it can sometimes be via people who have simply met you or hear about you through someone – therefore it needn’t be by people who have even worked with you. As the oldest form of marketing, getting out there and meeting, seeing people in real-life is about as solid a way of sharing the brand of you as anything – especially if you are looking for local clients. Here’s a few tips to get started.

Join business breakfasts

There are so many and your local area will have them. These groups are full of people wanting to do business. There are the major networks like 4N – which have thousands of members or little local groups. They each have their own style.

These events are usually done for work convenience, early on before the real day starts so you may need to get up quite early – which for some freelancers goes against the grain but don’t be lazy, as there is business out there! They can include great business lectures and when you are immersed in the local business community – even if it’s just a few breakfasts and conversations, you’ll soon see that you’ll be taken more seriously and sooner or later commissions do come. A great deal of people at these events are freelancers or one-man operations that use them for lead generation.

Prepare your pitch

If you do go to networking events and clubs then you may be expected to present a little pitch to the rest of the group each time you go – but don’t shy from this as it’s a great opportunity. Practice and practice your pitch to be engaging and make sure it answers the needs of businesses and is not just all about you and who you are. You should have a couple of lines prepared to describe your business in a face to face moment – say drinking coffee with others at the reception to the event. It’s amazing how many people struggle to explain in a very short way exactly what they do for people.

Basic marketing materials

Business cards are more important than you think. Yes, everyone has them but some turn to online services that are cheap and cheerful. Fine, but in the context of meeting other business people you often find at networking events, business cards are the most obvious first contact branding exercise. They will say how cheap or luxurious your standards are, how much you care about details and they will be your first impression in terms of the initial look at your brand values. Be creative, invest in a little quality if you can. First impressions do last.

Link up on social media

The follow-up, if not email – is obviously on social media – especially business related social media like LinkedIn. If you have a Find a Creative Pro premium account you can show off your work in the Projects section, plus explain your background and who you have worked with. Make sure your social media and any websites you are sharing are up to date and well presented. LinkedIn profiles need to say what you do in an elevator pitch style – not just a job title. You should also have a picture of yourself (a good one) as there’s nothing worse than a faceless grey ‘shadow man’ where no pic has been uploaded.

Your next client could be anywhere

Be prepared. If you are in social situations, you might meet someone who knows someone – and the usual question for strangers introducing each other is ‘what do you do?’ Consider that your first impression, your brand, is important wherever you go – so, how you dress, and what you say, when you meet new people can really affect potential for new work. Always be ready!

Join our network at Find a Creative Pro and you’ll have a comprehensive profile of yourself and your work to refer new clients to.

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