Whether you’re a web developer, site designer, or content marketer, landing the biggest clients in your niche can seem a daunting task – even with years of experience. Add in an ever-growing pool of competitors, and getting noticed by potential clients could seem impossible. Fortunately, it’s well within reach for almost everyone. It does require a lot of patience and persistence, but with the right strategy, you can certainly get there.
In this post, we’ll offer six tips to help you get noticed by your niche’s big potential clients. While each can be utilized on its own, when combined, these tips make a powerful combination.
1. Create a Standout Portfolio
No matter your niche, your work should do the talking. That’s why a standout portfolio – one highlighting your best work and singing your praises – is so important for catching the attention of top clients.
Creating a one-of-a-kind portfolio isn’t difficult. In fact, there are only three main elements you need to concern yourself with:
- Your work. This should be the main focus of your portfolio, so you’ll want to display your work clearly and remove any obstacles – such as pop-ups or sidebars – that interrupt the experience.
- Client testimonials. While you could ramble on about your qualifications, your niche’s biggest clients want to see proof of your abilities. Aside from your work, your clients’ testimonials will say a lot about you – as a creative and as a freelancer.
- Personality. You want to land clients who can appreciate your stylistic choices. This is why your personality should always be incorporated into your portfolio.
2. Do Your Research
At this stage, it’s time to consider exactly which clients you should be pitching to. The right research can provide you with quality leads and lead you to potential clients that align with your service offerings.
As you start the research process, you’ll have many potential leads. However, by following the steps below you can quickly narrow them down to your list of ideal clients:
- Take a cursory look at your potential client’s website. At this stage, you won’t be performing any in-depth research. Instead, you’ll be looking to get a feel for the typical big name clients in your niche, and also rejecting any that are an obvious mismatch.
- Do some reconnaissance. As you find clients that pique your interest, do a bit of information mining. Dig deep to find information that either adds them to the reject pile or solidifies their choice as a potential client.
- Determine which clients you can help. When you pitch potential clients, you want to be sure to tell them exactly how you can help. It means you need to be sure your skills and expertise can meet the needs of your potential targets.
It may be tempting to pitch to all of the big name clients in your niche. However, targeting only the clients that are right for you will save time and will make your efforts more effective.
3. Get on Your Potential Clients’ Social Radar
You’ve narrowed your list of potential clients, which is a big step! Now it’s time to create connections that will get you on their social radar. Of course, you can’t win work from clients who don’t know you exist, so this is arguably the most crucial step.
We recommend tackling this in three stages:
- Perform a social media background check. Before anything else, you should get a solid understanding of how your ideal clients utilize social media. Take a look at past posts, previous mentions, and typical interactions between themselves and others. (This is known as social listening.)
- Get active on the right platforms. The background check above will give you a good idea of your potential client’s most frequent hangouts. However, this knowledge is useless if you aren’t a part of the community. To achieve this, you’ll simply need to build a stellar profile, and get involved in your clients’ conversations.
- Utilize mutual network connections. It’s pretty amazing how your own connections can branch out, eventually making their way to your ideal client. You should utilize these connections to the fullest by engaging and interacting with any mutual network connections you have. This will likely enable you to pop up on your potential clients’ newsfeed or dashboard. After all, familiarity – even if minor – could lead to feelings of trust.
Once you’ve established yourself on your potential clients’ favorite social media platforms, it is much easier to begin making meaningful contact.
4. Take the First Steps Toward Contact
The previous few tips have been focused on passive means of getting noticed. However, getting active is essential if you have any hope of gaining big clients as customers. The best way to do this is to take the initiative.
Essentially, you need to put yourself directly in front of your target clients. It’s not enough to let them know you’re there – they also have to know you’re available for work and that you’re ready to take the lead.
This will look different for everybody – remember, you must tailor your approach to each specific client. However, there are a few universal methods that ring true:
- Contact the right people. You want to be heard, so be sure to take the time to find the right person to contact, then reach out. If the business you’re targeting is small, you’re typically looking to contact the owner. However, for larger businesses you should look more towards marketing directors or creative managers.
- Directly offer your services. The first few times it’ll feel weird offering your services without solicitation. However, this is an important step in landing your dream clients, and it requires a healthy dose of self-promotion.
- Create a tailored and unforgettable pitch. You don’t want to go through the trouble of finding business contacts and reaching out, only to have your pitch fall flat. It’s therefore vital that you take the time to create a tailored pitch directed at them and their pain points.
Taking those first steps can be nerve wracking. However, active contact can get you a lot closer to landing your ideal client.
5. Make a Targeted and Irresistible Offer
Of course, what makes an offer irresistible is subjective. At this point, you’ve already performed the research, completed a social media audit, and taken the first steps toward contact. Now it’s time to put all you’ve learned to the test by providing your potential client with an offer that’s too good to refuse.
Let’s take a look at some common pitching tactics that enable you to create targeted offers for potential clients:
- Locate client weak points. If you’re a designer, this will mean looking at design elements to focus on in your offer. As a content marketer, this will mean taking a look at your client’s content and marketing strategies.
- Create a sense of urgency. Once you’ve identified your potential client’s weak points, it’s time to make the case for the importance of fixing them. Tell your clients – in no uncertain terms – what they can lose by keeping them as is.
- Offer a solution. You’ve introduced a problem to your potential client, and now it’s time to provide them with the solution. At this point, let them know what they’ll gain by let you to fix the issue.
If you want to go one step further, think about utilizing value-added services. These are services you might not typically offer as a package, but have put together for the client’s own personal gain. This will show them you’re serious about working with them, and give you a leg up against the competition.
6. Work with Freelance Agencies
Freelance agencies are companies that put clients in touch with freelancers, and they offer a number of benefits to both sides of the coin. Working with a freelance agency isn’t difficult, but you’ll still need to pitch to agencies to land the gig. The most important thing here will be finding the agencies that already have a connection with your coveted clients, then getting them to hire you.
First on your list of to-dos will be finding agencies in your niche. This can take a bit of time, but finding the right agency is (of course) crucial. While local agencies will be easier to work with, those trading out of district are just as good, especially if they encourage remote work.
Another great way to connect with freelance agencies in your niche is to attend dedicated events. Conventions and the like will typically have a number of freelancers and agencies represented, and it’s a great way to make initial contact with prospective clients.
As for the connection to your ideal client, most agency sites don’t offer this information freely. In fact, you typically won’t even know which company you’ll be freelancing for until the contract is signed and sealed. Don’t fret – there are two easy ways to find out whether the agency has the connections you’re looking for:
- Check out agency testimonials. While project details are typically kept under wraps, the majority of companies have no problem openly associating themselves with freelance agencies. Many agency sites have testimonial pages, and it’s here you may find your big ideal client.
- Contact previous or current agency freelancers. It doesn’t hurt to do some behind-the-scenes investigating, and ask other agency freelancers whether the client you’re hoping to land works with their particular agency. LinkedIn is a great place to search out agency associates, as the platform is largely focused on networking and connections.
Getting in with freelance agencies works similarly to pitching your ideal clients, so at the very least, they represent great practice for future client pitches.
While getting noticed by your niche’s biggest potential clients may seem an impossible feat, it can be easy to achieve with the right strategy in place. Even better, a strategy that focuses on solid research and a tailored pitch can more than catch the attention of your ideal clients – it can help you land them!
In this post, we’ve offered you six tips to help you get noticed by potential clients. To recap, they are:
- Create a standout portfolio.
- Do your research on the client.
- Get on your potential client’s social radar.
- Be proactive and take the first steps toward contact.
- Make a targeted and irresistible offer.
- Work with freelance agencies.
Do you have any questions about getting noticed by your niche’s big potential clients? Let us know in the comments section below!
Article thumbnail image by Salapao2u / shutterstock.com.