27 actions to get quality clients (+ Bingo cards to make it fun)
Many service providers are so busy giving their clients awesome service, that they forget to perform the simple tasks that will keep new clients streaming in.
Or maybe you don’t forget… it’s just one of these things that get pushed back to when you’ve got more time, as client work is more important. Right?
Result: a project finishes… and suddenly you find yourself in need of a new income stream, and no leads in sight.
These are 27 actions you can take (some are one-off, some should be repeated regularly) for a smooth client generation process.
There are two ways to go through this list:
- Get your calendar or project management tool, and add all these actions to your to-do list
- Scroll all the way down to download the bingo cards and/or the checklist. These include simple and quick actions you can take that will get you on the way to being fully booked again!
Or just do both, of course.
#1 - Ask people for referrals
Get in touch with a peer, an old client, etc, and ask them if they know anyone who could benefit from your services.
How is [your company] doing? I enjoyed working with you on that project and would love to hear how it’s going.
On a side note, I’ve got an opening for new clients to work with me starting next month. Can you connect me to any people or companies in your network that could use my services?”
#2 - Follow Up with "Lost Leads" and Turn Them into New Clients
That person you sent a proposal to, but you never heard back from them…
The company that couldn’t hire you then - maybe now’s a better time….
Anyone in your lead list or CRM that you haven’t heard from in over a month?
Get in touch.
Repeat this every other month to not really lose leads.
#3 - Write and Schedule Relevant Articles Regularly
If you’re not blogging consistently… what’s keeping you from doing it?
Write two new articles aimed to help your ideal clients with questions they may have. Schedule these to your website with a reasonable interval E.g. two weeks, or a month). Bonus point if the CTA gets them to book a call with you, or if you’re adding a signup to your mailing list!
After you’ve done that, create tasks in your to-do list to write a third and a fourth and a fifth later - and keep posting consistently.
If writing content just isn’t your forte but you know you need “something”, we can help. We’ll take existing content (videos, voice recordings, products, etc) and repurpose it into articles for your blog… Or we can find experts who will write the content from scratch.
#4 - Write Guest Blog Posts to Increase your Visibility
You want more visibility? Guest blogging will do that for you.
Contact other business owners (with an active blog on their website) who are reaching your kind of audience, and offer to write an article for their website. The article should be about your area of expertise, in a way that resonates or connects with their topic and their audience.
You can also propose an exchange to them: you write something for them, they can write something for you.
#5 - Search Twitter for Work Opportunities
Many companies look for freelancers on social media - and twitter is the easiest one to get quick results when you search for them.
Type in words like
- “Hire [your expertise]
- Looking for [expertise] expert/specialist
And answer any opportunities that may arise!
#6 - Update All your Social Media Profiles
Are all your active and inactive social media profiles up to date? or have you left a couple of platforms in order to concentrate on just one… but forgot to update your account profiles as time went by?
When people search for your name, often the first results they’ll get are multiple social profiles. If your instagram says you’re a web designer while LinkedIn says you’re a VA but on Facebook you moved on to be a business coach, people will be confused.
#7 - Participate in Relevant Facebook Groups
Be helpful in Facebook groups.
Answer questions about your area of expertise; let people get to know you, like you, trust you, and trust that you know your stuff.
Don’t get spammy - don’t send people private messages without reason or without their permission.
Observe group rules at all times - but don’t waste your time on groups that leave absolutely no space to pick up new leads.
#8 - Answer Queries on HARO
“Help a reporter out” is a great way to get a bit of visibility - and get links to your website. you get emails with specific questions; if they’re about your area of expertise, help the journalist out… in exchange for a mention + link.
#9 - Answer Questions on Quora
Quora is a huge melting pot of questions - it’s also a great way for you to get visibility and traffic to your website.
Go to Quora, type in search terms relating to your topic, and see what comes up.
Answer any questions you know the answer to (don’t forget a link to an article or lead magnet). You may also get inspired to answer more questions… by writing new articles.
#10 - Write and Schedule Newsletters
Growing an email list won’t serve you much if you’re not emailing your list regularly - so they’ll still remember you six months from now. Email at least once every other week to stay on top of your leads’ minds!
Write your newsletters ahead of time, so you can schedule them to be sent out at an interval.
Ideas for content:
- Tell your ideal client about your latest blog post (remember those 2 articles you wrote earlier?)
- Tell your ideal client about a free offer (lead magnet, webinar etc) you created
- Tell your ideal client about something you’re an affiliate for - e.g. a free workshop (that might lead people to a paid course), shout out to a freelancer who’s done amazing work for you, etc. Don’t make it salesy: make it relevant and helpful for your ideal clients.
- Tell your ideal client a story - a case study for one of your clients (or for someone who should have been)
#11 - Write a Playbook for your Services
People like to understand how things work and visualise how it is to go through a process, before signing up to it.
Write a “playbook” for your signature service: describe your process and the client’s role in it.
#12 - Get Coworking - in Real Life or Online
Working online can be lonely!
Join a local coworking initiative, get in touch with someone who lives nearby and would like some company during working hours… or join an online coworking group.
There are tons of coworking groups; for specific lifestyles (e.g. coworking group for digital nomads), for specific business types (e.g. coworking group for creative entrepreneurs), and more.
What does coworking have to do with getting new clients, you ask?
Directly, probably nothing. Your new coworkers may not be your ideal clients.
Indirectly, a lot:
- They may know someone who needs your services (maybe not right now, but they’ll keep you mind later)
- Coworking is about working, of course - but conversation around the (digital) water cooler can get your creative juices flowing. Maybe your coworkers will help you think of a different solution to an issue, help you better word that important email to a warm lead, or keep you accountable and make sure you stay on track.
#13 - Write Case Studies
Don’t be intimidated by big names in your niche claiming incredible results - you’re performing miracles on a small scale too!
Write the story of one of your client cases. You can change names if you don’t want to mention them (or if the client isn’t comfortable with it). Demonstrate where the company was at when you got started, what the client hired you to do, and how things improved after they worked with you.
Back it up with screenshots, analytics, a video testimonial if you can. Let people see what you can really do for them!
Alternatively, write a case study for a company that didn’t hire you, and outline what could be done if you worked with them.
#14 - Update your Portfolio
People want to SEE what you do. If you don’t have one yet, this is the time to work on your portfolio; if you do have one… how out of date is it?
- If you offer web design or graphic design, include examples of your work.
- If you manage social media for people, offer SEO services, email marketing, etc, take screenshots of the stats.
- include examples of (types of) people you helped, maybe even names of companies you worked with. E.g. “I trained 25 virtual assistant to specialise in launch support” or “We got over 100 retail companies get compliant with health & safety regulations”.
#15 - Email Someone you Want to Work with
That one person you’ve followed for ages and who could really use your help…
That amazing company you’ve always wanted to work with…
Get out of your comfort zone, and send them an email. Make it different, make it relevant, make it stand out - so they can’t resist to email you back. Even if they don’t need you right now, you’ll be on their radar.
Don’t be discouraged if they don’t reply the first time. They may have missed the email, or thought it was spam. You can send a reminder after a while - or leave it for another time. But don’t give up on them. They still need your help!
#16 - Reach New People with Video or Podcast Interviews
Being interviewed is a great way to broaden horizons, and reach people you otherwise wouldn’t reach!
Find entrepreneurs who have a similar audience to yours, and whose audience could use some of your magic.
Tell them what topic(s) you’d like to talk about - and how it can help their audience.
If they don’t have a podcast or YouTube channel, surely they’ll want to hop on a Facebook or Instagram live call with you!
#17 - Speak at an Online Summit or Conference
Join an online summit as a speaker to reach a big audience. Don’t forget to give viewers a gift at the end of your talk; ideally, something that will prompt them to want more from you!
#18 - Have an SEO Strategy
Search engine optimisation gets hugely underestimated by small business owners.
I’m not talking about using all kinds of techniques (and spending loads of money) to get millions of visitors to your website; if you’re offering one-on-one services, you don’t need millions. You just need your ideal client to be able to find you.
- Know what questions people have about your topic - and answer those questions on your website.
- know what words people use to describe your topics, and use them consistently on your website. What you call an online service provider, someone else may call bulk email software, or email automation tools.
- learn the basics of SEO: what elements of your website to optimise to rank higher, what elements of each page should get your attention, what does google like or dislike? This ebook is the best I’ve seen so far on search engine optimisation - it’s got all the basics plus a couple of helpful images too :-) (and at the time of writing this, it’s free)
- Have a plan for optimising existing landing pages and articles…
- And have a plan for implementing keywords in new landing pages and articles.
If your services are sufficiently specific and you could reach a reasonable number of people, then you could even hire someone to optimise your content for search engines.
In collaboration with SEO expert Mellissa Wheeler, I offer a package to assess your website’s health and SEO potential. We’ll tell you whether full keyword research would be a good investment for your business; even if it isn’t, you’ll leave with a list of actions to take to make your website super attractive for search engines.
#19 - Partner with Someone to Send you Work (or Subcontract!)
if you’re a mindset coach, maybe you can partner with a business strategist to send you the people who need more than a strategy.
If you’re a web designer, maybe you can partner with business coaches.
If you’re a graphic designer, maybe you can partner with a social media specialist who doesn’t want to create all the graphics…
#20 - Tell 10 Friends what you Do (Each Week)
For many people who start an online business, it’s hard to explain to people around them (friends and family) what they do exactly.
And once time passes, people may feel they can’t ask you what you do - they’re supposed to know!
So instead of expecting them to know, or thinking they’re not interested, or believing they don’t need to know…
This week, send 10 of your contacts a message to tell them about your business.
And next week, tell 10 others.
[This works best if you recently made a change to your business - e.g. niching down, or a new website, etc]
Be specific: tell people what you do, what kind of people you work with, and what the outcome is for them. The following structure often works:
“I help [your ideal clients] achieve [outcome] with [tools you use for this]. e.g. “I help business owners launch their online course by setting up the tech for them”
If it doesn’t get you leads right away, it can down the line: now people know what it is you do exactly, they’ll think of you when they meet someone who needs you.
You can either mention your business “by the way” when telling them about life in general - or you can be honest and tell them you’ve got an opening for new clients.
#21 - Join a Networking Group
Networking might sound a bit “blah”, but if you find the right group, it can be fun!
Join a local group, or an online community set up specifically for this purpose.
#22 - Run Facebook Ads for a Specific Offer
Don’t try this at home, folks - or more specifically, don’t spend your money if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t waste your money boosting a post just because Facebook tells you it’s a good idea - of course they want your cash!
However, if you do know what you’re doing (or you know someone who knows), and you have a specific audience (it’s easier to target a specific type or persona, than to try and reach “people” with your offer), then go ahead - and promote your latest lead magnet, a webinar, or promote your services directly.
#23 - Perfect your Current Client Generation Process
If you’re already generating clients, review the process of how they found you - why they found you - and how they started working with you.
Is this something you can repeat, and (ideally) scale or optimise?
#24 - Offer Clients a Bonus for Referring You
if you’re doing your job right, your current clients love you and would want their friends to work with you as well.
of course you don’t want people to refer to you just because they’re getting a bonus for it - but offering them something can be a nice way to say thank you.
It doesn’t need to be money; you can offer them a free strategy call, or send them a gift (digital or physical).
#25 - Create a New (and Better) Lead Magnet
do you currently have something up that people can download for free, in exchange for their email address?
If so, is it attracting your ideal client (and your ideal client only)?
If so, is it something your ideal client NEEDS or WANTS (and will gladly give you their email for)?
If so, does it get your ideal client to like you and trust you - and (ideally) to take the next step with you?
If the answer is no on any of these, then you might need a better way for people to opt in to your email list.
Examples of good freebie offers:
- A “content upgrade” to one of your blog posts: at the end of the article, give people the option to download the checklist, cheat sheet, or (if it’s a long article) a PDF version of it.
- a free webinar or video workshop
- an ebook
- An email challenge (e.g. “5-day challenge to plan your launch)
- Even your price list can be a great opt-in offer.
#26 - Host a Free Webinar
free webinars can be a great way to get new leads consistently. You can host your webinar live (e.g. on Zoom), or you can work a pre-recorded video into an evergreen lead generator funnel.
if you have the technical know-how, you can host this on your website; or you can use webinar software to create a simple funnel for you.
Write recommendations on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Yelp,…
Write reviews and recommendations for people you work with: other freelancers, businesses, etc. Mention what you do and highlight your authority in passing.
#27 - Play Bingo & Get More Clients!
I’ve created bingo cards that feature 24 quick tasks each. Each assignment could take you less than 30 minutes (if you know exactly what you’re doing) - or a bit longer if it’s your first time, but it’ll be worth the experience!
You don’t have to execute them ALL, you just need to do enough to reach bingo before your friends do…
Get the bingo cards below (there’s also a simple checklist to hang to your fridge or next to your computer screen), and share them with your peers, networking group or business mastermind.
Hang it right next to your computer so every time you're working on your business, you get to check one off!
Got any more ideas to add to this list? let us know in the comments!