Remember that it’s people who give you jobs, not online brand identities, so get out there and meet with prospective clients face-to-face. Whether you love it or loathe it, the fact remains that attending networking mixers really does build stronger relationships with potential clients.
Think of networking as an opportunity to dazzle clients with your passion for what you do: your enthusiasm is likely to be much more memorable than another run-of-the-mill query email. Remember to do your homework, and research the dress code and profile the attendees before you go. Take a look on Eventbrite or MeetUp to find the next event in your industry.
3. Place attention-grabbing print adsIn the age of LinkedIn and AdWords, it’s easy to forget about traditional adverts placed in high-quality print publications. A print advert is essentially another chance to impress with your creativity, but it differs from the business card in that there’s a bit more space to work with. If you have an impressive portfolio of past work or clients, be sure to mention it here.
Remember that where you place an ad is just as important as the content of the ad itself. A well-placed ad will target the right clients, so avoid junk-filled listings magazines, and instead target publications specific to your industry. You’ll be paying to place the ad, so make sure that you research the publication first — for instance, try to find out which publications have the highest circulation numbers.
4. Sponsor a community eventIf you have a business that could lend a hand to a local charitable or cultural event, then consider offering your services for free in exchange for the promotion. For instance, if you have a graphic design company, then offer to produce the promotional material or posters for a charity fundraiser. Or, if you can afford to spend a little extra cash, consider sponsoring a local children’s football team, in exchange for having your brand name on the kit.
Charitable work is a great way to build credibility and increase awareness of your brand or service, and it will help you to build relationships in the local community too. Remember that you won’t be paid, so don’t give more of yourself than you can afford — think carefully about whether it’s likely to pay off in the long run before you commit.
5. Build a support network with other freelancersFreelancing can be a solitary business, particularly if you work from home instead of in a traditional office environment. Try reaching out to other freelancers and building a support network together. These could be freelancers within your industry, or they could work in complementary roles; for instance, if you are a web designer, it would be a good idea to make links with freelance writers who could refer your work, and vice versa.
Building links with other freelancers is also a great way to stay ahead of the game by sharing news and info, and to pass on recommendations and referrals. Plus, having a support group of people who understand freelance work can make working from home a little less lonely.
John Armstrong is Managing Director of Custom Planet, a printwear and branding specialist.
So there you have it: five offline promotional strategies which will help you to connect with new clients and find more work. Just follow these tips, and you should see a real difference.