By Sharmeen Akbani Gangat
Are you looking to land new freelance clients?
I was, too. A year ago, I moved to Houston from New York City because of my husband’s job. I decided to take my business online. And I thought it would be really hard.
But I was wrong.
Yes, the online world is more crowded than Times Squares on New Year’s Eve. Everybody is a marketer, an entrepreneur, a blogger. And a millionaire!
It was intimidating, but I realized there was a method to this madness.
The bigger players know their X-factor — and they make it relevant for their audiences. Clients come as a result of it.
So, if I were to succeed, I couldn’t just be a marketer or a writer. I had to be something more, something different — without being someone else.
Create custom X-factors
First, I figured out what was salable about me and my work. Then, I married it with what my prospects were looking for.
I highlight different aspects of my education and experience for each of my prospect groups.
For instance, for freelancers, I stress the fact that I have never worked a 9-5 job, yet I consistently land high-paying clients. This instantly creates a bond.
I create a bond with my arty clients when they learn I am also a certified filmmaker and a trained short-story writer.
I customize my positioning every time I send out a pitch or meet people professionally. Especially in networking settings.
Connect with prospects
As for reaching out to prospects, I go with what has worked for me in the past: cold calls and emails.
From the cold call to Enrique Yeves (Chief of TV Production at the United Nations in New York) to my cold email to radio legend Edie Hilliard, I owe a big chunk of my business success to cold calls and emails. I use these communication channels to share my X-factor with my prospects.
I’ve also thrown something new into the mix: social media. Although I enjoy the social media space, I don’t like to use the medium to broadcast information.
That feels empty … and vain.
Instead, I use it to support my cold email strategy: to find prospects.
Productive social media time
I spend 10 minutes every morning finding prospects on Twitter and LinkedIn and scheduling conversations and meetings with them in real life.
In a week, I schedule 3-5 meetings and conversations. This results in a constant surge of new clients.
Well…if you notice, I don’t sweat over whether to use social media or email. Or whatever the new “in” thing is. No successful Internet marketer does. These marketing methods are simply tools for communication.
The thing that matters is the ability to understand and articulate the “difference” our business offers, confidently and clearly.
How do you find new clients? Tell us what’s working in the comments.
Sharmeen Akbani Gangat is the CEO of The Glocul Group. A Columbia graduate and filmmaker, Sharmeen has taught marketing at New York University and Hunter College.