As a freelancer, one of the most powerful ways you can keep work coming in is from a basic keep in touch strategy.
This simple yet effective tactic is so often overlooked. I guess because new clients and leads are a lot shinier. More exciting. Undiscovered.
But I’m more interested in paying gigs. So I stay in touch with existing warm leads and previous clients.
Around the Internet I see a lot of freelancers giving advice for pitching new outlets.
And that’s a good thing!
However, exploring new leads should be balanced with other marketing tactics.
Use these simple, powerful tactics to keep in touch with clients
Staying in touch with people doesn’t get a lot of air time. Probably because it’s not sexy. In fact, it may even be boring!
- Keeping in touch with clients involves following them on social media and engaging with their posts
- It means sending emails when you see something interesting they might like
- And it means checking in from time-to-time to see how they’re doing, or if they could use your help
Simple. Maybe a bit boring. But effective.
Takeaway: While new leads are exciting, you’re running a business. It’s easier to maintain existing relationship than begin new ones.
It can seem overwhelming to come up with creative (and authentic) ways to stay in touch with people. I can help!
I’ve created a free worksheet outlining a little exercise I picked up over the years. Since making it work for me I have never sat down wondering what to write.
This is available as a PDF download in my Resource Library. Just fill in the form below and I’ll send you the password! Then once you’re in, navigate to the writing section and look for “How to Brainstorm Ideas for Writing.”
The KEEP IN TOUCH STRATEGY.
I learned about this strategy when I read Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling.
He suggests creating an automated strategy using customer relationship management (CRM) software.
While that’s something you can build up to, there’s lots you can do before investing in a CRM.
How to use this effective strategy with warm leads
In most cases, potential clients need to know, like and trust you before they’ll hire you//work with you.
In a virtual world, how do you make this happen?
My advice: You need a strategy for converting warm leads into clients.
If you can stay in touch in a consistent, helpful, positive way, people who visit your website or connect with you on social will get to know you and will develop trust in you and your brand.
Your task: Find ways to make people feel special, noticed and important.
Here are some suggestions.
Ideas for executing a “keep in touch strategy” as a freelancer
Follow your clients and prospects on social media
Social media is such a powerful networking tool. This is a great way to get to know people better, and interact with them in a casual way.
I’ve noticed I hear from people quickly on Twitter or Instagram, while getting an email back usually takes…longer. It’s just how things go!
Social media seems quick. Email seems laborious.
Extra credit: Social media is a great way to warm up new prospects. If you can find a way to be your beautiful self online (with a good mix of authentic self-promotion so people can see the great work you do) this will allow people to get to know you, like you and trust you without you having to do anything different.
Pay attention to life events and mention them
If you’re connected on social media (especially LinkedIn) this is a bit easier. Watch for announcements of birthdays, anniversaries, job changes, etc.
And when you notice? Comment on it. Say, “Congrats!” Or more! Pay attention and communicate on a friendly, human level.
This doesn’t have to be complicated so don’t overthink it. A quick “all the best, thinking of you” is enough.
Bonus tip: Set up Google Alerts for people you want to stay in touch with, then messaging whenever something interesting comes up. This is especially awesome when you notice they’ve been featured in an article or have won an award!
Email them an interesting article
I mentioned this earlier and it’s a solid strategy! You’re reading articles anyway, right? For research, and because you love information.
If you see something you think will be interesting to a client or lead, pass it along!
All it takes is a quick email or DM: Hey, did you see this article? I thought of you when I read it.
Take it to the next level: I also use this as a networking tactic. When I see a job opportunity I think a fellow freelancer would love or is perfect for, I send it along.
Of course this only make sense if you view other freelance writers as colleagues and not competition. Colleagues is way better.
One caveat: When you send people articles or leads make sure you’re not doing it so they give you work in return. Keep it at a genuine, hey I thought you’d like this, level.
Send a note when your details change
Even if you’re not currently working with a client, letting them know thinkgs like your email address or phone number has changed is a nice excuse to reach out and make a connection.
And sending a personal note rather than making a public Facebook post about it is just better.
Do you have the capacity to take on work? Mention it
This works really well when you have an existing relationship with someone, but you haven’t worked together for a while.
Reach out with something simple like, “Hello! I hope you’re well, just wanted to let you know I’m in a position to take on new assignments so let me know if you’re looking for any content to be written.”
Another way you could phrase this is if you’ve added a new service to your freelancer product line. “Hi! I wanted to let you know I’m now offering social media management in addition to my other regular services. Let me know if you have a need in this area!”
Meet in person
Yeah this is a bit harder these days, and lots of people work with clients who aren’t nearby but meeting in person can make a huge difference in your client retention!
And yes, you can talk business or whatever but also talk on a personal level. Be a human. Be professional, yes, but also be fun.
This may seem obvious but it’s something i have to remind myself of all the time. So. Let your hair down a bit. Not too much. A bit. Build a real relationship.
And if you can’t meet in person-in person, meet in virual person.
Here are a few ways I’m staying in touch with prospects, leads, clients, etc. in this pandemic time.
These work for me and my personality so don’t follow my playbook, just use these as inspiration for finding your own tactics.
- Notice a cool person asking on Instagram if anyone wants to join a co-working group? JOIN THE GROUP
- See a call to join a book club from someone you admire? SIGN UP FOR BOOK CLUB
- See someone you would like to work with putting out a call for penpals on Twitter? BECOME A PENPAL
- Reach out to local friends/colleagues/clients to check in and see how they’re coping. When appropriate, suggest meeting up for outdoor patio catchups
Of course, some keep in touch strategies take more energy and effort than others, so it’s important to balance these tactics and keep them balanced with your other marketing.
I dare you to make staying in touch a part of your day-to-day freelancing.
Try it for a few months and if it doesn’t make a remarkable difference, then I give you permission to quit.
But I think it’s going to work.
Other articles you may enjoy
- Five Step Social Media Strategy for Writers
- Networking Tips for Introverted Writers
- Networking for Freelancers
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