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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

8 Best Outreach Methods for Freelancers to Get More Clients


In 2024, there are various ways to get new clients with the advent of social media and AI technology tools. Depending on your discipline, some outreach methods will work better than others.

As a freelance writer with over five years of experience, I’ve explored a range of outreach methods and am always open to learning more as more options arise. In this piece, I will share several outreach methods that I have tried out and assess why they are ideal for freelancers in particular.

What is outreaching for freelancers?

As freelancers, we are responsible for ensuring we receive steady enough income to live on. This often means that, in addition to producing work for clients, outreaching is also part of our job as solopreneurs.

Like any business, outreach is part of marketing and contributes to client acquisition. It’s important to regularly practise outreaching as a freelancer so that when you are in a position where you lose retainer clients, you don’t have to start from ground zero.

But it will be easy for you to pick up or follow up with clients you have reached out to and have several warm leads. Whilst freelancers often have creative passions, it’s still important to understand sales tactics and outreaching regularly – in the right way is a good way to do this.

1. Cold Email Outreach

Email is, of course, one of the most traditional methods for outreaching. And it’s still effective today – albeit with more competition. The increased competition in this area, however, simply means we are to be more innovative with how we do it.

So, in your intro email, try to be personalised – insert an image or comment that could not be replicated if you were to outreach to another business.

This will help your email stand out to your prospect and reduce the idea that you are sending out batch outreach emails to many people. That is a sure way to put off a prospect. Furthermore, batching sending out emails allows for mistakes such as names and just unoriginal pitching. First impressions count, so you want to make the right impression in cold emails.

2. Instagram Outreach

Many creatives are on Instagram, a hot spot for online businesses. So, if you are looking for businesses that have online businesses exclusively, Instagram may be a good bet to try. But how do you outreach on Instagram? Well, there are various ways you can do this, but DM is the main way you will get to converse with the prospect client.

However, before you DM, you can draw their attention to yourself in a few ways outside the DM. For example, liking a few of their images or commenting on posts to engage them and have them take note of your account can help with this.

That way, when you do eventually DM them, they are more likely to recognise your icon and account. When you DM a prospect, try to make it as personalised as possible. So compliment their business in some way, whether it’s a recent post or service they offer.

Instagram outreach works best when you have shorter messages rather than longer blocks of texts. So you could just send a message complimenting them, as a way to bait them in. Wait for their response and then ask them if they are looking for help with a service you are offering.

3. LinkedIn Outreach

Traditionally, LinkedIn has been used as a tool for those in the corporate world, and less so for creatives or freelancers.

However, recent years have increasingly seen more creatives grace the platforms, which is shifting the type of content you can share on Instagram and, therefore, the type of prospects you can approach on LinkedIn.

The good thing about LinkedIn is that it is an exclusively work-focused platform; the people there tend to be more serious about their work, which doesn’t always happen on other more social platforms, such as Instagram. LinkedIn offers various tools to help with outreaching.

The beginner way to outreach on the platform is to add a connection and then, once they accept, message them thanking them for accepting and organically create a conversation that leads you to pitch to them.

However, if you want to level up your outreaching on Linkedin and stand out from the crowd, the platform also offers a premium membership option. This allows you to message people before they accept your connection request.

In a time when people receive many connection requests, this is a sure way to stand out.

4. Reapproaching previous clients/ warm leads

Many freelancers leverage contacts they already have when looking for work, which can be very effective. Because the people you are approaching already know you and your work, there is less convincing you have to do to take on a project from them.

You already have a rapport established for this. Whether skimming through your WhatsApp contact list or revisiting emails for previous clients, this is a regular outreach method that freelancers often circle back to in a time of reduced workload.

5. Finding Prospects through Google

Whilst you may have some dream clients in mind that you already know you want to work with, the reality is in the majority of cases, in the long term, as a freelancer, you will have to do some digging to discover businesses to work with.

Google search is a great way to do this. Use keyword terms related to the type of businesses you are looking for. For example, “Femtech businesses”. You’re likely to either come across articles that feature a list of businesses in your desired niche or links directly to websites of these types of businesses.

6. Newsletter Job List Prospecting

There’s a rise in freelancer gig newsletters that post job offerings for freelancers weekly. These newsletters help reduce the amount of time you spend reaching out to people, as opportunities are delivered straight to your inbox.

Then, all you have to do is either apply via the job link shared or reach out to the person who has posted the job opportunity.

7. X (Twitter) Outreach

X, is probably the leading social media platform for discourse. As someone who has worked as a freelance journalist, I know that this is often a go-to platform for journalism opportunities. Editors of publications often share pitch opportunities for articles. They also sometimes share their email addresses or open their DMs to discuss freelance gigs further.

However, I have also seen people in other creative disciplines share opportunities on this app, too. So whether or not you’re a journalist, Twitter could be used as a research tool to gather contact details for potential clients and reach out to them that way.

Twitter is a good way to get more of an understanding of the mind behind the client you’re approaching, as people often share their thoughts on trending topics through tweets. It also serves as a good opportunity when you reach out to them, reference one of their recent tweets and potentially give your thoughts on the tweet too.

8. Creating Your Own Email List

Building an email list is a great way to nurture leads over time and organically convert them into clients.

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If you send out a regular newsletter to potential clients, dishing out valuable insight for their business, you are more likely to stay at the top of their minds when they need the services you offer. Email marketing is a great way to develop the know, like, trust factor, therefore being an effective form of gaining clients – although it’s not an explicit outreach method initially.

Overall outreach mindset

With every method you use to reach out as a freelancer, you should tailor it to be as personal as possible so you stand out from the crowd. Try not to make the outreach all about you but more about the prospect and how you can potentially add value to them and their business. Also, try to take advantage of AI tools like Grammarly and Chat GPT, for ideas on structuring your outreach copy. Tools like Grammarly help to ensure you are grammar-free, whilst ChatGPT can help with idea generation when given the right prompts to help you structure your copy well.

Whether doing warm or cold outreach, when done correctly, you will start to see the rewards, and consequently, opportunities will follow.

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