As a freelance web designer the most difficult and scariest part of the job is generating leads. Unfortunately for beginners this is where most of your time is spent rather than designing and coding. You have to let people know that you are open for shop, and the hardest part about the business is getting your word out. This can be especially difficult if you have no money or are starting from scratch and don’t have the pockets to pay for advertising or SEO. In this write-up I’m going to go over a few techniques that have helped me out and have allowed for me to gain clients without any money upfront and having just a computer and an internet connection.
Step One Decide What You’re Good At
As a designer, coder, marketer, data entry specialist, etc., you must first decide what you are going to focus on and what your strong points are. I personally realized that designing websites was my stronghold and I was going to take that talent and run with it. You don’t always want to be a jack-of-all-trades because that can get you in trouble with clients. If a client asks for a specific task to be done and they are paying for it, they want you to be specialized in that field and not a fly by night kind of guy. Decide what your strong hold is and develop your skills in that area so you can start charging higher prices for a superior service or product.
Step Two Create an Advertisement
After you have decided what field you’re good at then you want to start building your presence and advertising your services. With little to no money, but assuming you have the computer resources, you can take your graphic skills and come up with a nice banner or even just a text write up. I chose to go with a nice graphic with stand out colors and badges to give my advertisement a great look and to make sure the customer would remember me. Personally, I like something simple, to the point, and laid out where it’s easy for the customer to read and decipher if this is the right service or company they are looking for. Throw in some keywords in the description and make it easier for customers to find you.
Step Three Post the Advertisement
This was actually the pivotal point in my freelance beginnings believe it or not. This can either be the most important part of the process or the least important, you have to decide that for yourself. For me it was the most important and I’m going to tell you why in hopes you can take this advice and build upon it. So, once you have your talent ready, your advertisement ready, and you’re ready to get the word out to the masses about your services this becomes the last step in the process.
You must take your advertisement and target it to cities that are most likely to want your service or product. In this case our service is Freelance web design, so lets do a quick run through of Craigslist to determine which cities we want to market to. In my trials and tribulations I stumbled upon a site called Search Tempest (http://www.searchtempest.com) which allowed me to filter through Craigslist ads by the type of gig I wanted, the city I wanted, and how recent the post was. I would search the most recent gigs for Computer and see which cities were garnering the most results for me based on how I filtered the search.
I would take my advertisement that I made and post it on these cities and wait for responses. At first I was only posting locally and only had maybe one or two responses in a two week period, which someone really can’t live off of to be honest. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same results so I decided to branch out and post in at least one or two cities per day. Don’t post too many ads, and try to change up the subject line and wording so that you don’t get flagged for spam. Another quick tip is that after a few days Craigslist allows you to renew your ad so that it goes back to the beginning of the search when people click on the type of service they are looking for. This can come in handy when you have a bunch of ads up and want to renew them all at the same time. But, once I started getting the advertisements out and renewing them on schedule I was getting bombarded with leads and almost had too much work to do at one time. So slow and steady is the key in this race, and I hope this gave you a little better insight into gaining leads for freelance work on Craigslist.
If you are interested in more tips and consulting or even need web design services you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website for a quote at http://www.mentionwebdev.com
We are a Charlotte based web design company.