6 Ways to Attract Local Clients for Your New Freelance Business


We spend much of our time marketing online, attempting to reach a broader audience on social media or our website. While digital marketing is important in today’s online world, you could be missing opportunities to grow your new freelance business with local clients.

Use these ideas to connect with potential customers that are hiding right in your own backyard.

Don’t Neglect Tried and True Methods

You’ve no doubt aready learned that there’s no point in trying to reinvent all the parts to your business. Email, and especially cold email, has been around since the advent of the internet. Cold email has gotten a bad rap, sometimes being lumped in with spam. But a well-designed cold email campaign can produce great results. Here’s some tips from Entrepreneur:

  • Plan it right
  • Be specific in your subject line
  • Don’t drag it out
  • Make it personal
  • End with a call to action

 Be the Source for Local News Stories

 One way to get in front of local customers is to share your experience for local news stories. If you don’t have any current connections with journalists or writers, start with your immediate network. Perhaps someone that you know does have a connection and can provide you with a warm intro. To find out, simply check LinkedIn.

  • Search for the publication’s employees
  • Look for “shared connections”
  • Reach out to those connections and ask for an intro

Conversely, you can do outreach to local journalists yourself via LinkedIn or using their work email listed on the publication’s website. Check out this guide from Janet Murray on how to be successful with cold outreach like this.

 Distribute Flyers

 Reach your target clients while they’re out and about by hanging flyers around town. This is a simple way to get your product or new freelance business in front of potential customers for a low cost—simply design and print at home and spend one afternoon distributing.

To make sure your potential clients both see and act on your flyer, you need to plan and design effectively. The guide How to Make a Great Flyer: A Complete Guide for Beginners, explains: “We can divide the process of creating a flyer in 4 easy steps: Planning, Designing, Printing and Distributing.” Use the following questions to get your flyer right:

  • Planning: Who is your target audience? What is your call to action? How will they complete that action—calling, email or something else?
  • Designing: What design elements and style will catch your target audience’s eye? How can you work your branding into your design? In terms of size, remember this tip from Allan Peters, CCO at Peters Design Co., “A wise man once told me that a good poster should be just as impactful at 50 feet as it is at 5 feet—and at 5 inches.”
  • Printing: Does the print quality reflect the quality you provide as a freelance business owner? If you’ll be printing at home, keep this in mind. Your poster may be the first impression someone has of your brand, so it should look professional.
  • Distributing: Where does your audience spend a lot of time? Which highly-trafficked areas will allow you to get in front of them and catch their attention? Think: libraries, coffee shops, related businesses and stores, grocery stores, train stops, etc.

Host Workshops

Show potential customers exactly what you have to offer without ever pitching them. Instead, host a workshop. For example, as a freelance branding writer, you could host a workshop for local businesses about a specific element of what you do, I.E. How to Develop Brand Messaging That Has an Impact.

To host a workshop, you just need to find a place to do it and then market it to your audience. When I hosted workshops in San Diego, I was able to use local co-working space. They allowed me to use conference rooms because they knew they’d be getting free marketing from me—as I promoted the event and invited people into their space.

To do the same, email the co-working space and pitch your workshop. A simple email explaining what you want to do is a great place to start. Once the date and time is set, you can promote on your social media networks, within your  professional network and on sites like Eventbrite and MeetUp. I used all four promotion tactics and often had great success driving a crowd.

 Go to Networking Events

 Networking events are one of the best ways to attract local clients because the focus is less on selling and more on building relationships. I recently wrote about my experience with networking as a brand new business owner because I found it to be a successful tool. The power of networking is two-fold: you’re able to make great local connections that either become clients or share helpful insights that help you reach more clients.

Ask fellow freelancers which networking events they would recommend, or simply search online. MeetUp is one of the most helpful tools for finding these events, along with a simple Google search, like “networking events [insert city].”

Work at a Coworking Space

Build networking into your everyday life by renting a desk at a coworking space. If you like working with others, you can rent on a monthly basis. If not, most spaces have “hot desk” rentals, which means you pay less to have a desk between certain hours of the day.

Not only does this put you into contact with business owners and other freelancers who may need your services, but it also gives you access to regular events, like the annual holiday party. This makes it easy to connect with potential local clients without having to seek out networking events yourself. What’s more, the co-working space serves as a topic you can connect on right away.

Attract Local Clients To Your New Freelance Business

Regardless of your time or budget, you can use these simple ideas to reach local clients. Find the method that works best for your business and start working toward connecting with potential clients right within your own neighborhood.

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.

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