Once you’ve decided to become a digital marketer, the next big step is finding business. How do you find customers, digital marketing clients, and people who want to pay for your skills and services? How do you sell yourself as the go-to digital marketer and start making money? Where do you even start when it comes to building up your clientele?
Here are some suggestions on how to land those all-important first clients:
1. Talk to family and friends
Many people use local contacts – family, friends, local businesses or organisations – to get their first digital marketing clients. This is a great way to get those first clients. Because you already know the people and have a good relationship with them. Thus making it easier to approach them about potential work.
The downside to this approach is that working with family and friends isn’t always easy. Particularly if you are pointing out flaws with their current marketing strategy. Or issues arise during the project.
You might also find yourself working for a reduced rate or even for free because it is a friend. There is nothing necessarily wrong with working for free. Especially at the beginning of your career. Even more so if you will benefit from it in terms of experience and something to add to your CV or portfolio. Then do so but be wary and make sure you can absorb the costs.
2. Cold Pitching
Another good place to look for digital marketing clients is through researching and cold pitching. This involves sending out queries to businesses or organisations that you think might need your skills. And proposing your offers and services to them.
Pitching is a good way of reaching more customers, but it does take confidence. You need to be ready to be rejected. Many of the people, you are pitching may not need or want your services at the time.
No doesn’t mean never, it just means not right now. So keep that in mind for later down the track.
On the other hand, cold pitching can also be time-consuming. As you need to create the perfect pitch to start with. Then tailor it to meet the specific needs of the businesses you choose to send it to.
Networking falls somewhere between working with friends and cold pitching. For instance, you aren’t working with people you know. But because you meet them regularly through networking, you will have a closer relationship with them. In comparison to if you had just pitched them with no prior communication.
The best way to network in person is to seek out a local business group. The Chamber of Commerce or BNI are good options or look for a particular interest group like women in business. You can also look for one-off events in your area, such as business breakfasts.
Post-Covid and, with a more hybrid working environment, there are plenty of online networking opportunities, too. These can often be found on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Where they allow you to meet people from across New Zealand and even overseas.
4. Online Marketplaces and Directories
It can be easier to find work in online marketplaces than cold pitching because the jobs are already there. You just have to look for them and apply. However, there is usually plenty of competition for these jobs. Many such as Upwork and Fiverr are open to international applicants. Therefore, you may also find yourself competing with people who can offer much lower prices.
Directories allow you to show off your skills and experience in an online profile. Furthermore, potential clients can then contact you directly or post jobs for you to apply for. Directories are usually more select in the people they accept. This means the quality of the jobs and clients is better, but you may be competing with more experienced freelancers.
How to make sure you are ready to take on new clients
Now you know where to look for your first-ever digital marketing clients, make sure you are ready before you start.
A few things to prepare ahead of finding your first clients:
Make sure your CV is up to date. If you have any previous work to show, put together a portfolio either online or on paper. Additionally, you may choose to create a website for your business. Or develop social media profiles on places like LinkedIn to show your credentials. Furthermore, using a blog or social media posts can help to boost your credibility. In addition to showcasing your digital marketing knowledge and projects.
Lastly, it also helps to have all your admin sorted. For example, make sure you have settled on your pricing structure. Including your work and invoicing processes. That way, when you land your first clients, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
Filling in your digital marketing skill gaps
As you start working with clients you may come across some requests you aren’t equipped to handle. So, if you want to upskill further to widen your skillset, or give yourself a qualification to back your business with. Then you can find a range of courses at NZIE. From social media marketing strategy and SEO strategy to a full Digital Marketing Diploma. Our industry experts who teach the courses bring a wealth of knowledge and freelance experience. Making sure you graduate with practical skills you can implement straight away into your business and clients.