Congratulations you’ve set up your digital marketing business. Now you just need some clients!
There are a few ways you can get clients as you begin your business. You can try online job sites, listing yourself on work directories, cold pitching, or warm pitching through networking.
However, if you find them you need to make sure the client is a good fit before you commit.
Here are five key questions to ask a potential client
What are the goals of the project?
For example, do they want to increase website traffic or sign-ups to a course, or build awareness? Put together with other information this helps you work out if the project is realistic and what the best strategy is.
What is the scope of the project?
It’s important to define the scope of the project early on. If you go ahead, then you and the client should agree on this in writing to help prevent scope creep. The scope could include things like:
What is the timeframe for the project – is it a fixed term or ongoing?
How widely the marketing will need to be done – is it just blog posts and one social media channel or does it encompass several social media platforms, content writing and videos?
What is the starting point – does the client already have a following or are you starting totally from scratch? You should ensure that the goals are realistic compared to the starting point.
What’s the client’s budget?
It can feel a bit awkward talking about money early on, but you need to know whether the budget is realistic for what you want to charge for the amount of work. Many clients will say they don’t know their budget. This can make it hard, especially when you know you are competing against other people for the work, so try and at least get a ballpark figure.
How involved does the client want to be, how responsive can they be and what’s their preferred communication style?
Some clients want to be very hands-on. If that’s the case you need to ensure they are committed to be responsive and timely. Some clients want to leave their marketer to it. In that case, you want to be clear on what sort of things you can and cannot post and get blanket approval in advance.
What if a client isn’t right? Some potential red flags
Not every client is going to be a good one. Sometimes, red flags show up during your initial scoping conversations. In that case, you can decide whether or not to proceed. Sometimes you won’t realise there’s an issue until you are already working with the client. In that case, you need to decide whether it’s worth continuing and what penalties you might suffer if you pull out.
Five client red flags
They have no clear idea of what they want
Some clients just don’t know what they want. Or they do but it is in the vaguest of terms. In some ways, your job as their digital marketer is to guide them and to help develop the right strategy. But clients who have no idea what they want – especially if they aren’t even clear on the goals they are trying to achieve, can just be too hard to work with.
They keep changing their minds about what the project involves
Equally as annoying as clients who don’t know what they want, are clients who keep changing their minds about things. There’s nothing more frustrating than doing all the work towards a project goal, just for the client to throw it out for a new goal, or to realise that the scope of the project is slowly growing and growing even though the budget isn’t.
They expect you to be available at all times
One of the joys of running your own business or working as a contractor is being able to set your own hours. So if you have a client who wants you to be available at all hours, that’s not going to work. A client who doesn’t respect your working hours and the boundaries between work and personal time is a red flag.
You can never pin them down to answer questions
The opposite to clients who are trying to get hold of you at all times of day are clients who are super-tricky to pin down. For some projects, for example, if you have the scope and then you won’t need to discuss anything for some time this might not be an issue. But if you need to ask the client regular questions, or get regular approval for things like social media content, then a client you just can’t pin down quickly gets frustrating.
They want you to work for free or do a free sample before you start
This last red flag always sparks a lot of debate among freelancers. In general, a responsible client will be willing to pay you including paying for any upfront work samples before they sign a contract. Some freelancers will refuse point blank to work for free. But what if you are just starting out? Then unpaid work might be something you’d consider to build a portfolio. Volunteering for a charity or not-for-profit is also a great of building skills and doing some good at the same time.
Our digital marketing courses give you all the skills you need
If you are keen to launch a digital marketing business, then our Digital Marketing Diploma teaches you all the technical skills you need to build a business that gets results for your clients.