Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Staying in Front of Clients

I read somewhere that it takes about seven impressions for someone to make a decision to hire you. That's seven times you have to show up in front of them, whether it's in person, online or through the mail. Of course, it's easier to get business from people who have worked with you before than with new clients--but even then, if you don't stay in front of people who hired you once or twice, they could forget you exist.

Staying in front of clients doesn't take a huge time commitment. Here are a few things I do.

Start an E-zine. I have an e-zine on my freelance writing website that offers web copywriting and business writing tips. I usually send informational articles rather than offers, and my hope is it will do two things: Showcase my skills and keep me in front of clients. Regularly showing your expertise in this way will help prospective clients get to know your approach and trust your skills--before they hire you.

Send out cards. I'm planning to get more regular about sending cards to prospects and clients. I'd like to have the discipline to send out a card mailing every three months or so--or at least on Christmas. It takes a long time for me to order postcards, print out addresses and send out a postcard campaign, however, and often I forget about it. But lately I've been looking into a company called Send Out Cards, which prints the postcard you choose and mails it for you--all you have to do is set up some campaigns with addresses and send dates. Theoretically, you could set your entire card campaign for the year on autopilot. I haven't signed up yet, but I love the idea.

Send the occasional email. Every so often I send a random email to people I've worked with in the past, just checking in to see how things are doing. Often I get a note back something along the lines of, "was just thinking about getting in touch--I have a new project in the works." It's always great to hear that, and I've landed thousands in extra work just from this simple step.

Send an offer. Every so often I'll also send previous clients an email offer--something like 10% off their first order for the month--to drum up business. It works more often than not, even if it's just a couple of small projects.

What do you do to stay in front of your clients?