When you work for someone else, it’s easy to find new clients because they are directly assigned to you by your boss. You don’t need to worry about marketing to them or making sure you line up new clients now in order to pay your bills next month.

But when you’re an online business owner or service provider, you’re all you’ve got. You are the one who has to work on finding new clients regularly to keep your business afloat. As a business owner, you should always be on the lookout for new clients so that your business not only stays afloat but continues to thrive and grow as well.

While some online business owners think that finding new clients is complicated, it’s actually not. But it does take a bit of planning, consistency, and effort. You can’t just create a page and expect new clients to find you. Read on for tips you can use right now in the 4 major networking spaces online.

Word of Mouth

When you are good at what you do, word will get around. When your client is happy with the work you’ve done for her, she’ll tell others. You can easily provide excellent service to your clients by knowing what their needs are and looking out for them.

When you find something that might be valuable to them, such as a tip they can use or a networking event they can attend, let them know. Going the extra mile will make you stand out in the client’s mind, and they won’t forget it.

If you’re doing freelance work like copywriting or graphic design, throw in some freebies from time to time that the client wasn’t expecting. This will really impress them, and they will tell others about you (unless they are the types who want to keep you all to themselves!).

Don’t be afraid to ask your clients to pass on your name if they knows others who may need your services. Give out virtual business cards, or create customized landing pages on your website for each client and ask them to share the information with their online business friends.

Satisfied clients are usually more than happy to do this for you. Don’t treat your client like any old client, build a relationship with them! All of my long-term clients are people that I’ve built relationships with that are more than just about work. Building relationships offers a little something extra they don’t usually get with the people they work with.

But don’t forget that you still have to market yourself. You can do this through advertising your products and services wherever your prospective clients are, such as Facebook groups and other online forums, community mixers, and other networking events.

You can even encourage referrals from your existing clients by offering a bonus or discount for every person they successfully refer to you. Many larger businesses apply this method by giving out coupons to current clients to pass on to referrals.

These coupons have the current client’s name on them, so you know who to thank and give the bonus to. This is very similar to the landing page method I mentioned earlier if you want to have an online way of creating this. Word-of-mouth referrals also involve making connections in person to people you meet.

Make sure you take part in any networking events offered in your niche. Go to speaking events, trade shows, join your Chamber of Commerce, and actively participate in local community events.

Don’t forget to ask your current clients to write a testimonial or give feedback that you can use to show prospective clients how others have loved your services. These comments can be utilized in a variety of offline promotional tools such as brochures, or online by placing them on your testimonials page.

Facebook Groups

Since you have to find new clients anyway, a great place to find them is in Facebook groups. Join Facebook groups that people in your target market are joining and listen to their frustrations and what they need help with. When you’re able to help, reach out to them without pitching your services. Once they are interested, you can tell them your terms in a private message or via email.

I’ve found dozens of clients this way, and there is no shortage of online business owners looking for help in all different areas of their business.

Linked In

Do not overlook this valuable resource when it comes to finding new potential clients! Linked In is an extensive professional network that is underutilized as a great place to promote your services and find new clients.

Set up your account and add a professional looking photo, then list the services you provide, the products that you sell, and even the packages that you offer. Keep this updated when you update your website. Doing this will help people find you when they are looking for someone specific to hire.

Make sure you get super detailed with your offerings here in order to make it really easy for new clients to find you and connect with you.

Any clients that you’ve worked with in the past can endorse you on Linked In, which will help you to build trust with potential new clients. Under “background experience” you can create a list of the skills that you possess. People in your network can also endorse you for these skills which will help with your social proof. The more endorsements you have, they better you look.

If you want to use Linked In to find new clients, you’ll need to become active on the network. I know it’s not nearly as fun as Facebook, but if you can create a daily or weekly system for it, it will get a little more exciting. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to give and not just take. Just like in Facebook groups, you want to be active and helpful, not just there to find and use people.

Join a group or two, introduce yourself in a professional way, answer questions that you have answers to, encourage people, and look for businesses that hire people like you. You can do this by looking up the profiles of your competitors and viewing the businesses they have worked with or are connected to. Send them a letter of introduction through Linked In, or better yet, a handwritten note if they have a mailing address listed (this is a sure-fire way to stand out in crowded industries!)

Also, don’t forget to do a quick Google search for specialty forums that you can join. If you’re a health coach, you’ll want to search for “health coach + forum.” Joining these forums will help you with networking and finding clients.

Using Your Business Website to Find New Clients

If you’re an online business owner, you need to have a website, and that website needs to have a blog. Your website acts as a letter of introduction to new potential clients who found you online.

Every single day, people go on the Internet and type in the name of the service they’re searching for, and I know for a fact that you want your site to be near the top when they search for whatever it is you are offering.

You also want to add any testimonials you’ve gathered from your happy clients. If you offer a service that has deliverables that you create (web designers, writers, artists, etc.), then you should show samples of your work on a portfolio page. If you’re just starting out, you can create samples and put those on your portfolio page, or reach out to people and offer your services for free or a steep discount.

Guest blogging is another great way to network with others in your niche and a great way to get in front of people who may need your service. Just be careful not to guest blog (or host a guest blogger) in your immediate niche. This means if you’re a designer, partner with a copywriter or developer to guest blog with, not another designer.

Teach your clients and blog readers to use your website as their go-to resource for finding everything they need to know about what you do. You can also look for podcasts and other websites to be interviewed on. The owners of them love hosting other entrepreneurs in the industry to talk about what is important to them.

Finding great clients is a matter of showcasing your expertise, being an example of the type of person your target markets want to hire, not being afraid to network with others, and putting yourself out there as a valuable resource.

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The 3 Key Systems That Help Your Business Thrive