Jul 7, 2024
growth marketing

Fastest ways for creatives to get new clients

Fastest ways for creatives to get new clients

Fastest ways for creatives to get new clients

Lex Roman

Growth marketing creator

So you need clients NOW, it must be time to meet some new people, right?

Wrong!

Your fastest paths to finding and booking new clients will come from within your existing network. Creatives often conflate the role of content marketing with the practice of lead generation. Content marketing is valuable and it has its place in your business growth model, but it gets overemphasized these days, often leaving creatives wondering why posting every day on Instagram isn't bringing in new leads.

Walk with me down lead generation lane, my friend!

Pictured above is your growth model showing how you get clients in a simple framework. Read more below about what it all means!

Our first stop is your existing clients.

If you have ever booked a client, staying in touch regularly with them and continuing to build those relationships is going to be your best return for time spent.

Clients can come back for new projects, they can amplify you publicly and they can refer you privately.

I call this amplification. It doesn't have to only come from clients, but for now, consider how much of this you're tapping into.

  • Have you stayed in touch with clients regularly?

  • Have you created an upsell or additional offer that makes sense for clients to return?

  • Have you asked for or encouraged referrals?

Now you might think "if clients had a good experience, they'll refer me without me asking." Sure, some of them might. Others may forget about you, be unsure of who to send your way or not think about forwarding your emails or boosting your social posts without you asking. (You're not going to ask every time but if you're doing something cool, reach out to them and let them know how they can share!)

There's honestly A TON you can do in this part of your marketing. Examples include:

  • Offering quarterly client events online or in person

  • Running a client only newsletter that serves as "stay in touch" and "let's work together again"

  • Inviting clients onto your podcast or livestream to talk about their experience working with you

Amplification is your first stop for driving repeat and referral business

Next up is banked trust

Let's say you're doing all you can to get amplification rocking and rolling. Clients are coming back, referrals are coming in and you're wondering what now? Is it time for social media?

Not yet, baby!

Now, we're going to move backwards through your growth model.

The people that are most likely to become clients now are people with whom you have banked trust.

Banked trust means you've already built a relationship with someone. You've usually talked with this person a few times, they like you, you like them, maybe you worked together in a different context. You just might not think of them as a source for work.

Honestly, there's HUNDREDS of people in this stage and often you just don't see them as relevant for your business yet.

People you've banked trust with could include:

  • Past prospects

  • Past colleagues from jobs

  • Collaborators and partners

  • College and grad school classmates

  • People you hang with socially

  • People you're in communities with

There's gold in these connections, either directly as clients or as a referral pathway to clients. Turn them into amplifiers!

As my fellow growth marketer Dana Publicover says "book your calendar" which means, it's time to get back in touch with people who might know your buyers or even might be a buyer.

Don't go into these calls with a huge agenda and don't go in with a sales pitch yet.

What you're sussing out is whether or not they're interested in having more of a business relationship with you. Are they shopping for what you do? Are they a likely referrer? Would they want to amplify your stuff to their connections?

I would start with your lost prospects or gone cold prospects, move over to your LinkedIn DMs, then your inboxes and text messages and lastly, your most active communities.

Trustbuilding is the stage before someone becomes a lead. When you leverage banked trust, you're leaning into work you've already done with people so this is your most warm crowd to help you out in some way.

Last on our tour is finding new buyers

I define a buyer as someone who is PROBLEM AWARE and SOLUTION SHOPPING. Meaning, someone knows "I need to hire a web designer" or "It's time to bring on a copywriter."

People who *should* hire you but who aren't yet aware of that are called browsers. Browsers can warm into buyers and they're the people who will hang out in your content marketing channels the longest. They're worth understanding and investing in because you can often warm them up as a group but they're the slowest play in your playbook.

To find people who are BUY READY, you want to go to channels where people are looking to buy. This will change depending on what you do and what industries you work with.

Examples of more buy ready channels:

  • Your established channels (email list, podcast, LinkedIn, YouTube etc—make an offer, promote a thing, see who raises their hand)

  • Platforms and directories for hiring creatives (Working Not Working, Copywriters Collective, Contra, etc)

  • Conferences and events about the topic you solve or industry you serve

  • Google Search for buy ready keywords like "hire a videographer" and related search platforms like Reddit

  • Niche communities of lookalike buyers (places where buyers congregate like Lawyers of Boston, Small Business Brigade)

Remember that when promoting on your established channels, your most likely buyers are people who have followed you for some time. You're asking them to step forward and self-identify as ready to work with you.

In the case of the other channels above, you're meeting new people and you're choosing those places because you believe buy ready people are also looking for you there. This is a tough game to get right off the bat and it gets easier as you experiment with it and also as you chat with your peers to see where they are having luck meeting great fit clients.

Visibility is where you connect with new people. These people take the longest to warm up into being ready to work with you (usually) so they're the last move and your long running background play.

Choose two opportunities

If you're currently working to book new clients now, I recommend scanning the above recs for your two biggest opportunities.

Where could you unlock the most potential? Who's most likely to book or help?

Hint: it's probably someone you already know!

Be real with yourself, be up front with others and choose winning horses in this race.

Avoid complex, long term plays like starting a new podcast, launching an event series or creating a new offer. Those require validation time and won't pay you back quickly. You'll be amazed how a few emails and phone calls do the trick. Save the content plays for when you have a longer runway to warm up new browsers.

Want to map it out for yourself?

You can download a copy of the growth model right here for free.

Get on my newsletter or join me for an upcoming event to put it into action for your business.

Get Low Energy Leads!

Join 1200+ creatives booking clients their way. Get more leads without relying on big tech.

What readers are saying

"'22 ways to find leads without social media' is a classic. Thank you for taking the air out of social media."

Bryony Angell

Journalist, narrative non-fiction writer and speaker

© 2024 Lex Roman. All rights reserved.

Get Low Energy Leads!

Join 1200+ creatives booking clients their way. Get more leads without relying on big tech.

What readers are saying

"'22 ways to find leads without social media' is a classic. Thank you for taking the air out of social media."

Bryony Angell

Journalist, narrative non-fiction writer and speaker

© 2024 Lex Roman. All rights reserved.

Get Low Energy Leads!

Join 1200+ creatives booking clients their way. Get more leads without relying on big tech.

What readers are saying

"'22 ways to find leads without social media' is a classic. Thank you for taking the air out of social media."

Bryony Angell

Journalist, narrative non-fiction writer and speaker

© 2024 Lex Roman. All rights reserved.