When you need new business now, the best place to go really IS your current and past clients because you don't need to re-sell them on working with you. They know you're good and like your work and just need a reason to hire you again or a reminder that you're there.
And ezines are great, but let's face it, we're all probably opening fewer and fewer of them these days as our mail boxes get stuffed to the gills.
I have tried the thank you note thing and that can work--the one downside is that they have to actually look up your email or phone number to contact you. So you can still sit on their to-do list a little while.
So I'll often reach out by email instead--a personal message from me to them that does at least one of the following things...
- Asks how their project is going (i.e. converting)
- Includes a few suggestions on tweaking the copy or format now that it's been up a little while
- Congratulates them on a recent award or press coverage
- Responds to something in their email newsletter
- Includes a link to an article, study or other resource that I know is pertinent for them (e.g. Have you seen this?)
- Mentions something I noticed their competition is doing
- Asks how something personal in their life is going (if there was something going on when we last worked together)
- Offers a product or marketing idea they can use
Sometimes they just say thanks or we exchange a few emails about whatever it is I sent and that's that.
But you'd be surprised how often, they say, "I've been thinking about contacting you..."
And because it's an email, it's easy for them to do--all they have to do is hit reply!
It doesn't matter how long ago the client was either.
I recently had a client respond who I hadn't worked with in several years and who hadn't responded to a few other efforts to reach out.
But she'd sent me an email mentioning her new site a few months before and when I finally got a chance to look at it, I mentioned that something was confusing. I actually wasn't even trolling for a project, just trying to be helpful. But she replied three days later asking me to redo the copy for the home page and more projects are in the works.
I also sent a thank you note to another client I haven't worked with since last year, and she emailed and called me a week later to find out if I was interested in being included for an RFP they'll be putting out soon.
So how do I find things to write them about?
- The best way I've found is to subscribe to their ezine. That gives me an easy opening plus reminds me to check in with them every so often. And if I decide it's time to reconnect, I can take a quick look to see what they've been up to.
- I've also set up Google alerts for some of my best customers so I know when things are happening with them.
- Just keeping my eyes open when I see articles about something in their industry.
- Visiting their social media sites to see if there's anything interesting to comment on, or to Friend, Follow, Link In with them if I don't already
- Going to marketing news websites to see if there's anything that could be relevant to them (since I figure they're less likely to have seen it)
- When all else fails, I hit Google and search for news related to their industry over the past month
(Note: I only reach out to those clients I liked working with. LOL)
Anyway, I hope some of these ideas that have helped me out of a cash crunch a number of times in the past 8 years can help someone else do the same!