I know I’ve talked about finding bigger clients – as in not on Textbroker and (usually) Elance – but I’ve never really offered any actionable tips for how to recognize or find those clients. So I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about what makes a good client. I could write (and probably will) an eBook on finding, prospecting, negotiating with, and doing business with corporate clients. But for now, I’ll just cover five signs you should look for when prospecting clients. Prospecting takes time, and time is money, so you don’t want to spend a lot of time prospecting poor clients. Look for these five things and it’s likely you’ll be looking at a valuable prospect.
Clients Whose Businesses Are Growing Rapidly
Take a look at the Inc. 5000, Fortune 1000, or other list to find companies that are growing rapidly. If over the last few years the company has grown several hundred (or more) percent, it’s pretty much booming. What does that mean? It means they’re making a ton of money, and they’re going to be marketing aggressively to keep that growth going. Enter you, the freelance writer, who writes lead generating content for businesses. These fast-growing businesses need content in some form for marketing, and they will see the value in what you have to offer. Pitch away.
Clients Dealing With Other People’s Money
This might sound bad, but it’s true. Financial planners, start-ups, etc. all work with other people’s money, and it’s what they use to market, as well. Start-ups, in particular, are great to go for because they’re dealing with money that is offered by investors, lenders, and so on and they tend to throw it anyone who can help them market. They need to make a profit – fast – and they market aggressively. Since you provide content that helps business owners market, you’re their best friend. I’m not suggesting these business owners and professionals don’t work or earn their own money by any means. I’m simply suggesting that when you have other money outside of direct capital to work from, you tend to get a bit more ehm…enthusiastic with your marketing.
Clients Who Work in Big Money Industries
Technology anyone? Tech companies, real estate (sometimes), insurance, luxury items, etc. are all great industries to tap. Marketing agencies are usually good, too. It might seem odd that a marketing agency would be looking for writers, but they have to market, too! Healthcare is also a big industry – particularly pharmaceuticals – as is web development. Industries who always need clients (in other words things people always need – like food, clothing, insurance, etc.) are almost always a great option.
Clients Who Make Big Money
This is fairly obvious, but a lot of times freelancers don’t understand that you can actually look up the earnings of companies. I like to prospect on Manta because you can set your search parameters to certain income levels. Personally, I don’t prospect a company that makes less than $5 million, and I try to keep it above $10 million depending on the industry. That might seem like a ton of money to you and me, but to a business – once you factor in all the expenses, etc. – it’s really not. Companies that make less than $5 million probably don’t have the marketing budget you want them to have in order to pay what you should be asking.
Companies Who Are Hiring
I know the second you quit your corporate job, Careerbuilder, Monster, and Indeed were the last things you ever wanted to see again in your life. But if you can deal with the trauma, go back to them and start looking for companies who are hiring – not writers – but who are hiring in general. Pick an industry and look for jobs as though you worked in that field. If a company has any of the above factors and is also hiring, chances are they’re growing, and if they’re growing that means they’re reaching out. As in marketing. As in they need you.
Hopefully this helps you in searching for high quality clients who have budgets to pay you what you deserve and who appreciate what you do. If your client doesn’t value you, you won’t be able to demand the fees you need to make a comfortable living, and the entire process will be miserable. Good clients understand the value of marketing – and how important content is to that marketing – and those are the clients you want to go for.
Happy prospecting, and until next time, happy writing.