#124: Unconventional (Yet Highly Effective) Online Prospecting Ideas

Before we get to this week’s material, I have a quick, time-sensitive announcement.

Starting next week, I’m going to work with a small group of established freelance writers and copywriters to double their income in the next 12 – 18 months.

Or if your goal is to earn more in LESS time, we can work on that as well. Any combo of these results is doable. And I’ll work with you to make that happen.

This is no fantasy. I have a solid track record of helping talented freelancers get transformational results in a relatively short period of time.

If you’re already earning between $30k and $80k (or the part-time equivalent) as a writer or copywriter … and you’re tired of working your tail off and getting the same average results year after year, let’s talk.

Send me an email [ed at b2blauncher dot com] with the words “2X Coaching” in the subject line and I’ll reply with the details.

Note: This is the one and only time I’m doing this in 2017.

I’m always intrigued by the many different ways you can find and land good clients these days.

At the end of the day, there are only a few tried and true marketing strategies that continue to stand the test of time.

These approaches will continue to work despite changes in technology and evolving platforms.

These include warm email prospecting, authority building, strategic networking, cultivating referrals, nurturing not-yet-ready prospects over the long haul, targeted direct mail, partnering with complementary freelancers, and a few others.

But there’s no denying that smart creative professionals are finding unique ways to drum up quality leads and build trust with good prospects online.

My guest this week is a perfect example of this. Her name is Kaleigh Moore. She’s a freelance writer, and she’s experienced great success as a freelancer in a very short amount of time.

In this interview she explains how she generates prospects online. How she builds relationships and trust by adding value. And how she leverages these wins to create a positive domino effect in her business.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about yourself

Kaleigh Moore has been a freelance writer for about three years. She specializes in blog content for software and ecommerce brands, such as Campaign Monitor and AT&T.

Recently, Kaleigh added coaching to her services.

What did you do prior to going solo?

Before starting her own business, Kaleigh worked in public relations for a nonprofit for about two and a half years. She started doing some freelance and social media work on the side. Over time, her freelance business grew to the point where she could transition to it full time.

Where do you find most of your clients?

Many of Kaleigh’s client relationships happened organically through social media.

She landed her very first client on Twitter. At the time, Kaleigh was running an ecommerce store (completely unrelated to her freelance business). A marketing content manager at the phone company Grasshopper was interested in her products. They corresponded on Twitter, and Kaleigh mentioned she was doing freelance writing on the side. The content manager was looking for freelance writers and awarded her a project.

That first client relationship led to other referrals and allowed Kaleigh to build a portfolio.

You never know where your next client will come from. It’s often where you’d least expect!

What online channels have you used to find client opportunities?

Kaleigh uses a variety of channels, include Facebook, Slack, Reddit, inbound.org, and Twitter.

She uses Facebook groups to get referral work and connect with people who’re hiring.

She’ll look for two kinds of groups:

  1. Groups with other freelancers and potential partners
  2. Groups where her prospects hang out.

Look for groups with active conversations where people are actually interacting—and not just sharing their own content.

Ed’s thoughts on why you should “follow the flow” when building and growing your business.

How do you find good Facebook groups?

Ask other writers who’re writing for the same niche. What Facebook groups do they belong to?

You can also search for groups through Facebook or Google by using the right keywords.

Once you have a few clients in your preferred niche, see what groups they belong to on Facebook.

Tell us about Slack

Slack is a chat application. Most Slack groups are invite-only. They’re like a virtual water cooler. Because these groups are curated, they’re less noisy and spammy than Facebook or Twitter. They’re a great way to get referral work and find sources for article quotes.

Many freelancers will create their own Slack group and invite freelance professionals or people in their niche.

To garner invitations to existing Slack groups, reach to fellow freelancers or others in your industry niche. Ask if they belong to any Slack groups that would be relevant and ask for an invite.

To get unconventional success you sometimes have to look for clients in unconventional channels.

How do you use Reddit?

Kaleigh uses Reddit for both coaching and freelancing. It’s a great way to get human interaction, especially if you work from home.

Reddit forums are divided into threads. Kaleigh likes the threads for freelance writers and copywriters. People share interesting articles, troubleshoot problems and ask questions.

Reddit is more anonymous than some platforms. As a result, people can sometimes be a bit harsh because there’s less visibility.

How should we behave on these platforms?

Online platforms are a public space. Be mindful of what you say. No one wants to talk to the person who goes on and on about themselves.

Rule of thumb for online platforms: Behave as you would at a cocktail party.

It’s okay to share your blog posts and insights. But you should also participate without being promotional. Be a good conversationalist.

What about inbound.org?

Inbound.org is a forum, similar to Reddit, but geared toward content marketing professionals. It’s a good place to ask questions.

Inbound.org has a “Ask Inbound” feature that’s very active. People provide thoughtful responses.

This platform isn’t as anonymous as Reddit. It’s more polished and professional than Reddit.

Where does Twitter fit into all this?

Twitter is Kaleigh’s number one tool for making connections and opening doors. She used Twitter to land a contributor position with Entrepreneur magazine.

Through Twitter, you can connect with people you’d never get time with otherwise. But again, it’s not just about sharing your content. It’s about building relationships over time. You’re not making a hard sales pitch.

(Side note: Here’s another effective Twitter marketing technique we discussed a while back.)

How do you turn this practice into a habit?

Working from home can be lonely. Checking in on these channels every day is a nice way to get some social interaction.

It can help to schedule it into your calendar, especially as some groups have set conversation times.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until you’re desperate for work to get on these channels.

What are your thoughts on online job board platforms, such as Upwork and Fiverr?

In Kaleigh’s experience, online job boards aren’t very helpful for several reasons:

  1. They require a lot of upfront work: You have to fill out a profile and submit proposals for each job.
  2. They’re often low paying.
  3. There’s little opportunity to build relationships.

You’re better off investing your time into other social tools where you can build longer term connections and get referrals.

Where can listeners learn more about you and your work?

Kaleigh Moore’s website: kaleighmoore.com

Twitter: @kaleighf

Instagram: @kaleighf