Starting out – how to advertise

When you first start out freelancing, it’s important to work at getting new clients. Without clients, there’s no work to do. If there’s no work, there’s no meny coming in. And without money the whole roof over your head and food thing starts to look like a luxury. But how do you advertise and let people know you’re out there?
During the first months of your new business – and you are a business and need to operate like one – you need to work hard at finding new customers and keeping them. That means delivering above and beyond what they expect.
A couple of weeks ago, guest poster David Hague told the story of a motel he stayed at. In case you missed the main points, here’s a summary:

  • deliver great service
  • deliver something unexpected that’s easy to do
  • keep customer records and note what they really liked for when they return

The unexpected thing is the hard one to do and will vary for every customer. It might be providing some extra images with a story or nice packaging if you’re delivering a product. Whatever it is – make it memorable.
Another post over at the Pocket Mojo blog describes a software developer who says the following:

We do not want to annoy you in any way.

Look at your workflow. Is there something you do that forces your customer to change what they want to do to fit in with you? If there is – you need to change it.
So, what’s all this got to do with advertising?
Happy customers become advocates. Every piece of research I’ve read on the topic says that referrals by happy customers are THE best form of advertising. How many times have you purchased a product or hired a tradesperson on the basis of a friend’s recommendation?
Your clients are the best and cheapest advertisers for your business.
What do you do for your clients that helps you stand out? What can you do to get more referral business? Share you thoughts in the comments.

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