Visit any successful freelance writer’s website and look at the different ways he sells himself, his skills, and his writing services. Most successful writers who land new clients sell themselves with testimonials from existing clients and referred clients. Testimonials are more informal. They’re based mostly on everyday experiences of clients who have hired you. Referrals are more formal. Clients attest to the fact that they had received high quality work from hiring you and share this information with people whom they know.
How job referrals work
Strong referrals from satisfied clients can boost your writing career. A new client—referred to you by a satisfied existing client—would outsource work to you based on the testimonial of the existing client. If you produce the same quality work that had generated the first referral, then the new (referred) client will become a repeat client and generate more referrals for you. You will often hear that referrals produce a “snowball effect”—satisfied clients generate referrals, and then these referrals become satisfied clients who generate more referrals, and
the process repeats and continues to build a client base.
As you grow your writing career and you become more successful, clients are more inclined to pay you a higher rate. This higher rate is offset by the fact that you produce excellent results, you are reliable and professional, and clients recommend you because you are more superior than a writer who works at a lower pay rate.
Why you must ask for referrals
When a client is happy with the results of your work, he feels confident and might feel motivated to inform his colleagues about you. Many happy
clients neglect to do so unless you ask them directly.
Here is how it usually works (at least in my experience): A client who likes the articles that you write for him shows his appreciation by awarding you repeat work–more articles to write with the same pay rate or a higher pay rate. Repeat clients may ask you to write additional articles on the same topic or new articles on a different niche. This continuity in writing assignments clearly indicates how much these clients trust you to complete their projects with high quality writing.
Since you feel that referrals are necessary to grow your career and steadily build a stronger client base, you’ll simply need to bug your existing clients for referrals. This is not shameful marketing, nor are you annoying your clients. Asking clients for referrals is not hassling them, as long as you’ve proven yourself to them. Satisfied clients embrace the opportunity to share their experience with their colleagues and give them your contact information.
How to generate more referrals
Clearly, skill and professionalism are two important assets to generate your first referrals. If you want to
generate more, follow these top 10 tips:
Tip #1: Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.
The simplest and most reliable referrals are generated by word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing is when satisfied clients, family, friends and other freelancers spread word about your freelance writing talents and that you are available for hire.
Tip #2: Seek referrals from satisfied clients.
As mentioned before, satisfied clients are the best people to ask about sending you referrals. They are more than glad to put in a good word
Tip #3: Update previous clients on new services.
Whenever you upgrade a new writing service or develop a new skill, get in touch with your previous clients. Update them about these new developments and show how they can benefit.
Tip #4: Get listed in online directories.
Aside from setting up accounts with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you can also include yourself and your writing business in online Yellow Page directories. These online directories will categorize you by locality and specialty.
Tip #5: Promote your services via email.
Email marketing remains an effective way to keep in touch with clients and to promote your writing services. Since freelance writing belongs to the service industry, you can promote you services by e-mailing friendly reminders each week.
Tip #6: Take advantage of free online advertising.
Certain writing jobs pay you for your work and also give you a byline. A bylined article is a bonus since it gives you an obvious advantage. When these written works are posted on the web, you receive free advertising and
Tip #7: Welcome “likes” and “comments” on social media.
If you routinely write blog posts and articles on social media sites, make sure you allow commenting and bookmarking. When your article or post is really good, many readers will “Like it” and leave positive comments and feedback. Readers also will tweet and re-tweet about it. Informal as they are, social media sharing generates referrals.
Tip #8: Join forums for writers and freelancers.
If you’re up for some online socializing, become an active member of online writers’ organizations, Facebook groups, and popular websites for writers. You can also join writers’ forums and comment on their posts to establish relationships with other writers.
Tip #9: Build links with other website owners.
You can drive traffic into your website by collaborating and cooperating with other similar sites. Linked together by related content, you’d both benefit from the attention that’s generated and the referrals that come in.
Tip #10: Aspire to be a writing expert!
Eventually you will reach a point where you will become your own successful business owner who outsources freelance projects to other freelancers. You’ll also write for your own audience on the topics you like best. Less of a freelancer and more of a consultant, you’ll join the ranks of an industry expert. A consultant position brings the best and highest-paid referrals that you can ever generate!