May 23, 2024

How To Get New Clients – 10 Tips for SMEs and Freelancers During COVID-19

Whether it be reduced or zero sales, spoiled stock, cancelled contracts, or a complete loss of their livelihood, many freelancers and small businesses have no doubt been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

While the pandemic has brought more change and challenge to the job market, there are still opportunities for skilled and talented professionals who offer flexibility, value and experience. As such, Tide collated 32 tips on ways to get new clients as a freelancer or small business during this time.

Here’s 10 of the most relevant ones for these challenging times:

1. Know your client inside out
• Create a comprehensive description of your ideal client, being as specific as you can. Note the ideal size of the business,the sector they are in, areas of the industry that they are involved with, their challenges, and so on, and build each profile out into a documented buyer persona to help you to fully understand their needs.

2. Tap into your network
• Your primary network (of close friends, relatives, colleagues and peers in your industry or profession) are the best place to start when looking for referrals. Reach out and ask them if they know anyone who needs what you’re offering, but be careful not to be too pushy… Your network is valuable, and it’s not worth burning relationships by pestering them.

3. Add your name to professional directories
• Directories are another useful place to be featured, and are occasionally dedicated to certain professions. Even if they don’t bring a flurry of leads, they may support your search engine optimisation efforts by providing another link to your website. You can find suitable directories with a Google search, or by asking fellow freelancers.

4. Use job boards to find companies in need of your services
• If businesses are hiring for a relevant role in your industry, it’s a good sign that they’ll be interested in what you have to offer. You could also offer your services as a contractor until they find someone suitable for a full-time position. Use job aggregators to uncover these businesses, and if they include their information, have a look on LinkedIn and find the relevant person to reach out to.

5. Contribute to discussions on social media

• People love to interact with peers who add value to discussions, especially on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Providing advice or recommendations demonstrates your expertise in your chosen field, which may lead to enquiries. Look for groups, hashtags, and live chats so you can engage with your professional community effectively, but be sure to respond in an authentic manner.

6. Search for your ideal client’s pain-points on Twitter

• Search for the pain points you can help people overcome on Twitter through various hashtags. For example, if you’re a UX designer, search for #ux and identify questions or complaints that you can address. Monitor conversations between competitors and their clients to get a sense of any opportunities that arise. To simplify these tasks, use listening tools like BuzzSumo and Mention.

7. Be helpful in all your interactions

• Be a kind and helpful person in every interaction. This will elevate your personal brand as a pleasant person that’s always willing to go the extra mile – for clients and peers alike. Helping people, even if they don’t seem like the ideal client, builds goodwill within your industry. How you act and what you give out to the world will come back to you.

8. Contribute to publications with guest posts

• Having articles published in relevant, authoritative industry blogs and publications is an effective way to expand your audience. Look at recently published articles to get an idea of the publication’s style, tone of voice and the formats of content they prefer and send in a pitch. It’s important to write content that their audience will find valuable.

9. Run a PR campaign

• Consider amplifying your message with well-designed online and offline activities within your budget. For example, you can subscribe to HARO, a free network of journalists looking for sources on various topics. If you spot a journalist asking for information on a topic you have expertise on, reach out and provide it to them.

10. Use SEO (search engine optimization) to get found online

• One of the most effective ways to make yourself discoverable, is to ensure that your website is optimised for search engines. Research the words that people use to search for someone like you, and then using those words on your website. Of course, SEO gets a little more complex than that, but the key thing is to echo the language that searchers use. Search for a ‘free keyword tool’ to start your research.

Sarah Young, VP of Member Engagement at Tide, added:

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way of life for all of us, and many freelancers and small business owners have been negatively impacted by the ongoing pandemic. However, while the market may be in recovery mode, many have seen an opportunity to pivot or adapt their business, and some companies are still growing, developing new products, and competing for new customers — and they need help from freelancers or small businesses.

“We hope these tips help you to find new clients in the current landscape. Pick and choose the techniques that make sense for you, your clients and the business you want to build. Start with methods that have the potential to bring you the most clients with the least effort but be prepared to test a few different approaches until you find the tactics that work for you”.

To see all 32 tips, visit: