Every Lead Is A Node To A New Network
I’ve published a few thoughts here recently about the general direction I’m hoping to take in business over the next year (if I continue working for myself, that is!).
To date, I haven’t been particularly imaginative in the way I’ve marketed my freelance writing business. Actually, my marketing has flat out sucked.
Does Cold Emailing Work To Find Freelance Clients?
It can. It does. But even the successes aren’t always pretty.
Think sporadic bursts of cold email marketing for the most part. That’s really been about it. There’s been too much else to do.
(Note: this is a rookie mistake which I would counsel anybody against taking. Please do the exact opposite of this! The most important time to market is when you’re at your busiest!
It’s only in the last year — after working on content marketing projects with clients and agencies for five years — that I decided it was time to actually start working on my own content marketing and inbound machine.
The cobbler’s son has no shoes on and all that.
Every Lead Is A Node
Inbound marketing is starting to pay dividends for me.
Here’s an example of how little effort it takes to get started. Undoubtedly, there’s a lot more to do.
This summer, I added niche pages to my writing website — a small but necessary step. The process took a couple of days. I simply described the subjects that I have written and can write about. In SEO terms, this was a decidedly amateur effort. No keyword research went into this project. But I had an intuition that there weren’t so many freelance writers covering Linux out there, so I created this:
Three months later and I have taken on two projects as a result of that day’s work. One became a client. The other is lost somewhere in the pipeline. Not a bad ROI on one hour!
As I’ve mentioned previously, my conversation ratio currently sits somewhere around the 20% market.
This means that for every five leads that enter the top of my sales funnel, about one makes it through to become a paying client. The rest of them decide that I’m a bum writer, too expensive, choose to go with somebody else, or one day randomly stop talking with me.
Which reminds me:
Why ghosting — and ghosts — simply suck
People also need to stop making excuses for lousy behavior
I don’t like to think of my clients in these crude terms, but the customer lifetime value (CLTV) of a new freelance writing account is variable for me. But equally, there’s a limit to have many clients I can handle at any one time — and hence every lead and account is valuable. Someone can ask for a $400 blog and never be seen or heard from again. Or I can end up writing regular white papers for them and net $10,000.
But I think there’s something potentially much more important about working with new clients than the monetary value that might be attached to them.
Something that’s very easy to lose sight of during the rough and tumble of managing a busy sales pipeline and hoping to steer leads through to conversion.
And that’s the fact that each client represents a new node on a network.
Here’s what I mean.
Whether you’re a freelancer or you’re a corporate sales team selling sales software, each new lead that becomes a client exposes you to a part of the global landscape of companies that you’ve never had access to before.
What I’m talking about is your clients’ networks.
And I reckon that in many cases, this has more potential value than your direct relationship with the client. I also reckon that it’s very much asking yourself how you can tap into its potential.
Each new client you might land:
- Likely has a network of professional contacts they could refer you to
- Is likely embedded in some local ecosystem — whether that’s a startup ecosystem or a trade organization
- Might give you access to a new sales geography
If you’re based in a sales geography that provides limited opportunity in the local market, then the value of this secondary network becomes multiplied. It could become your ticket to a new market, to a new world of clients, and to a new source of opportunity.
That’s all I have for today.
A thought. And a question.
Each new lead and every new account is a node on a new network.
What are you going to do to explore what lies beyond point?