Do any of the ads have phone numbers? Have you called as a follow-up to your e-mails? Have you sent any follow-up e-mails?
I've never used Craigslist for finding clients, so I can't comment on how viable that method is.
How did you find your current/previous clients? Or did they find you (and how)? Have you asked your them for referrals? Have you hit them up for additional work?
|basically going to my local page and responding to people who are looking for my web services |
If you are offering a local service get an appropriately optimised website up there and put it in Google local, etc. That will bring you in much more business than Craig's list.
I tried Craigslist as an experiment for several months and it did not get me a single enquiry. I think it's a thing of the past.
Thank you for your feedback.
Almost all the people that post ads in Craiglist do not post a phone # so I cannot follow up.
My other clients were found by actually walking in.
If there is a better way to find clients, I'd love to know.
I used traditional marketing methods to find local businesses that needed website development.
Get a list of local businesses, identify which have a weak or non existant website (i.e. you could improve things for them) - make contact and open up a discussion.
Locally, join the chamber of commerce or a local business network. You won't get work right away, networking is something you have to stick with and is a long term investment on your part. After a time, you'll have to raise your rates just to find enough hours in the day.
On the Internet, there are many free lance sites. Don't be shocked at the bottom dollar bid wars, the good clients are about 1 in 1000, but when you find them, it's worth it.
Networking is a good thing. The first client I picked up was the other side of the atlantic to me, I would not have found them nor they me without networking.
And A couple of other customers came because I knew them in a former life.
Your community probably has a "breakfast club" where you can meet the business movers and shakers. I did this when I had a B&M and it worked wonders. Later, after the B&M shut down those folks remembered me and continue to recommend my services. And every once in a while I still show up for that breakfast... in several communities. Not a bad way to market services, and get breakfast, too. (or Rotary, or Elks, or AFW, or whatever works as a community level gathering). Think Oracle of Kevin Bacon... every person you chat up in real life knows somebody (or several somebodies) who need your services... Do put up a local community site you can advertise on a business card and press into palms. Those little pieces of cardboard STILL WORK for getting the news out.
Try BNI, it works pretty well.
Just G for "BNI"
One of our local TV stations ran a scare piece the other day on people getting robbed and scammed when they meet to buy or sell stuff on craigslist.
I've been looking at CRaigslist and a lot of the ads where people are looking for services are insane. The go something like "Looking for someone to set up an complete ecommerce site that will bring in 10000 visitors a day. No Payment but we will send work your way later".. Reminds me of popeye.. I will gladly pay you on tuesday for a hamburger today.
I am fortunate to live in a high population density area. There are a lot of business organizations. My experience and your mileage may vary
1. Chamber of Commerce - It get my health insurance through them. A breakfast meeting and business card exchange each month. The subcomittees are a great way to meet people. HINT - join a subcommittee not related to web design such as the new members committee. Pickings are slim as there are a lot of 'financial planners', lawyers and accountants in the membership
2. Local business organizations - These depend on the current management
3. Groups such as LETip - These are highly regimented and effective for some people. I could never join because the fines would make me go broke (ie when you show up late or without a referral, you get fined0
4. Don't overlook other memberships. I've actually gotten quite a bit of business from my gun club. There's nothing like taking the old 1911 and a couple of boxes of ammo to the range and coming back with a new client. If you are into shotgunning, there are a LOT of people with money there. Some of the guys at one trap and skeet club are shooting shotguns worth 40 grand.
I definitely second cmendla's recommendation of non-professional clubs and organizations. Join one or more that relate to the hobbies/sports you enjoy. But make the job networking secondary- people will get turned off if they think you're only there to drum up business for yourself.
|Sometimes I feel like the people that post ads in Craiglist are not too serious; they are either too cheap or what have you |
There you go. This has been my experience as well. They post there for a reason.
I think most people have pointed out that the networking bit works very well. Also offer to pay a finders fee. I usually offer 10% of the contract fee as a finders fee. I pay it out each month that they are a client. It's high, I know, but I get a lot of referrals that way.
|Sometimes I feel like the people that post ads in Craiglist are not too serious; they are either too cheap or what have you. |
Most of the times I feel the same but I keep replying to ads from Craigslist and even got a few clients this way (got 4-5 clients in the last ~2 years).
I've found the same to be true. People post ads (I would only respond if they are detailed in their request) and they never reply. I gave up on CL quite some time ago, as I got absolutely nothing from it.
Thank you very much for all your information.
I am going to start with a local Breakfast club. I live in Austin TX by the way.
I also think that I am going to leave CL all together; after replying many a day, I just think it's useless. Even if I get a client, these are way too cheap.
Yes, networking within your local chamber offices, great website content and daily SEO, email marketing, and traditional marketing methods are all part of the mix to acquire leads. Good luck!
Not to put the tinfoil hat on, but there was just a news story about a guy who got murdered in front of his family during a home invasion. He advertised an heirloom ring on cl and some dirtballs came out and attacked his family. He tried to defend his kid and got shot.
About 15 years ago, I had someone respond to a yellow pages ad I had running. My wife and I both got a funny twitch about it and I never went out. I don't think you have to be too paranoid but it does pay to be alert. (also living in a CCW state doesn't hurt either)
I do the exact same thing with great success. I usually email or contact about 10 people to one project, but hey you can get that knocked it in an hour. I find it a great source of projects, I also like Get A Coder, although most of the work is underpriced..