It’s cold; icy cold out there.
Any and every digital freelancer this side of the monitor has their hands tied (or frozen, if you will) by the lack of clear-cut client sourcing solutions.
Sure, opportunities abound, but they are often difficult to locate in time to make the most of. Proper prospecting often involves an element of surprise coupled with timeliness, after all. If you can be in the right place at the right time (with the right product/service), then you can sell anything to anyone.
But, how exactly are you to manage such a noble feat when the first batch of results you bring up on Google in your fruitless search for clients includes incompetent guides on the subject of pitching and/or companies so large and proliferate, they would never have even the slightest need of a freelancer whatsoever?
Freelance writer and SEO expert Viraj Deshpande had the following to say about this woeful situation:
I feel like there’s a shortage of information related to finding prospects for cold pitching online. There are a lot of articles to be found, but most of the time they just skim the surface, and those that are in-depth and helpful are part of paid courses.
It’s about time someone shed some light on the hidden ways of the online client prospector!
This article will hopefully serve as a welcome cheat sheet for anyone looking to master such ancient and powerful prospecting sorcery in our electronic landscape without signing up for a master course worth three months’ pay. Without further ado, here are a few tips to consider working into your own prospecting process:
Use Alternative Search Engines
Google is grand, but there are plenty of other kids on the block for you to play with, and in the eyes of a prospector, they could very well prove to be a lot more fun!
DuckDuckGo is a popular contender, with results that are sure to be at least somewhat different from those that Google will throw at you. Unfortunately, their total number of results seems to be capped at a relatively small number.
Another useful alternative is Dogpile. You should be able to find a number of pages and businesses that would have been more difficult to locate on Google with this search engine.
A particularly useful alternative search engine is Search Tempest. This tool lets you scour Craigslist’s assortment of location-specific pages all at once for whatever you want.
Reddit is a great place to peek into if you really want to leave no stone unturned in your quest for clients. Try Search Reddit or Search By Site to sleuth out the good stuff without wasting days on there, though.
Ok, fine! If you really must go crawling back to our Google overlords, then you ought to at least learn how to use it properly. You can start by learning to use the advanced search page and then kick things up a notch with search operators.
Or, at the very least, you could try skipping to page 10 of your Google search results and contacting relevant businesses that appear at these lower levels of the Google ranking system. They are bound to be more receptive to offers from freelancers and you are unlikely to have anywhere near as much competition.