Marketing your business can be a challenge. Sure, you hear about lots of powerful strategies, but they all require financial investment to start. You are just trying to generate leads, not market a 7-figure business. Luckily, there are a lot of ways you can find leads for your freelance business without spending a dime. You just have to invest your time and creativity. Here are 5 steps you can start with now:

1. Facebook marketplace

You can quickly transform your Facebook page into the ‘social’ landing page of the century by using a form. The advantage of a Facebook contact, newsletter subscribe or another customized form is that it makes it easier for your potential customers to communicate with you as they do not have to leave your Facebook page.

There are plenty of resources online for creating forms like Wufoo, JotForm, and Formstack. Once your form is created, you can embed it into your Facebook page, and it will show up as a new tab on your Facebook page. You can also use Facebooks iFrame application to create custom forms.

Posting a link to your recent blog post to direct Facebook fans to your website and then eventually to your landing page is classic social media lead generation. In order to make it work, keep your Facebook posts visually appealing. Use an image instead of text-only and boost user engagement by 2.3 times. Just make sure you include a clear link back to your website in the caption.


2. Social Media Engagement

Social media engagementIf you have a few potential prospects actively asking questions or commenting on a post, this is the best chance to engage with them and generate leads. Ask for their email address or another convenient way to directly converse so that you can give them a personal experience, address their questions, and potentially land a new customer. As experiential marketing is becoming more and more widespread, customers are leaning toward brands which they can engage with. A great way of doing this is by conducting polls and surveys that allow customers to give their input and feel involved.

By getting a live pulse of your audience, you will be able to provide to their demands better and create lead generating content. You should request an email address to see the survey results once it is completed to keep them engaged.

The use of custom hashtags can help you to personalize and separate a brand from its competitors. By building a unique following with custom hashtags, you are making your brand more memorable in the eyes of potential customers that can pay off down the road when they are ready to make purchase decisions.

Do not make hashtags too long or crazy —simple, to the point, will do the trick. You can use them for product releases, events or just about anything else that needs promoting.


3. Cold Calling

Cold calling is an attempt to generate a lead from a potential customer, via the telephone. If your company is new one without financial means or the connections to take advantage of other forms of marketing cold calling represents a “ready-to-go” method of finding new leads. Though it is not always considered the most productive, cold calling is an important technique in every salesperson’s arsenal. In its truest sense, a cold call is cold because even a prospect which is a good match for your service or product won’t necessarily be perceptive, which is why the effectiveness of cold calling is usually called into question.

Making a productive cold call is tricky because of the various possible types of responses from your prospect. Oftentimes, the recipient will simply hang up. But in the worst case, you might even receive verbal abuse. Furthermore, the comparative attractiveness of cold calling is decreasing in comparison with more modern types of prospecting.


4. Visiting prospects in person

Going to prospect in person gives you access to clues which you would not have a chance to uncover over the phone call. How the prospect’s place of business or home looks is the main indicator of what type of person they are. Is it perfectly maintained or shabby?  Is it all gravel and concrete or is the landscaping lush? How large is the office or house? What decorations and colors did they choose? All of these are clues to your potential customer’s state of mind and can tell you which approach will work better to secure an appointment.

Dropping in on an office place allows you to talk to employees who are not decision makers, but who might have general, helpful information about the company. For example, talking to the receptionist for a couple of minutes can yield information such as the name(s) of the purchasing agent or decision maker(s), how they feel about the product they currently own, what their schedule is like, and etc.

Sometimes, you will not be able to simply walk into the building and wander at will because of the security officer. In these cases, keep the names of those companies for a later phone call or email.

Do not forget to chat with the people at the security desk, as you may learn a useful small piece of information or at the least, leave them with a nice memory of you for when you hopefully come back later with an appointment.


5. Organic content marketing

Content MarketingOrganic content marketing finds ways to make customers look for you naturally. In effect, it means using any type of marketing method that does not require a direct payment. This type of inbound marketing involves providing valuable content which customers need and providing answers to questions, highlighting why you have the best solution and then, supporting it with a constant, online presence (often through social media). An organic content marketing system is customer-centric and focuses on giving your customers an improved online experience.

If you can place yourself as a reliable source of important content, you can build an engagement with your customers and, in turn, you build your brand. But this type of marketing requires time and effort, and a good system is essential to reap rewards.


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