I’m sure many are familiar with popular job boards like Craigslist.org, WritersWeekly.com and FreelanceWriting.com. As you probably know, if you’re not among the first to apply, you will most likely never hear anything from the prospective client.
I use job boards another way — as I get most of my work from old clients (I’ve been freelancing since 1993, so am grateful to be in the position of not having to market so hard for clients).
How to Effectively Use Job Boards to Solicit Work
So, how do I use job boards to solicit work? In two ways:
1) I always apply — I don’t care how old the listing is, I will still send in my credentials. Most of the time, if I receive a response, it will be something along the lines of, “We received 100 responses to our ad and have already chosen a freelancer. Thanks for applying.”
I’m always thrilled to get a response — even if it’s a rejection. Why? Because it opens a line of communication — which is the first step to building a relationship of any kind. A response allows me to write back. I usually say something to the effect of:
Dear Ms. Client:
[be kind and and complimentary in your approach, eg;] Thank you for apprising me of the fact that your freelance writing needs have been filled. It’s rare to receive a response when a position has closed; I appreciate your professionalism.
[go for the soft pitch, eg:] Please keep my credentials on file for future consideration. I specialize in helping mortgage, real estate and insurance professionals increase their bottom line. In today’s competitive market, turning referrals into paying customers requires consistent contact — no matter the type of business.
[generally explain how you can help the prospective client, eg:] An on- and offline marketing expert, I can show you concrete ways to increase referrals and turn a static and/or non-existent database into a consistent revenue stream.
[use the following if you don’t know who the client is — most times you will be responding to blind ads] I welcome the chance to consult with you along these lines — even if you have no immediate needs.
[use the following if you know who the client is and can do some quick research on them] Eg, I notice from your website that you are one of the largest mortgage providers in the northeast. I can position your company to become the “go to” resource for information by providing a handy e-booklet about the industry.
[give a specific example of how you can help them, eg:] Instead of the standard, How to Apply for a Mortgage, potential clients respond more to what NOT to do when applying. Eg, an e-book entitled, 7 Things You Should NOT Do When Applying for a Mortgage is much more likely to get a prospect’s attention.
This is just one suggestion among many that I can assist you with — building your referral ratio and database for years to come. Samples of my work can be found at the web address listed below, along with my contact information.
I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.