How To Find Clients Online: The Show Up & Serve Method
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to find clients online and dreaming of magical online clients so you don’t have to leave your house ever again, this is the blog post for you.
You’re going to love the “Show up and Serve” Method.
Yes, it sounds fancy, but it’s really quite simple.
Best of all, this method is the method I used to take my freelance business online successfully five years ago when I knew exactly…well, no one in the online world.
I’m sharing the EXACT method to you need to help you find the right clients online. Check this out:
Step #1: Figure Out Who Your Perfect Client Is
Hard Truth: There’s no point in trying to find clients online until you know exactly WHO it is you’re targeting.
Why? There’s a massive difference between where a marketing manager for a mid-sized B2B company hangs out than a freelance copywriter. Both are my ideal client for different services, so I need to know WHO it is I’m targeting and what it is I have to offer to them.
Start by focusing on one “perfect” client at a time.
First of all, do your homework on this person. And when I say homework, I don’t mean BS-filled “ideal avatar” exercises that only skim the surface by saying they’re 35 years old and like chai lattes.
For you to attract clients online, you need to know them inside and out — you need to GET in their head.
Questions you need to answer:
- What’s their pain point?
- What are they thinking?
- What are they feeling?
Once you’re able to answer those questions, you’re much, much closer to understanding the next step.
Step #2: Research to Figure Out WHERE They Hang Out Online
Listen, I know you probably have places you like to hang out online. We all do, so you may not like what I’m gonna tell you next. Those places aren’t necessarily where you’re going to find the type of clients you’re after.
I love the online celebrity gossip group I’m in on Facebook, but my ideal clients aren’t hanging out there dishing the dirt on celebrity breakups and blind items.
For example, if you’re a content marketer like me, your ideal client who’s a B2B company marketing manager, is unlikely to be hanging out in the same place 250 freelance copywriters are.
If you want to REALLY find clients online, you need to go where those clients already are. They aren’t magically going to find you — so go where they are.
Spend time researching exactly where they may be online. This can be a variety of things such as communities, groups, or social media platforms.
For my B2B marketing manager client avatar, I’m likely going to have the best results with content marketing focused communities on LinkedIn or a community like Inbound.org.
As you do this, focus on being specific, and be open to trying different platforms to see what works best. Most of all, give it some time. You’re not going to roll in there on day one and automatically get results.
Step #3: Show Up & Serve
This next part is what’s going to make or break your ability to find clients online.
Why? Finding clients isn’t robotic. It’s about connecting with people and getting to know them.
I call this the “show up and serve’ method.
The fatal mistake most people make when trying to find clients online is either lurking so no one knows they’re there, OR even worse, they show up and they’re THAT person from day one.
You know, THAT person. Pitchy McPitcherson.
They drop in and immediately start trying to promote their thing. They make it all about them. They’re clearly in that community with an agenda that’s about sales.
Yuck. No one likes a Pitchy McPitcherson, so here’s what you can do instead.
You show up and be a decent human. You focus on showing up day in, day out and being of service.
What do I mean by that?
- You show up and answer questions.
- You deliver real value to people. You don’t play games.
- You knock people’s socks off by being thoughtful and generous with the information you provide and your time.
By doing that, people will notice you. They’ll appreciate you and they’ll quickly start paying attention to you and what you have to say. And then when they need help, you’re the person at the top of their list.
If you’re not convinced, I want to share a really quick story with you about my client Rai. Like me, Rai’s a content marketing writer, and we’re in a Facebook group for writers together. She had a question about coaching and mentoring, and I popped in on the thread with some specific ideas for her.
I didn’t respond to her question with any agenda. It was truly about service — no strings attached.
Cool, right? But here’s what happened next. She then reached out to me by PM on Facebook and now I’m working with her as a mentor. She liked my approach, and while I didn’t do it to get a client, being of service was good karma for me.
In sum, if you really want to find clients online, make showing up and being of service a priority. There’s a saying: all else being equal, people do business with people they like.
And people like people who serve, not Pitchy McPitchersons.