Now – the BEST way to get new clients is by being GREAT at what you do and treating the clients you do have like the rockstars they are. They will automatically tell their friends about you and there is nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth referrals. However, that method could take a loooooooooong time to pull off and you need new clients, like, yesterday, right? So here’s my secret…
I call it “Referral Partnerships” and it works like magic. If you’re a web designer, chances are you’re at least acquainted with other freelancers/businesses in adjacent industries… like photography, copywriting, SEO, social media management, graphic design, videography, marketing strategy, etc. Reach out to your favorite of these companies and suggest a referral partnership – where you send referrals to each other for a fee. I currently have an SEO partner who sends me a percentage of the referrals I send them – for the LIFE of the contract. I get over $1,200/month from this relationship alone and I do NOTHING. Granted… I did years of research to find an over-the-top awesome SEO company to partner with! (There’s a LOT of bad ones out there, guys!) I return the same favor… if they send me a website project that moves forward – I send them a referral check. I have this same deal setup for a dozen partners and man do they LOVE sending me business!
Don’t forget other web designers for referral partnerships! We all have our favorite markets to work in and people to work with. For example, I refuse to work with businesses in the auto industry (my only two dissatisfied clients out of HUNDREDS were in this industry). So if I get an inquiry from an auto company, I will happily refer them to a web designer who will be a much better fit than me… and make a referral fee in the process. See the win-win-win in this scenario? Those are the BEST scenarios… everybody wins! What’s not to love?!
One warning regarding the referral partnership method… make sure you only partner with STELLAR companies who are great at what they do and treat their customers even better. Your referral to those companies is a reflection of you and your business… no referral fee is worth a pissed off client ready to leave negative reviews all over the internet.
If you haven’t already – start brainstorming right now on what people/businesses you can team up with for referral partnerships. I bet you get a few referrals right away – let me know in the comments below!
Kelly is owner of KDesign. She has an MBA with a Marketing emphasis from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and a BS in Information Systems with minors in Math, Spanish and Art from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Learn more about Kelly