Why am I in Germany this week? Because this is where my clients and potential clients are. As you may know, my freelance writing business focuses on the geospatial industry (a fancy word for ‘surveying and mapping’). And guess where the international geospatial profession is meeting right now? Germany, of course. The largest mapping conference in the world is in Frankfurt. That’s why I’m here too (although German beer and food factored into my decision as well.)
Seriously though, the best advice I give to freelance writers getting started is to go to the places your clients go. In this case, that means an industry trade show. Yes, getting here was expensive, but think about it – 535 mapping companies from all over the world are exhibiting at this event. And nearly every one of them is a potential client for my business.
This trip is my single biggest marketing expense of the year, and I take it very seriously. Over the past 25 years, I have developed and honed a strategy for finding new prospects at huge venues like this one. My preparation started weeks ago. The time for planning is before you leave home. Time on the ground at a trade show, especially in Europe, is too valuable to spend trying to figure out a strategy. By the time my flight touched down in Germany, I already had an agenda for each day of the show.
Please don’t think you have to fly all the way to Europe to find new clients, however. I had been in business seven years before I spent the money to attend an international professional event like this one. Until then, I went only to conferences in Denver and short flights away. As I became more successful, I invested more in marketing and traveled farther from home. There are plenty of trade shows in the United States you can attend, and there might even be some near where you live.
Once you get the hang of it, I predict you will enjoy prospecting at professional events as much as I do. In my new Marketing & Sales Mini Course, I talk at length about trade shows, conferences and other ways I keep my prospect pipeline full and find new clients for my freelance writing business. Check it out here. You can also take my free class on Six-Figure Freelancing: Keys to Success.