I am a self employed web developer and have been advertising on a classified site called Gumtree in Australia. I have gotten a few clients calling in from time to time however I believe expanding my postings to other regions as well as classified sites overseas can help me obtain more leads.
I was wondering if anyone has experience in doing this and how I can avoid being flagged as a spammer - as well as whether I should employ people overseas to post the sites or if I should just get an IP blocker.
In my experience, classified sites have always been a total waste of time. I've been in business for 15 years now and here's what has worked for me:
- Referrals - absolutely the best method hands down
- Facebook Advertising
- Becoming a trusted expert in the forums of whatever platform you use
- Guest blogging/guest on podcasts
- Community involvement (trade groups, conferences, forums)
- SEO using long-tail - broad keywords like web developer are impossible
What hasn't worked well:
- Bidding out jobs on sites like Upwork (the competition there is tough to match on price)
- Direct marketing (mail, personal emails, cold calling)
There really are no geographic boundaries when it comes to web development - many of our clients are in Europe and Australia so don't limit yourself to just your home country!
I’ve worked with over 500 digital, creative and marketing type agencies from 1-42,000 employees. I started out as you are today, a web developer. It’s taken me several hundred millions pounds worth of reviewed pipelines for new business over the last 10 years to finally understand the following insight. Firstly agency businesses find new business much easier when they build trust/chemistry and demonstrate their capability with a prospect. You need both things ideally to win a sale! There are 5 main ways agency win business. The first four I call it the 30/30/30/10 methodology and the second one is Fame. 30% of your new business should come from 1. Nest (Networking (inc social selling) /Speaking/Thoughleadership and Events) 2. 30% of your new business leads should come from strategic partnerships that drive referrals. 3. 30% of leads should come from existing Ciients recommending you new clients or leaving their job and taking you to the next company they go to. Finally the 10% area which whilst is important for the 8-12 touch point marketing activity needed on average to make a sale. It contains marketing activity such as seo, outbound cold calls, classified sites, ppc, social media, email news letters, other such outbound activity. Of course we all know of a big sale from ppc or a cold call, but over large amounts of data reviewed these are the actual stats on where leads come from.
Why not approach from a different angle. Rather than passivley looking for work posting ads, look on sites such as upwork.com (US) where clients are activley looking for contractors like yourself and have already posted what they need for you to determine wether you could help them or not? This would produce better and faster results for you.
The other key element there, is the business you are in is a commodity these days, so in order to get clients you need to provide outstanding customer service and be certain you can accomplish the job.
Develop a manual process and take notes. Once you've had a little bit of success, hire a virtual assistant and provide them with a standard operating procedure with the types of jobs to reply to, language to use, etc.