While some people have the luxury of working solely online, with clients dispersed throughout the world, the reality is that most freelancers need to cultivate local clients — those that they can meet in real life — in order to pay the bills. Freelance web developer Matthew Pennell has written a post with four useful tips on making more money from local connections.
Matthew says that you should:
- Make local connections
- Find your neighbors online
- Participate in offline community
- Use search engine optimization to capture local searches
In particular, I think that the advice on getting out there and meeting your local peers (by joining some groups, perhaps) is valuable: you never know what opportunities might come your way through your network.
The advice to localize your SEO efforts is also worth bearing in mind. Localized searches (for example, “web designer in Bridgeport, Conneticut”) are much more valuable from an SEO perspective. As Matthew notes, there is much less competition for a localized phrase than a more generic one. Clients like dealing with local businesses that they can meet in person. It’s also generally true that local searchers are further along the buying cycle, which means that those searches are far more valuable, as the searcher is more qualified and more likely to make a purchase.
How do you make better use of local connections?