Recruiting clients can be a tricky business, but it’s something that every freelance professional translator must master if they are to succeed.
So why is it that some translators seem to effortlessly pick up clients whenever they need to, while others struggle with it? Here we look at five possible reasons why you might be failing to recruit new clients and provide some quick fixes to help you improve your approach.
The problem: If you pitch your price for new work too high, you are in danger of pricing yourself out of the market and frightening off new clients before you’ve even had a chance to show them what a good translator you are. Paradoxically, set your rate too low and potential clients might see your service as being of inferior quality.
The solution: Check your competitors’ websites and marketing materials to find out what they charge, then set your price accordingly. That way you can gauge your rate to ensure that you are charging a fair price.
#2 Lack of credibility
The problem: Most potential new clients will know nothing or little about you at the point you are trying to win them over and may be nervous about putting their work into the hands of a stranger.
The solution: Gather together a portfolio of testimonials from satisfied clients and put them on your website and other marketing materials for the world to see. After all, if you don’t shout about your own abilities and success, nobody else will either.
#3 Misdirected marketing
The problem: Being a freelance translator doesn’t automatically make you a marketing expert, so perhaps your marketing efforts are being misdirected and potential clients are not coming across you.
• Again, check out the competition and take a closer look at those you find first, as clearly their marketing efforts are working the best.
• Be sure to have a website, even if it’s just a basic brochure site.
• Brush up your marketing skills by becoming familiar with social media marketing techniques.
• Use a blog on your website to boost up the search engine rankings and be keyword-savvy in what you write on it for maximum effect.
• Market yourself on relevant online forums. Look into language based forums rather than just translation ones, as it might be that a proofreading forum has translation opportunities that many of your competitors miss.
#4 Special skills
The problem: Potential clients are finding you, but turning away as they believe you don’t have the specialist skills that they are looking for.
The solution: List on your marketing materials every kind of translation that you undertake. Don’t just state that you are a translator, specify that your experience includes insurance document translation, medical translation, patent translation… whatever they may be, ensure that your special skills are highlighted on your website and other marketing materials. Use social media to further this cause by joining groups and forums specific to your translation expertise.
#5 That certain something
The problem: Potential clients are put off by your uber-professional manner, which is masking your friendly personality.
The solution: Allow your personality to shine through on your marketing collateral. Let potential clients get a feel for you and your manner, so that they can see you as someone that they want to engage with, who will do a good job and who will be a lovely person to deal with. Perhaps offer a ‘free first 100 words’ or something else to engage them, so that they can experience first-hand what a pleasure you are to work with, then keep coming back for more.
What are your tips for recruiting new clients? What do you find has worked best? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box.