How to Create a Lead Generation System (for Freelancers)

When you work as a freelancer, you need to collect leads. There are tons of lead generation systems out there, but most require some sort of upfront investment.

As a freelancer, you need to find new clients. That means you need to create a system that sends leads to you on a regular basis.

But what if you don’t have any money to invest in a lead gen system? Then you need the free lead generation strategies outlined in this article.

Keep reading, and I’ll teach you all about it.

This article contains affiliate links. If you follow them and then make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional expense to you. Thanks for reading!

What is lead generation and why you need a system

A lead generally refers to a potential customer or client who you know how to contact. There are different types and qualities of leads, but they can be broken into two main categories: Outbound leads and inbound leads.

An outbound lead is someone whose information you have acquired so that you can reach out to them. This can be done by visiting their website or social media, by using a “lead scraper” software, by running ads to a lead gen form, or through other methods.

An inbound lead is someone who learns about your product, services, or business and contacts you directly. Referrals are the simplest method of inbound lead generation, but content marketing is the most popular because it can be used consistently on many platforms from YouTube to Facebook to your own blog.

The idea behind having an organic lead generation system is that you can bring in new leads consistently while spending little to no money on marketing or advertising. The goal is to create a reliable source of leads that you can use to grow your business over time.

Why lead generation is important

lead generation google search

Lead generation is critical because it helps you meet and build relationships with potential clients. Once you have those relationships, you can start building trust and convert them into paying customers.

It’s a process that takes time, so you need to be patient. However, once you’re able to consistently generate leads, it’s easier to grow your income and your work may become significantly less stressful.

How to make money from your lead generation system

A proper lead generation system should mostly bring you ideal prospects – people who are already interested in the services you offer. This is one of the reasons I prefer inbound methods like content marketing over cold outreach; when you publish targeted content, most people who reach out to you will already want what you’re offering.

As soon as you’re in touch with a new lead, it should activate your sales process. This may include validation (making sure they are an ideal client who can afford your services), determining the services you’ll provide and the price, and a timeline as well as other details. 

The easiest way to build trust with prospective customers is to talk to them on the phone or via a video call. Because I value my time and theirs, I usually offer a free fifteen minute call to qualify and validate them, and then offer a paid thirty or sixty minute consultation. 

You can also offer a free consultation right away, but I rarely do this anymore because it occasionally gives my time to people who lack the budget or commitment to work with me. By doing a quick fifteen minute call for free and then moving to a paid consultation, I quickly turn the prospect into a paying customer so that I can help them as much as possible.

How to create a lead generation system

maximum lead generation

You may think that creating a lead generation system requires a huge budget. In some cases, you would be right. It’s easy to spend money on ads, landing page software, and other tools that attract potential leads for you.

However, there are many ways to build a lead gen system without spending a dime. In fact, the method outlined below costs nothing at all. While I do recommend having an optin funnel on your website or landing page, you can build one for free on many marketing platforms.

Lead generation strategies

You can start by creating a landing page. Landing pages are very popular because they allow you to test different copy, images, and calls to action before committing to a full site build.

A landing page is a web page designed to capture a visitor’s contact information. You can offer a free resource such as a PDF or video training course, but require that visitors sign up for an email list to receive it.

If you don’t want to use landing pages, you can create a blog with articles your ideal clients will find helpful instead. By including lead generation forms on your blog posts, you can gather contact information from anyone who wants personal help.

While there are many lead generation strategies available to you, this article will focus on one that is beginner friendly: Facebook organic marketing. Once you learn this method, you can extrapolate the principles and apply them to lead generation campaigns on other social media channels.

Crafting your step-by-step lead generation process on Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. It has over 2 billion active users who spend around 3 hours per day on average on the platform.

This makes Facebook a great place to find clients. After all, most people are more likely to buy something when they find it recommended on social media.

lead generation statistics data

Step 1: Create a customer avatar

A customer avatar is a fictional representation of a client or customer that you use to better understand your audience. You can even create a customer avatar based on traits of real people.

For example, if you want to work with small business owners your strategy will look different than if you’re hoping to attract C-suite executives from large companies.

Click here to get my free customer avatar worksheet and learn more about how to create yours.

Step 2: Find Facebook groups your avatar would frequent

Regardless of what you’re selling, there are probably Facebook groups full of people interested in potentially buying it. We’ll go with the example of content writing services.

There are actually many groups on Facebook dedicated to connecting writers with clients. But you could also find prospects in groups related to topics like blogging, SEO, or business development.

Step 3: Create value in groups without asking for anything in return

Once you’ve found relevant groups, join them. If you’re not sure what kind of value will be appreciated in the group, pay attention to popular posts from other people.

The best way to get started is by answering questions and providing other valuable comments. Once you become somewhat known, you can begin to create your own posts where you share your expertise.

As long as you don’t expect anything in return, most groups will be okay with you sharing knowledge and experience. And some people who find it especially helpful may reach out to you via direct message.

Step 4: Validating potential clients

There are many ways to validate potential clients, but before you commit to working with someone, you should make sure they are happy to pay your going rate and that you see eye to eye.

A good way of accomplishing this is a short initial question-and-answer meeting, or a questionnaire that they must fill out to access your services.

Step 5: Making the sale

Whether you have a sales team or you handle sales yourself, it’s much easier to sell at ideal prices when talking with qualified leads. By the time someone gets to this point in your sales funnel, you should more or less know if they’re likely to buy.

Step 6: Fulfillment

Once you have a client, it’s critical that you deliver high quality work quickly. This means following up regularly to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

If you want to grow your freelancing business, delivering above and beyond what your clients expect is one of the best ways. Even if you use no other lead generation tactics, creating happy clients will increase your chance of referrals.

Best free and paid lead generation tools

facebook lead generation

If you’re just getting started, you may not have a big budget for lead generation tools. That’s why I compiled this list of the best free lead generation and email marketing tools.

GetResponse

GetResponse is the email marketing software I use to grow my list and my business. Part of the average lead generation strategy usually involves collecting contact information such as an email address. But what do you do next? That’s where GetResponse comes in.

With email marketing you can segment your contacts into those who are sales qualified and those who may not be ready to buy. For example, you can send an email that would only be of interest to serious business owners and then add anyone who opens it to a new segment.

Convertbox

Convertbox is another great tool for building a list of potential buyers. It’s an on-site messaging software (otherwise known as a pop-up builder or lead form builder). It integrates with GetResponse as well as most other major email marketing platforms.

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free local listing that appears in Google search results when people are looking for relevant local services and products. Google My Business (often called GMB) is an essential part of any local online marketing strategy.

You can set up your own Google My Business account by visiting google.com/business.

GMB increases your chances of appearing near the top of Google search, giving you increased odds of getting your potential customer’s attention.

Jasper.ai

Jasper.ai (previously known as Jarvis.ai and Conversion.ai) is an AI writing software perfect for creating any kind of content. Whether you need a blog post, a social media post, or a response to a review, Jasper has built-in tools to help.

As a marketer I use Jasper.ai almost every day. It’s great for writing copy that boosts engagement, and can save the average marketing team a ton of time and brainpower.

Systeme.io

Systeme.io is a Europe-based all-in-one marketing platform. It combines features such as funnels, websites, blogs, email marketing, customer management, memberships, and even webinars into one simple dashboard.

The great thing about Systeme is it has a forever-free tier that includes all the tools you need to create a beginner sales funnel. Follow this link to claim your free account (it’ll come loaded with an optin funnel I designed, which you can easily customize).

Lead generation examples for finding qualified leads

Here are some examples of lead generation that can be used by most businesses.

Email Marketing Lead Generation With Email “Solo” Ads

Solo ads are where you pay someone with a relevant email list to include your offer in an email to their followers. The standard way to use solo ads is to send the traffic to a landing page with a free resource, but you can also send traffic to a piece of content or even a sales page.

Solo email ads are great for beginners because they don’t require any special skills. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you can potentially get results FAST with solo ads.

Note: Solo ad services are very different from a personalized email ad. Solo ad services are websites where you can choose from a variety of email lists and pay to have your offer sent to them. Many solo ad dealers use questionable (and sometimes illegal) practices to grow their lists, and will encourage you to do the same so you will get “better” results.

Cold Email Campaigns For B2B Marketers

If your ideal clients are other business owners, you can find them using LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional network that’s designed specifically for business professionals.

To start growing your freelance business, you’ll first need to build your profile. This means adding all the relevant details about yourself, including your work history, education, and relevant experience.

Once you have your profile, you can use Linkedin search to find an ideal customer and then track down their email address either on Linkedin or on their website.

Cold email is difficult to do well, but when you do it well it can be an incredibly effective way to engage your future customers.

Conclusion – Implementing Your Lead Generation Strategy

Lead generation systems are an essential part of every freelancer’s toolkit. They’re used to generate leads for sales, and they’re also used to create a steady stream of new clients.

In this post, we covered everything you need to know about lead generation systems, including how to set them up, how to keep them running smoothly, and how to scale them when necessary.

If you want to learn more about lead generation, check out these free and affordable courses.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lead Generation

Here are some answers to common questions about lead generation.

What is lead generation in digital marketing?

Lead Generation is the process of obtaining contact information belonging to potential customers. This can be done via scraping the web for their information (outbound prospecting) or by using content and other marketing materials to influence them to reach out to you on their own.

How can I generate leads quickly?

For outbound lead generation you can use a web scraper like D7 Lead Finder to gather data from websites and social media platforms. For inbound lead generation a quick way is to create viral content with a link back to your website.

Which is the best platform for lead generation?

D7 Lead Finder is a powerful and simple but effective lead scraping software. If you want to gather relevant contact information for multiple businesses within a certain geographic area, D7 is a great place to start.

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About Alex

AI writing expert, digital and affiliate marketer - helping you build the business in your brain.