1. Speak at local events. Look for groups, meetups and gatherings of people who’re in or related to your industry. Speak at these events to position yourself as an expert and gain more exposure.
2. Speak at seminars and conventions. Offer to speak at seminars and conventions. If you have a recognizable brand name, most organizers would be thrilled to have the opportunity.
3. Sponsor an event. If you’re a solo service provider, sponsor a small event in your area. If you’re a large service provider, sponsor a bigger event.
4. Get covered by the press. Come up with some unique angle and pitch it to reporters. Use tools like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to find reporters looking to do stories.
5. Take out a small newspaper ad. This works great if you provide services to local clients.
6. Network and follow up. Go to minglers, mixers and professional events and meet people in your target market.
7. Give free advice. Do it both online and offline. Demonstrate your credibility first before trying to sell.
8. Answer questions on LinkedIn. This helps build your credibility online, which often translates into real world contacts.
9.Build a professional website. Having a great looking website helps create trust with people who’re considering hiring you.
10. Ask for referrals. Talk to people you know, including but not limited to past clients and ask for referrals.
11. Run a mailing list. Develop a relationship with others in your field over time by mailing useful content regularly.
12. Run a Q&A mailing list, blog or website. Become known as the person to go to for questions in a particular arena.
13. Copy your competitors. How are your competitors getting clients? Do what they do. In fact, see if you can do what they do, only better.
14. Join a Business Networking International (BNI) network. BNI can be a great source of leads for offline service providers.
15. Get on Yelp. Try to be the most positively reviewed provider in your area. Yelp profiles often rank very well in search engines.
16. Put your USP (unique selling proposition) on your business card. People who look at your card should instantly understand your value offering and what sets you apart.
17. Get to know university professors. Professors are fantastic connectors and know people in all kinds of different fields. They often know very powerful people. Reconnect with old professors and see if they can help connect you with anyone who could help your business.
18. Network with lawyers and accountants. Every business needs a lawyer and an accountant. If your clients are businesses, networking with lawyers and accountants can be a potential gold mine.
19. Mail your legacy clients. Most people only ask for referrals or sales from current clients or recent clients. But your legacy clients, meaning clients that dropped off a long time ago, could still harbour a lot of good will towards you. See if you can tap into that for more business or for more referrals.
20. Cold call. Many Fortune 100 companies were built initially by some guy in his bedroom, cold calling. Humana is one prime example, as was Microsoft. Bill Gates just cold called both the programmer of DOS and the buyer of DOS. Cold calling might seem scary, but it does work.
21. Offer to write guest posts. Write fantastic articles for other people’s sites and send the traffic back to yours with a link in the article.
22. Offer to write for small time publications and trade newsletters. If you have experience, reputation or background in the industry, they’ll often be happy to have you.
23. Start a blog. Help people in your target market by providing great content.
24. Be active on social media. Regularly post great content to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles. People who follow you will come to see you as more and more of an expert.
25. Call in to a radio show. Give your name and either ask a well informed question or make a comment that really helps listeners.
26. Ask past clients to give you credit on their website. For instance, if you did some graphics for a client, ask them to put that the graphics were by you on the bottom of their site. If you were their coach, ask them to talk about their experience on their blog.
27. Join your local chamber of commerce. You’ll often meet valuable contacts that can either become clients or people you can work business deals with.
28. Advertise on popular message boards. Look for message boards in your industry where your target market gathers and advertise there.
29. Submit proposals on oDesk and eLance. Look for jobs other people are posting up that fit your specialty.
30. Offer to work for a freelance shop. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, look for a freelance writing agency and offer to be one of their writers.
31. Practice your elevator pitch. Have a strong 30 second answer for the “what do you do” question. Sometimes your best clients come from chance meetings.
32. Wear a T-Shirt to locations where potential customers are. For example, go to a trade show with your brand’s logo on your shirt.
33. Befriend connectors. Develop connections with Twitter users, bloggers, Facebook page owners and other individuals who have a lot of connections. See if you can help them, so sometime later they might help you.
34. Buy Google AdWords. Bid on keywords related to your industry. Focus on “buying keywords,” words that someone who’s ready to buy might type in.
35. Buy banner ads on related sites. Find websites that your target market frequents and buy banner ads on those sites.
36. Write a free eBook and give it away. This helps you build credibility. Put as much great content as you can in your free eBook.
37. Produce a big virtual event with other people in your industry. For example, if you’re in the social media business, get 10 social media consultants together to do a big online workshop about social media. Use the leads to market your services.
38. Do a publicity stunt. Google publicity stunt examples and see if you can do something similar for your business.
39. Join competitions and win. If you’re a writer, look for writing contests. If you’re a designer, look for design contests. Consultants could look into speaking contests. Put a lot of time into your entry, as a winning placement could mean a lot of exposure.
40. Use Craigslist. Post in the services section and respond to posts in the “gigs” section.
41. Mail or email companies with free advice. If you’re a website conversion specialist, mail possible conversion improving advice to companies.
42. Yellow pages advertising. Buy an ad in the appropriate section in the yellow pages.
43. Co-work with other freelancers. Working with other people is a great way to network and meet both potential clients and people who could refer you to clients.
44. Host your own meetup. Go to http://www.meetup.com and create a meetup on your topic. Having your own meetup is a fantastic way to get more exposure, meet potential clients and build your network.
45. Publish a book. Write a book about your subject and get it published. Even if you never sell over a thousand copies, being a published author will still massively boost your credibility. Nobody will ever ask you how many copies you’ve sold.
46. Get your work featured on a compilation site. For example, if you build websites, enter a website you built into a website that compiles examples of great website designs.
47. Create a referral reward system. Give clients and other referrers rewards for sending you new clients. Rewards can be financial or non-financial.
48. Play with your prices. Sometimes when you raise your prices, you actually get more clients. Working with a few high priced clients might be a better model than a few lower priced ones. Alternatively, you might be priced to high and might need to lower your price to attract more clients.
49. Contact your former employer. Your former employer can be a fantastic source of leads. They could even be your first client.
50. Put flyers up in relevant local boards. For example, post a flyer on your chamber of commerce’s board, or post flyers on boards in co-working spaces.