In 2014, I wrote a post on e-mail marketing for translators. Since then, I have learned a lot, both from courses and experience, and I would like to share an update to that strategy using LinkedIn.
In my original post, I mentioned creating a list of potential clients to contact. You will still need to do that, but, with LinkedIn, I find that you can make it more effective. Instead of using google to find your target companies, use LinkedIn, because when you do that, you also automatically find the people who work in it, and that makes it easier for you to pinpoint the relevant person that you want to contact.
In my case, I run a simple company search for companies in my target industries, i.e. pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, medical device companies and market research companies; basically any type of company that may require medical translations.
Then, find the people that you should be talking to on LinkedIn. Every type of company will have a denomination for the person who manages translation services, larger companies with a high demand will have translation vendor managers or perhaps translation project managers. You can find the right people using the advanced search tool. Look for people by specifying their current company and the keyword translation. In many cases, you will find someone who has something to do with translation, and you can contact this person. Even if the person is not the decision-maker, the person is likely to be able to point you in the right direction.
When you use the search function on LinkedIn, if a particular person is in your network as a 2nd degree connection or as part of one of your groups, then you can easily ask to connect with them. Otherwise, check out the groups that the people you are interested in have joined and join them. Joining relevant groups creates a great opportunity for exposure, for finding opportunities and for networking.
Next, if the person accepts your invitation to connect, which in my experience most people do when they realize that you have something to do with their industry (make sure your profile is strong). Then you can send a brief message thanking the person for accepting your invite, introducing yourself and the reason for your contact.
It can be as simple as, “Thank you for connecting with me. I am a translator between such and such languages and I am looking to expand my network of contacts in this industry. If you are aware of any demand for translations in your company, I would be very grateful if you could refer me to the appropriate individual. I hope both of our business can benefit from a professional connection.” Naturally, if you have interacted with this person in a group, if you know someone they know, if you have been to their school, i.e. if there is any connection between the two of you other than your interest, make sure to mention that as well, because people are more likely to respond when they are personally engaged.
If you get a positive reply, you follow up from there. You may send them your marketing brochure, ask them if they are available for a quick call to discuss what their needs might be, or they may have directed you to someone else that you may contact about your services.
If they do not reply, do not worry, because you are now in their network and they will see all your updates, etc.
If they do not accept your invite, do not worry either. They are now aware of you and if you keep present in the same groups where they are, etc. Eventually, if they need your services, they will remember.
In either case, once the initial contact has been established, do not pester people. The advantage of having them in your network is that you can be visible without directly contacting them all the time to follow-up. Now your work is to be present, by participating in group discussions, engaging with content from people with whom you may want to work and creating content that is valuable for your target clients.
Make it a rule that your presence should add value, never comment on a topic in which you have no interest, do not praise if you do not think people deserve it and really only write article or updates when you think you have something valuable to share.
If you truly strive to provide value, people will know you for your expertise and will cherish that. They will not automatically overlook whenever they see something that you have posted, and, more importantly, they will remember you when they need your services.
This strategy can have immediate benefits, for example, I have signed up with several translation agencies by contacting their vendor managers within days of the initial contact. Nonetheless, bear in mind that this is for the long term and you want your audience to be familiar with you, so that when they come to you for your services, they feel like they know you and they can trust you.
Good luck and please share your ideas with me. How else do you promote your translation business?