Getting Clients:Part Two
Last week, I kicked off a three part series about getting clients, since it's one of the questions I'm asked about the most. The first post covered word of mouth and referrals, so feel free to go back and review if you missed it. Today's post, however, goes over an approach that's a tad more obvious: selling yourself. There's a bunch of different ways you can go about doing this, so I'm going to go over two of the biggest impacts you can make ... your own website and social media.
Let’s begin with your website, since it’s the easiest way for people to find you. I'm going to write from the perspective of a creative, since that covers the majority of Rowan Made's audience. If your business doesn't fall within this niche, feel free to adapt the following advice to whatever it is that you're promoting or selling!
Also note that although I'm a designer (and could go on and on about the importance of layout and typography and all that good stuff), I'm going to focus primarily on strategy. It's the first step of any GOOD website and honestly, we can save all of the design goodies for a later time. ;) That said, here are some of the key pages your website should have in order to get clients or customers:
01. HOME: Your homepage is the first thing that most people will see. Not only that, but they’ll decide whether or not to even stay within the first few seconds. So, make sure their first impression is informational.
The best tactic here is to share a short and sweet mission statement towards the top of your website, something that speaks directly to your people. For example, the tagline we use is: "This is Rowan Made. A Small design studio with a knack for simplicity and purpose." This tells news users that a: we're a design studio and b: our aesthetic leans towards simplicity, backed up by purpose. What you choose will obviously be different from us and depend entirely on what you do, sell, or share. But sharing some sort of message is key.
Think of your homepage as a starting point for your audience. From there, you’ll want to guide them towards whatever is next, whether it’s through a main menu or call to action. Let's take a look at a few examples:
The Being Boss homepage literally says what they are (a podcast) before their logo even appears. From there, you'll see a few different call to actions. There's a slider that takes you through their various content options (episodes, minisodes, clubhouse, vacation). Then, there's a main menu that repeats a lot of that and then some. Plus! They have even more call to actions sprinkled below all of this in the form of latest blog posts and such.
Next, let's take a look at the Yellow Conference website. Their strategy is actually simpler and focuses on sharing what they do, right away. From there, the rest of the homepage is literally all call to actions. You can either click to learn more about their conference, or click to learn more about their collective. Simple does it. :)
02. ABOUT: Next up is the about page, which in general, is the first thing most users click on in a main menu. Human connection is a big deal and your people simply want to learn more about who you are and how you work in order to decide if they’d like to explore even further.
Now, don’t let this scare or overwhelm you. The best thing you can do here is to just be yourself. Don’t write like a robot. Write like you’d speak, whether you’re funny, encouraging, realistic, sarcastic, or to the point. If you lean into who you truly are, the right people will notice and stick around. And they’ll certainly be more excited at the idea of working with you. Here are a few examples of uniquely written about pages:
03. PORTFOLIO: The next logical stop is your portfolio. A place where you, the creative, can shine. Just make sure that you’re focusing on quality, not quantity.
The work you share should be a reflection of the work you’d like to take on in the future. There’s no need to water down your portfolio with sub-par pieces, just to establish a greater volume of work. I can guarantee you that potential clients are not going to sit around and count how many projects you have in your portfolio. They’re going to click through, scroll, and absorb themselves with your work. And if they like what they see, they’re going to continue clicking.
04. SERVICES & PROCESS: One thing I’ve noticed is that not all creatives share their services or process online. And honestly, I don't think that's doing them any favors. Potential clients will most likely be shopping around at this point, and if they can’t learn more about either of these things, chances are they’ll get frustrated, click out, and end up with somebody else.
And that’s not how you get clients. So keep them engaged by being upfront and honest about not only the services you offer, but the way you work as well! If a potential client has already enjoyed everything else you’ve shared on your website, this is the cherry on top. Where they realize that “hey, this person offers what I need in a way that feels right. And I wanna see what we can do together.”
And just like that, you’ve got yourself an inquiry.
05. CONTACT: Speaking of inquiries, a contact page is the vessel that delivers these people to you. Sure, you could simply list your email somewhere on your website and leave it at that, but why not take it a step further and gather as much information as you can, up front.
This is where contact forms come in handy. Here, you can get creative and ask for more than just a name, phone number, or email address. You can gather information like:
— What is your business name?
— How long have you been in business?
— What is your budget?
— What service of mine resonate with you?
— What is your ideal timeline?
— Where did you hear about me?
Asking these questions helps cut down on a lot of the back and forth that typically happens after the first contact. In fact, I've seen a few creatives take this a step further and treat their contact form almost like an application. Check out Melissa Yeager and The Veda House, as two great (and detailed) examples of this.
06. OPTIONAL BLOG: And last, but certainly not least, is the idea of incorporating a blog. It’s a wonderful medium for those of you who’d like to share more than what social media allows, but it’s by no means a must have. If you don’t have any interest in maintaining an engaging blog, then don’t do it. Social media, nowadays, is a perfectly fine way to communicate with your people. So don’t worry too much if blogging isn’t your thing. ;)
And that brings me to the second topic in selling yourself that I’d like to talk about: social media. It’s by far one of the most used tactics in getting clients these days. And for good reason! So let’s dive into how you can utilize social media to your advantage.
The first thing I’ll mention is the simple idea that you do NOT need to sign up for everything. If snapchat isn’t your thing, don’t use it. If you’re long winded and twitter annoys the hell out of you, don’t bother.
Of course you should put yourself out there, because that’s marketing 101. But you should sign up for platforms that are enjoyable and work for you, not the other way around.
For example, do you remember when periscope was more of a big thing? I remember seeing so many creatives around me utilize the platform and it got to a point where I felt like I needed to sign up in order to be aligned with the masses. Yet, I had zero interest. The idea of live streaming was anxiety inducing, at least for me, and I didn’t want to bring any of that into my business. So I didn’t. And that’s okay.
The secret to getting clients through social media (or clients in general, really) is not found within the platforms you use. It’s found within the genuine excitement you have about whatever it is that you’re doing or sharing.
Without it, your people will never become your people. So lean in to your purpose and be yourself. On whatever platforms you enjoy. And you’ll find that the act of getting clients will happen almost entirely on it’s own.
It’s as simple as that.
I know that this section is shorter than some of you may have expected, but that's because I truly believe that if you follow the above "secret," nothing else matters. Not posting X times a day at this or that time. Not hashtagging all of the things. Not constantly live streaming. Just pure. genuine. excitement.
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Next week, we'll be chatting about what you can do whenever you hear crickets, so stay tuned! It's the last piece of the puzzle and includes a lot of great tactics for those of you who are just starting out, or for those of you who may be experiencing a slower than normal season. ;)