Last time I talked about the Common Mistakes Freelancers Make when Selling Themselves Online and I tried to explain what is the problem with each of them.
This time, we will look into what exactly is a better way to proceed when selling yourself online.
There are different channels which you can use to find new clients. Your online presence is not only one of them, but it is also often used as additional part of all other channels.
Even after you have met someone in person at a networking event, he might still come to your site before taking the decision whether he want to work with you.
This is the reason why not only you should avoid common pitfalls but you should also optimize your site to win the potential client trust.
1. Make your online site about your clients
Sounds obvious but, it’s hard to find a freelancer or agency site which is focused on their clients. All of them are focused on how great they are. That’s why they are not earning as much as they could.
Your clients don’t care about you. They care about themselves and about the problems they face.
When potential clients open your site you want them to immediately identify that you are talking to them. Otherwise they will leave.
The first thing that they will read is your title. Your clients come to look for a solution to a problem they have. The title is the perfect place for mentioning their problem.
Here is an example for a freelancing copywriter
Turn more visitors into clients
The pain is very clear. You have visitors but they don’t become customers and you want that to change.
However, a title is not enough. Everything on your landing pages should be oriented towards your client.
After the title you could write additional one or two paragraphs focusing and reinforcing on the clients pain. It will help you gain his trust, because he will see that you really understand him.
Next, once he knows that you understand his pain, you should tell him what life can be without that pain.
What if your visitors understand immediately that you will help them?
Then you can continue by showing the solution to his problems, which is hiring you.
This is the moment when you finally can talk about yourself but again you should do it in regard of what the client is interested.
For example you can talk about the process you take to understand and analyze the requirements of the client. You can also talk about what you will do to make their business better.
This is also the place where you can use what is called “Social Proof”, when you list quotes and logos from companies and clients you worked for and who are happy.
However, even here you should be careful to select only the quotes which are useful to your future clients. A quote like We were very happy to work with him. is useless.
It sounds nice, but it says very little about whether you delivered results and what were the results that you delivered.
A better quote would be After he researched our clients he delivered a new design which doubled the number of existing customer and decrease the number of leaving customer by half.
It doesn’t sound sexy, but it is a lot more useful and it really proves to any potential client that it is worth hiring you.
As you’ve seen I never mentioned when you list your skills, because this is not what the client cares about. If he is really interested in this, he can always ask you in a conversation before you start the project.
2. Be clear what problems you are solving and how you are going to help
Making your marketing site about the client is only the beginning.
The first thing that can get wrong is when the client cannot understand what you are going to help him with, and how you are going to help him.
For example if you only talk about their problems, there is no way that they will understand how you are going to help them.
Also if you drown them in a list of the hundreds skills you have and all the technologies you know, they will be still left guessing what you will do with them.
Even if they understand your skills and buzz words, with the same kind of skills you have you can solve many different problems in many different ways.
Moreover, having some skills doesn’t mean that you can use them to solve a real world problem.
3. Use words, many words, long form is king
We have all seen those great looking web sites with one big inspiring image at the background, or maybe even a video background. They have very little text, sometime only a title in a beautiful font.
They look fantastic and they cannot sell anything. So much effort went useless.
With so little words, nobody can understand what you sell, what your services are, what problems you solve and how you can help them.
Not only that, but there is no way that they can trust you with their project worth thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands, after reading just one sentence.
The more text you have the more opportunity you will have to show that you understand the problem and that you can provide a meaningful solution.
Reading a long text is not boring and people would love to read it if it matters to them.
People don’t avoid long text because they have very little time, instead they select to read only long texts that really matter.
Write how great you are and nobody will read more than a few lines, but focus it on the client, their problem and how you will help them and they will read every last word of it.
Next they will come to your door asking for more and begging you to help them.
4. Solve specific problems
Focus on your clients is great, but it can be even better if you specialize in solving specific problems.
First, this will make you look like an expert in the field, and not only that but you will really become an expert. Solving the same issue again and again helps you understand it even better and find better solutions, too.
Second, you pay an expert much more than a generalist. Why do you think doctors on specific diseases earn twice as much (or even more) than a generalist physician? The same is true for freelancers and consultants.
Third, when you solve the same problems again and again, you can optimize your work-flow and your solutions, which in return can save you time and increase your profits.
The reason, why many freelancers are afraid to specialize is because they fear that they will lose customers who have other needs. You probably will, but you will also gain lots of other new customers.
5. Good sites not only attracts customers
Implementing my suggestions from above sometimes might seem a little counterintuitive.
Especially when you realize that by doing all of the above you will not only attract many people, but you will also make many other leave your site quickly.
This is good and is all part of the plan. Your site goal is not only to attract customers, but to attract the right customers. You don’t want to work with bad clients which will only lose your time.
The long form we’ve discussed above helps with this a lot.
First, it makes it much more clear who your website is for and who shouldn’t care about it.
Second, people who don’t care enough about the problems that you are solving will not bother to read the whole text. You are only interested in clients who really have the pain that you are removing, otherwise they won’t be able to value you and your services.
Everything I’ve talked about will only help you if you are solving real problem that people and companies are experiencing. Therefore the next logical steps is to research the customers you want to work with.
Look what problems they encounter that you can solve with the skills that you have. Then specialize in solving some of them.