It’s always tough balancing doing client work and finding new clients. As designers, we find it easy being creative, but not so comfortable when it comes to marketing ourselves. To do both well certainly takes a lot of time and was something that I really struggled with when I first started out.
I would spend all my time doing the best work I could, in the hope that it would attract new business, but when the inquiries for client work started to dry up I began to lose confidence. I didn’t know why this was happening and the decision to take time away from creating work to focus on marketing my services, seemed risky as I had no idea what to do.
I was assured by so-called experts that 'if you build it they will come' - If you put out great work, the clients will find you and they will hire you. But this wasn't true for me and I couldn't afford to keep waiting to be found as I had bills to pay and a family to support.
How would I know if it was going to be successful? What if I just spent my valuable time doing marketing that didn’t work? I’d be in a worse of position than now as I would have wasted hard earned money and used up time that could’ve been spent on client work.
Fortunately for you I’ve been there and over the years, I have refined my process so that not only do I attract clients so I am booked in advance, but they are the right type of clients. They respect my talent and give me the creative freedom to do work I love. Crucially, they pay me very well to do it, over 5x more than I used to get when I was rushing around desperate to take any work I could.
I want to share my experience with you so you don’t waste your hard earned money and precious time on activities that won’t result in the growth of your business and will leave you disillusioned and depressed. Nothing inspires me more than when someone is brave enough to start a new business based on their passion and so I want to help make sure that you never have to consider going back to a job you hate just to pay the bills.
During consultations with numerous designers and freelancers I see the same mistakes being made time after time and so let me share the Top 5 reasons why your website isn’t getting you more clients.
1) No clear message
When a potential client lands on your site, they need to know instantly what you do, why do they need it and how can they get it. This comes down to you understanding who your target market is, knowing what service you provide and being clear on why they need your services. Your message needs to be front and centre, easy to find and clear in its message.
2) No obvious call to action
The space ‘above the fold’ is the most valuable on your site as it’s where your potential client will arrive and you don’t want them struggling to find a way to get in touch with you.
If they have to spend time trying to find it, or scrolling to the bottom of the page, then this will result in them getting bored, frustrated and giving up. This is especially true if you haven't given them a compelling reason to contact you (part1).
Ideally there should be a very visible ‘call to action’ such as a ’Schedule a meeting’ underneath your opening message (mentioned in part 1) so that they read that and are compelled to find out more.
3) There’s no social proof
Before we spend our money on anything (eating out, buying a product online, hiring a tradesman) we always want to know that they are trustworthy and won’t let us down. This is why we will check reviews and ratings before making a final decision. The same is true of your website.
Potential clients may love your work, but they need reassurance that you can deliver on your promises and so will want to see a track record of success through customer reviews, testimonials and awards. Without these you’ll struggle to convince any potential customers of your credibility.
4) You don’t have case studies
Case studies are very powerful at attracting clients and not just any clients, but the right type of clients who will respect what you do and be a joy to work with. They allow you to walk through client through your working process so that they can see how you work and why they should hire you. Just posting work on its own without any context will always undersell its impact and make people questions the validity of the work.
5) A neglected Blog
Clients are looking to see a depth of knowledge about your industry, in particular your niche offering and a blog is a perfect way to do this. Writing a regular blog does many things, but one of the main reasons for doing it is to demonstrate how much you know.
When they can see that you have written multiple times about what you do, it is reassuring. They don’t even need to read all of your posts, but a track record of consistently posting is very appealing.
But this leads into the second reason why a blog is helpful at attracting clients. By posting regularly at least once a week show professionalism and commitment in the same way that posting once every 2 months shows laziness. For it to work, you must do it every week, like clockwork and demonstrate a reputation for reliability and dependability.