Getting people to visit your website is the easy part these days. The hard part is getting those people to use your website; to sell them on your services, and then get them to take action to get in touch with you and hire you.
As a freelancer, having a stockpile of leads at your disposal is a comforting thought. Knowing you can pick up a new project and get paid for it at any time is what will keep you in business, and food on your table.
I’ve been freelancing on and off for 6 years, and have never struggled to get new clients when I needed a new project. Rather than trying to drive as much traffic as possible to my website, I’ve always focused on one thing to get more leads:
Build a website that made people come to me.
Like I said, getting people on your website isn’t the hard part. The hard part is retaining them and getting them to take the action you want them to (message you for work).
In other words, build a website that does all the work for you; that promotes your services and skills, shows your experience, and tells your story.
You see, all of these things spiral back to one thing: trust. The beautiful thing about having a website is that it’s a reflection of you. Your website is always talking to people even when you personally aren’t.
I believe a website that speaks for you and your services should follow these 3 principles:
- It should make your intentions known
- It should put an emphasis on your messages, beliefs, and you
- It should be easy to communicate with you
1. How to make your intentions known
You know what you want to accomplish with your website: get more clients. The easiest way to make a sale, or to get people to do what you want is to simply make your intentions known.
In other words, show your audience what to do next by funneling them to the most important parts of your website.
My favorite example of this is at The Sales Lion. The first thing you see when you visit the site are calls-to-action that funnel visitors to the services and products they have to offer.
Instead of relying on arbitrary menu links, The Sales Lion puts these pages right in front of visitors faces in an actionable way:
Note: How The Sales Lion funnels visitors to crucial pages on their website.
Always strive to make it known throughout your website that you have something to offer, and that you want your visitor to take action on it. Even if they don’t need your services now, you will at least make an impression that may end up connecting you later on.
Now, in the same way somebody may not need your services now, you may be in a position where you’re too booked to take on new work right now.
Believe me, if that’s the case—you’re doing something right.
But does that mean you should stop selling yourself? Stop trying to attract more clients? Absolutely not!
Again: you’re stating your intentions to your audience here. If you can’t take on projects now, make it known you will be accepting new projects later. Be transparent, and get your potential clients to work with your schedule.
I love how Bill Erickson does this on his contact page. Right above the form, he states when he’s accepting new projects again:
Insight: Always state your work availability.
This encourages people to get in touch with him, but also sets the expectation that he doesn’t have work availability until the stated date.
Intentions and expectations are everything when it comes to making a sale. Once you’ve told the world what you have to offer, you need to further strengthen your message by showing them what you’ve already done.
2. Share Your Messages, Experiences, and You
The services and work you create on the web can’t be found anywhere else. You bring your own unique styles and experiences to the table, and that plays a huge factor in a person’s decision to hire you.
That’s why your website should be all about you.
Showcase your work on a dedicated portfolio page, and write about the experiences you’ve gained and the lessons you’ve learned.
Tell your reader’s how they can apply all of that knowledge to themselves. Then explain how your services can improve their life/business, and show them how you’ve done it with your work before.
Prove you know what you’re talking about, and publish blog posts that teach people how to solve problems for themselves. Even if they’re just small ones.
You never know, they may just want to hire you (pay you) to solve more of their problems at some point.
Now because your message is so important for that to happen, it’s crucial you have a website that clearly lays out your message with little to no distraction.
A huge reason why I like the designs of the SDavisMedia and Rafal Tomal’s blog’s is that there isn’t a sidebar or fluff content in sight. Each page focuses on a specific thing, with the intentions of getting you to take an action.
With less clutter, and more emphasis on your work, experiences, and stories—people who are interested in your services will have all they information they need to reach out to you.
3. …Just make sure it’s easy to contact you
Having a basic contact form on your website is an absolute must. There’s really no better way to start a conversation with somebody interested in your services than through an email.
In the same way you don’t like filling out a huge form to order Chinese food online, potential clients don’t want to fill out a long form just to get the ball rolling about their project.
Many freelancers want to get all the details possible up front about a project, but miss the human interaction side of landing a client. Instead of creating complex contact forms that grab as much information as possible, create a basic form that asks for the following:
- Name (it’s always good to know somebody’s name!)
- Email address (so you know which email address to reply back to)
- Subject (give them an opportunity to make their email stand out in your inbox and pitch their project)
- Message (a big text box that let’s them freely talk about their project)
This is how I’ve setup my own contact form, and have always enjoyed the simplicity of it.
I’ve found that instead of requiring information like deadline dates, budgets, timeframe, etc. in the initial email, you should allow people to freely initiate a conversation with you about their project.
You can usually learn a good amount from the first email a person sends you (they’ll generally introduce themselves with a few details about their project, and ask about your work availability), and should probably dive into the technical details after you’re more introduced with each other.
My new WordPress theme helps you get more clients
The 3 principles I talked about in this post are the same principles I’ve built my websites on to get more clients in the past. Because of how well they worked for my business, I tried to apply them to a WordPress theme I’d make available to you.
And I think I came up with something pretty incredible.
My new WordPress theme, Spotlight, makes setting up a website that follows the 3 principles above easy, and makes more clients come to you.
Bundled with the new KolFolio and Funnel Lead addons (more info below), and other useful features, setting up a portfolio for your work and funneling user’s to important areas on your site is extremely simple and can be done out of the box with Spotlight.
Since Spotlight is a WordPress theme, it includes a gorgeous blog and page design. Landing and squeeze page templates have also been included so you can really create distraction free content.
Spotlight is fully compatible with the popular (and my favorite) contact form creator, Gravity Forms, and styles contact forms simply and beautifully.
To top it off, Spotlight has a responsive design that works and functions on any screen size. Let me tell you, this theme looks and feels great on my iPhone.