Designing the logo will be much easier after part one is done! It will give you a great idea as to what is in the client's head and the style that will appeal best to the target audience.Read More
Your website is your online business card, designed to help sell your services from afar. It’s your secret weapon, your non-negotiable if you want to have a successful freelance graphic design business.
But to do the heavy lifting, your website must have these three things: transparency, pricing packages, and beautiful visuals.
Let’s break these down together.
Your dream clients want to know more about you and what you offer before they pull out the credit card and buy from you. They need to be crystal clear of how to work with you and how many other people you’re working with at the same time. (Yes, it matters!)
Use a welcoming paragraph to tell readers more about what you offer, then go on to explain exactly how you work. This puts all the information in one place and answers most of your prospects’ questions up-front.
I recommend having three different prices, or tiers, for your packages. This allows you to work with a wider range of clients while still staying true to your niche.
I recommend listing out all the services you can provide and how long each project or task takes you. For example, if you only take one client at a time, determine how long each project would take if you can focus solely on that one client. Keep in mind that the larger the project, the more time it will take to complete.
Also, recognize that you may not be able to sustain a business working with just one client at a time. You’ll spend some of your time waiting for the client to follow up, giving you some white space to possibly take on more projects.
Once you know what services you’ll offer and how you’ll offer them, it’s time to build out those pricing packages. Your lowest-priced offer is your no-frills package. It gives your clients an immediate fix to their problem and could be something like logo design, email signature and/or business card design. This allows your clients to quickly look and feel more professional. Then, build more extensive packages from there.
When you have your packages laid out, stick to them. This helps hold you to the boundaries you need in your business so you’re attracting the right clients and not overextending yourself. You can even block out time on your calendar or scheduler to help ensure you stick to these boundaries.
As a designer, it goes without saying that beautiful images that are branded to your style and appropriately paired with your offerings are non-negotiable. Find or create icons that help to walk potential clients through your processes step by step. Not only will this help catch your readers’ eye, it will also demonstrate that you have attention to detail.
To save time, you can create a template in Canva that offers package pricing. Brand these visuals and place on the pricing page so your visitors can easily get an idea of what you offer, and at what investment.
Taking the time and effort to be transparent, map out your packages and use beautiful images on your website will get you ready to book-out clients in advance. Setting boundaries and rules of engagement for you and your business will repel those dumpster-diver type clients who you don’t want to work with. (Of course, this doesn’t eliminate problem clients altogether, but it does help minimize the effects.)
Be prepared, be professional and, most of all, be profitable.
Once the clients that you worked so hard to attract have found you, give them a reason to stick around and really get them to know how valuable you will be to them.
How? Create a relationship with email marketing.
For freelancers, creative entrepreneurs, mom-bosses, girl-bosses, whatever you call yourself, you have a genius set of skills that are unique to you. There are lots of people doing what you do, but one way to stand out from the crowd is to ask for permission to continue the conversation in their inbox.
I know. I know! Don't shoot the messenger, but I reformed my own non-email-marketing ways!
When I would read other blog posts about the power of email marketing and how EVERYONE NEEDS A LIST, I would yell at the computer screen something like: "Not EVERYONE needs one! Especially not a graphic designer! Leave me alone!" Something like that.
But, I noticed that nobody came to my website. It was a trampoline for crickets.
I had a nice portfolio, content, a contact page, an about page, but no helpful printable or download that would encourage and entice my audience to happily hand over their precious email address.
I didn't want to go down a rabbit hole that I knew took commitment. The dreaded C word!
However, against the advice of my negative inner voice that wanted me to just give up, I signed up with MailChimp. To be honest, I had that account for a while before I actually started collecting emails...like for 3-5 years. I am not really sure.
I am a firm believer in baby steps, but when it came to blogging and email marketing, I didn't even get out of the crib until 2 years ago. That was after 13 years of being a freelance graphic designer, with a website! This is how I did it.
What I learned, in the order you should do things
- Don't be a perfectionist. Just start!
- Open a ConvertKit account instead of MailChimp, it will save you a lot of headaches if you want to grow into using sales funnels. You usually don't know in advance, you may, but I didn't, that you will want to graduate to that someday. So better safe than sorry!
- Create a simple, but effective, checklist, cheatsheet or worksheet that will take away a frustration that your perfect-for-you audience is having. So, they have a problem getting from point A to point B and you present them with an immediate, FREE solution. In exchange for that printable, they have the option to give you their email address. Check out my blog post about Opt-In Freebies. This will give you a deeper dive into what is also called a content upgrade.
- Create a welcome email that all new subscribers will see. Use your own voice. Be authentic and helpful.
- Fill out a super simple content calendar and schedule when you want to send emails that keep your followers in the loop with your business and engaged with your helpful tips.
- Having a blog is a major piece of the puzzle! Create short and sweet blog posts to start. It is like riding a bike and takes getting used to. Don't be hard on yourself! Write about what comes so easy to you, that you can't believe others don't know how to do it. Break all of your expert knowledge into teachable bits.
- Grab a template from Canva or Creative Market and create a Pinterest graphic that goes at the top of your blog post. This will get pinned on Pinterest (which is a search engine) and will lead potential clients to your website. That is where you want them!
- Include a content upgrade or freebie and link the image to your ConvertKit email thread for that particular freebie. Each freebie will have their own thread. When they click your image, the sign-up box will appear for them to take action.
- A little planning makes the entire process easier. Don't keep it all in your head and wallow in the overwhelm.
- Write down your first goal and each step that goes into accomplishing that.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and conquer that first step. Then the second step, Then the third and so on until that first goal is accomplished. After 25 minutes. Take a break for 5 minutes. Get a drink, use the bathroom, stretch. Whatever you need at the end of those 25 minutes. Then reset the times and go to the first step of the number 2 goal...and so on and so on.
- Give value instead of just waiting for business to come knocking because you are a good person and with strong creative skills. Share successes, failures and insider tips. If you don't have them personally, research some.
- Everyone can freelance, but to make money doing what you love, you need to treat it like a business with 4 walls and a door. Adding email marketing is a layer that your freelance business needs to grow stronger, because your connections will be stronger. Join a successful freelancer's email list and take note of the process. This helps you see what different freelancers do from start to finish. Once you have these notes, you can model your email marketing after theirs. DON'T COPY! Learn. Pay attention to the language they use, the types of emails they send, what is included, what their welcome email looks like and how often they send an email asking for the sale.
- Email marketing creates and encourages a team atmosphere in a virtual way. This is necessary because you don't have a door and 4 walls.
- The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was my own resistance to the things I didn't want to do, but knew would help with my growth. And it did! I have over 200 subscribers with the most growth happening in the last nine months.
Do you struggle with email marketing? Have you been putting it off? Let me know in the comments below!
Are you stuck in a bit of a client rut?
I have sooooo been there!
If you are tired of clients that complain about your pricing, are indecisive, and basically just don't feel like the right fit, this is for you. Even if you are just starting out, you can do these things and avoid client rut.
Read on my friend! I can help!
Change Your Idea of How Clients Come to Hire You
1. Be Intentional. Make to-do lists and set firm goals, with steps needed to meet those goals.
Your To-Do List That Will Get You The Right-For-You Clients
- Write down your goal for this week.
- Write down what you need to do to reach your goal.
Ex. Email that person that has been on your bucket list to write a blog post for or take a challenge or e-course that will help you reach that goal. The last two things are great so that you can get free support and accountability!
- Revisit who your favorite client is. Make a list of who you think that is.
- Go to google analytics on your website and SEE who your audience really is. Click on Interests and Overview and you will see a break down of your visitor's likes online. It is really interesting! Then click on demographics >> age. This shows you the ages that you are attracting. These statistics showed me that my target audience was different than I thought.
- Use this info to create graphics for a week's worth of social media. I suggest starting with five days of social post designs, to avoid overwhelm. The easiest way to do this, EVEN IF YOU ARE A DESIGNER, go to Create Market and buy social media templates or go to Canva and customize their templates. Include an image that gets a reaction out of you and would appeal to the client you discovered above. Designers need to find what shortcuts work for them. This will help you avoid burn-out when you don't have the budget yet to outsource the admin side of things.
- Look to the experts. Not sure how your graphic should look? Examples are at your fingertips!!! Go to google and type in the type of graphic you need an example for, to get started. Whatever it is, add the name of someone like Melyssa Griffin or any other person that specializes in this area. For instance, I wanted to create an ad for Facebook, so I entered names like James Wedmore, Farideh Danger, and Amy Porterfield, into Google and clicked the image button so I could get all of the examples of the way successful ads should look. Why do I know that these are successful? Because it is the format that these successful gurus are using, which gives me something to model my ads after. Get the picture? (Ha ha! See what I did there?!) No need to start from scratch! Don't copy either. Just use the format and put your spin on it.
2. Be social.
Grab my free Social Strategy Worksheet and make a simple plan. After you have filled that out, you want to create your branded images and schedule them in advance. I call this the moving-around-the-room-laughing-and-talking-and-sharing-stories-while-shaking-hands technique. You have lots to do, right? Right! So, this is going to do the work for you. If you look below, this is my analytics of how my audience is coming to my website right now. The largest piece of the pie is coming from my social media marketing! To be successful on social media, you need to be consistent. To do that, you need to plan, design graphics and schedule them. To get started, use my Social Strategy Worksheet, buy a set of templates or create them using Canva or Creative Market. If you haven't noticed, those are my go-to's and they make my business look great, while saving me time!
3. Be proactive.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses. What is one thing that you do that is self-sabotaging and prevents profits in your business? Procrastination? Blaming clients? Lack of boundaries and clear package pricing? Be honest with yourself. Making a list of my weak points, and eliminating services I hated providing, helped me attract my highest paying client, one week after I made the changes to my design services page! That was a $6,000 victory!!!
4. Be a writer of problem solving blog posts.
Even if you write one post a month, you will attract clients that need your help. Hate writing blog posts? I did! But I couldn't grow an email list without it because it helps connect all the dots. Think about it; if you have a blog post, you can create an image that is the "hero image" of your blog that can be pinned to Pinterest. Pinterest is basically a search engine. This means that the copy that you write for the description, turns into key words and gets picked up by google. Anyone searching these key words online, will be led to your pin, which then leads to your website. Once you have attracted people that need help from your blog posts, you have the opportunity to lead them to another helpful nugget of info. This little piece of gold comes in the form of what is called an Opt-In Freebie. Place a link to your email marketing platform into the post itself and/or as a button at the end. This encourages them to take action at that moment, without procrastinating. Once they click the link and enter their email, they are given the Opt-In Freebie that you were marketing in your post. It is an even exchange, you get their valuable email address for nurturing a business relationship and future sales, and they get something that solves a problem. Win/win!
5. Be Savvy. Do your research.
Find your competition. I don't mean just in your city or town. I mean, look to the creative solopreneurs that have a large following. Why? Because they are consistent with their blog posts and they have comments from people that are your target audience too. Grab your notepad and skim the comments. They will talk about the problems that were solved, fears that were calmed, tools that saved them time and money. All of this is valuable info so that you can find out the exact pain points, in their own words, that they need a solution for. This is target market research that is easy and free. There is no survey to set up, which is a bonus if you don't have an email list yet! Set your business up with offerings that work for you, based on your research. This REALLY WORKS!
6. Be Clickable.
Writing clickable headlines is something that is invaluable, but needs to be learned. My click-through rate increased after I started using Coschedule's Headline Analyzer. It is easy to use, to hit on the right combo of words, based on grades that you get for each headline. Tip: I always shoot for 70 and above.
7. Be a Complimentary Collaborator.
Finding businesses that are a compliment to your products and/or services, will also help you reach your people. For example, if you are a content writer, web designers, social media marketers and graphic designers would be a good fit. Find those that have a larger following than you, but would be fairly easy to reach out to. Send an email that states who you are and how you could help their audience. Also, state the collaboration you have in mind. It could be a guest blog post, an interview, podcast guest or a Facebook Live guest appearance, to name a few. Suggest a virtual coffee chat. If the answer is yes, head to Calendly right after you get that yes and send three choices for the online coffee chat. If you are not ready to do any of those things yet, reach out for just a 30 minute Zoom or Skype call and have a no-sales, just who-you-both-are type of chat. Ask questions and be a good listener. Everyone loves when you show an interest in how they got started. You are sure to get off on solid footing if you aren't me-centered on the call. As a thank you for their time, send a $5 Starbucks card to their email address. Create relationships, without always trying to sell your services.
8. Be Profitable.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but your pricing attracts the type of client that would be a perfect fit. If you are just starting out, or having been frustrated with the clients coming through your virtual door, you need to raise your prices. Seasoned creative solopreneurs will tell you that if you are providing services, whatever you are charging now, DOUBLE IT! It will feel weird, but it is so true.
9. Be Transparent.
If you want to book more clients, ASK! Create graphics for the different social media platforms the that you use or want to use and announce that you are booking for each month. If you want to start filling your calendar for the next year, create that graphic. Make sure to put a link in your post to your website's contact page so they can take action. Make sure your contact page clearly states your rules of engagement.
Here is what to include for a successful contact page:
- A professional picture of you
- Your name, email, office hours
- Your social media icons with the words: Let's Connect!
- An introductory paragraph
- Current booking availability
- a fillable form with individual boxes for their name, email, name of business, location, website, how they heard about you, their timeline, what type of style they are looking for, a little info about their business, and state your availability at the bottom of the form, along with a link to your package pricing in PDF format.
10. Be An Information Gatherer.
Asking what your audience needs and likes, helps you save time and money! Many times what they are hungry for, doesn't match up with what you think they need. A simple survey is a great way to start! If you have an email list already, you can use TypeForm or Survey Monkey. I personally prefer Typeform, because I liked being able to add my branded icons to the questions, which created more interest for each question.
If you don't have an email list, but have a Facebook page or group, you can now post short surveys right on your page. Instagram Stories has a polling option as well.
In exchange for their feedback, offer a short 15 or 30 minute call and let them ask you questions. It is a way to make connections beyond the computer screen, show that you appreciate their input and flex your genius skill muscles! I learned this from Business and Marketing Strategist, Maggie Giele and have only done this with one person so far, but the info from her was invaluable!
Before you start attracting your ideal client, there are some things that you need to do to your website. By putting these things in place, you are setting up your virtual office to sell to your potential clients before you even hop on a call! I touched on quite a few today, but the meat and potatoes of a successful and profitable services page is in my new signature course. Click the link for my free three day email course that is super simple, with your very own pretty workbooks. If you feel like you have the client thing nailed down, and are ready to set up your elevator pitch, your package pricing and much more, click the second button! I look forward to helping you with your creative entrepreneur's journey. My systems take away the fear about what to do next. I have you covered!