You’re a freelancer who provides some sort of IT service: design, development, or consulting.
You have a great looking website which shows off your skills — but you don’t see it bringing a lot of clients.
Before the design, you need to think about how the client’s mind works. After you identified it, you need to ask yourself one question:
What is one thing you want the potential client to do on your website?
You need to design just for that one call to action — in your case, that’s an email inquiry. The goal is to move a potential client from inaction to at least starting a conversation. If you got their attention and email, you can leverage that through your whole career.
The clients you make happy are the clients who’ll stay with you:
Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
Everything on the website should make them send you an email. To do that, make sure all elements support that.
Sales lesson No. 1 - Get your foot in the door.
When you do sales, you cold call companies and offer them some complex program that needs some explanation. You might think about giving the CEO as much information as possible is the best way: after all, people are logical and the more information they have, the better their choice will be.
That’s a rookie mistake. On the phone, people just want to get done with you as soon as possible and they don’t listen. But if you make an appointment, it gives you leverage: they don’t want to feel like they wasted time so they’ll be more receptive.
Go to any sales seminar and you’ll learn that the first step to a successful sale is getting a meeting so you can assess their needs better. Or in freelancer’s case, make them send you ANY email.
Building trust is critical
That email doesn’t have to be a big job offer. Think strategically. Intrigue them enough to send you an email: a question about your workflow, pricing, design, how to fix a runaway float, or any other trivial job.
One Reddit user hit the nail on the head:
I find clients in Facebook groups to be honest. I joined a whole bunch of them in my field and then began to answer questions when people would post, just helping out, no CTA to anything of mine at all. People would be like Wow thanks behaved! and I’d PM them saying, let me know if you have any other questions, I’m pretty much always around as what I answered you about is my full time job :) (or something like that) and we strike up a convo. I might help them once or twice more. Then inevitably about 75% of those I help will ask me how much I charge or what I do, etc. and I always say let’s get on a Skype call and chat. I never share my rates on email or anything. My closing rate on a call is about 96% these days. I also now have helped so many people in my field that I get a lot of referrals from previous and current clients. But I still do the FB group thing, it’s been the right thing for me thus far (3 years now, and supporting me and my SO 100% from this biz).
It’s really good advice and mindset. Provide any kind of value and people will come back. You don’t even have to be the best, being an acquaintance is enough. People hate exploring and most will settle on the first good deal they find.
When a potential client timidly sends you an email, make them so comfortable that they get anxious when thinking about searching for someone else. In their mind, they like you and you’ll do any job just fine.
It’s not like they’re giving you anything serious. How business critical can be updating a color scheme on the old website, tweaking an existing logo, or coding a simple static web page?
Designers and coders who don’t have experience with business people often have no idea how clients are willing to pay for even the most basic things. You can get paid for tweaking a shape of a cloud and exporting it on different artboards. That’s a quick job, but to clients, it’s an arcane skill.
So start with easy tasks and progress. After you do a great first job, they’ll trust you more. By establishing a rapport, they know what to expect and will have no fear when giving you responsibility.
One small assignment leads to a greater on and it just rolling snowballs from there.
When structuring your site, don’t jump to pill-tabs, modals, or a classic navbar — think of structuring and presenting information so that someone sends you a mail. If it were a sales meeting, how would you start and close it?