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Issue #6 • June 2017

How to Make Your Freelance Services Stand Out on Your Website

Business Models

Where do we turn when looking for website inspiration? Other websites, of course!

But when you start perusing through the websites of other freelancers in your field, it’s easy to get lost in how they’ve structured their offerings. Then you start wondering “Should I market my services the same way?”

The way your competitors have positioned their services is NOT how you will position your own. Just because you’re both freelance writers or freelance video editors doesn’t mean you produce the same kind of work.

Today, I want to dig into how to pitch your freelance services through your website in a way that speaks to your ideal client, keeps your brand personality intact, and helps you reach peak sustainability.

But first, we can’t start without laying the groundwork.

A strong freelance business foundation starts with the basics

Before we talk about the nitty gritty behind pitching your freelance services, we want to make sure you have a strong brand foundation to build from. Many times we think we’ve already defined our purpose and voice, but it’s no good for it to only live in our heads.

I recommend writing your answers to these exercises below on a new document or sheet of paper. It will help immensely to have it written down so you can review it before you pitch your freelance services.

What is the purpose of your freelance business?

Every visitor coming to your website wants to know the “what” and the “why” behind the work you do.

Think about when you visit a new website. What do the best freelance websites all have in common? They all clearly define who they are, what they offer, and why they offer it. The websites will also feature content that speaks directly to who you are if you’re their ideal client.

There are often layers to your freelance business purpose so let’s peel them back one by one.

First, in plain language, describe what it is that you do. I’ll use my brand as an example.

I help business owners sell their products and services online through website copywriting and ongoing content creation.

While that’s the most basic version of what I do, it doesn’t get at the heart of why I do it. There are thousands of other freelance copywriters offering their services, much like in your own industry, so how do I stand out? This is where the power of “why” comes in.

Let’s take that basic “what” statement above and add in the “why”.

I help creative entrepreneurs and small businesses make a real impact by tailoring their words to better highlight their brand story through copywriting, brand strategy, and content creation.

Now that’s a mission statement!

The “what” is still there but the “why” really makes this mission statement come to life. You can see that highlighting impactful brand stories drives my work so business owners who put an emphasis on their backstory know they’ll be appreciated and understood.

Now it’s your turn! Once you have your mission statement nailed down, you can use it in your website messaging. When reviewing your website, ask yourself:

  • Can a first time visitor look at my homepage and know exactly what my freelance service does?
  • Do visitors know within their first 15 seconds on my website if they are my ideal client or not?
  • Do visitors know my elevator pitch from my homepage?

Who is your ideal client?

You know the purpose behind your freelance business, but how do you effectively communicate that to your ideal audience? The key to successful website messaging is knowing who you’re speaking to.

If your answer is “I want to help everyone”, you’ll want to dig deeper. When we try to be everything to everyone, we often have a difficult time connecting with anyone. This is why we hear about the importance of choosing your niche and solidifying your unique selling proposition (USP).

First, let’s dig into the demographics of your ideal audience. This can include:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income

Unfortunately, many freelancers stop there. If all you know about your ideal client is that she’s 29 years old and lives in New York City, that could describe hundreds of thousands of women which isn’t helpful.

Instead, let’s keep going and dig into the unique characteristics of your ideal client. You can start here:

  • What are their signature strengths? What are their weaknesses?
  • What are their most common struggles?
  • What stage are they at in their life/business? What stage would they like to be in?
  • What are their strongest motivators?
  • What does their ideal day look like?
  • What three words would their friends use to describe them?

Your answers to these questions will help you get in touch with your ideal client’s struggles and desires. From these answers, I suggest writing an ideal client profile to help you craft a story around exactly who your ideal client is. And the best way to do this is to model that profile after a person you know in real life.

Think of that person you know that is interested in your freelance services as you write your website content. How would you explain your business and your services to that person? I know that the avatar exercise is common practice these days, but if they’re not attached to a real human, then you’re going to miss your mark.

Every time you create a product or service or write content for your website, you can return to this profile, adjust to a different person you know if needed, and familiarize yourself with who you’re writing to before you begin.

What does your freelance business offer?

Now that you know what your ideal client struggles with, you’re able to tailor your offerings to effortlessly solve their problems.

If you found that your audience of beginning photographers struggle with consistently editing photographs in their own unique style, you could create a course with video tutorials on how to use the same presets to edit photo sessions.

If you found that your audience of lifestyle bloggers are interested in learning more about monetization but struggle with building automated systems, you could create a one-day coaching session that walks them through how to setup and implement their software so it runs on its own.

When you create your freelance service offerings, you’re not just thinking about what you want to create. It should align with your ideal client’s desires, too. Sometimes the best ideas come from your audience!

Once you know what you’re offering and have proven it’s something your ideal audience wants, it’s time to work it into your website messaging.

What makes your website messaging different?

When you first start your freelance business, you’re probably thinking about how to stand out in an already saturated industry. How do you separate yourself from the masses and solidify your expertise as a newer face?

I call this process finding your “edge”. Once you’ve tapped into your “edge”, you’ll have a leg up on competitors who all sound the same.

Here’s a great place to start:

  • Your niche: This is usually the intersection between the industry you’re in and the unique services or products you offer, which we’ve already defined.
  • Your area of expertise: Within your niche, you have a specific, highly sought after skill or a different perspective you can add to the mix. Hone in on what that is.
  • Your unique traits: This is the fun part: identifying your brand personality. Are most freelancers in your niche fairly stuffy and formulaic while you don’t mind getting personal? Maybe they use flowery language when you like to tell it like it is. Whatever it is, own it.  

Once you have your edge, you can start to work it into all of your website messaging.

The most important rule of thumb here is to be clear over clever. When you describe your offerings, cut the jargon and avoid clever sayings that are unclear.

Let’s put your website messaging into action!

How to pitch your freelance business services

Now that you’re feeling ultra confident in your website messaging, we can start incorporating it into your copywriting. Before jumping right in, let’s go over some basic principles to keep in mind as you craft your copy.

Lead with benefits over features

Even though you have a dedicated Services page, you’ll want to use the rest of your website to highlight the benefits of hiring you rather than a simple explanation of what you offer.

Benefits create more of an emotional connection with your audience than features do. If you’re having a difficult time thinking about your offerings in terms of the benefits, here are some examples to help you flip the script:

Features Benefits
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Private Facebook group of clients
  • Ongoing social media management and marketing strategy implementation
  • Peace-of-mind during launch week
  • Regular accountability on personal projects
  • Autopilot system that frees up more time for traveling and family vacations

Have your tagline visible above-the-fold on your homepage

Your tagline, which is a concise description of your freelance service, should be placed at the top of your homepage. It clearly states what you do at a quick glance so interested visitors will continue to peruse your site with a clear idea of what they’ll find.

Use graphics that communicate what your business does

We process visuals 60,000 times faster than words so having images to reinforce what we do is very important. The best way to choose images for your website is by asking yourself, “Does this graphic visually represent what I do within my freelance business?”

If you’re a freelance computer programmer, you’ll probably have a photo of a desktop, keyboard, or mouse somewhere on your website. A freelance illustrator’s website, however, might feature their art supplies, latest work, or their studio space. You can capture these photos yourself or use stock photography.

Create promotional products to help you build authority

Did you know that digital products can help you earn passive income and generate more freelance business clients? Win, win!

Products are usually a lower barrier to entry offering that allow your audience to experience what it’s like to learn from you, often leading them to want to work with you through your services. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Write an eBook: This evergreen content not only proves your expertise but also educates your audience on why they should care about your topic. If you were a business coach, it would be smart to write on an industry-specific topic like how to scale your business. That way, people who read through the eBook and want a personalized strategy are more likely to reach out and work with you.
  • Host an online workshop: Being an instructor within your target market can improve your credibility, build trust, and generate quality client leads. Workshops are also a great way to introduce your freelance business story and explain how you got to where you are.
  • Create a course: If the online workshop goes well and your audience wants even more information on your topic, think about creating a course with more how-to steps. This is a more hands-off and scalable way to teach and grow your audience while qualifying incoming leads.

Are you ready to pitch your freelance business?

Now that you know what it takes to cleary pitch your freelance services, what is one website tweak you can make today to help your audience understand your work better?? Let me know in the comment section below!

 

Kayla Hollatz

Kayla Hollatz is a copywriter and content creator for creative entrepreneurs who want their words to connect and convert. Few things make her happier than ghostwriting for clients in her studio, aka her four-season porch with a lake view. She can frequently be found fighting Minnesota winters with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.

Experience this issue your way

Download this issue of Tradecraft as a PDF to read and reference at your own pace.

  • LJ Sedgwick

    I think I need to put more of my personality into my web copy. For the longest time, I thought you had to be professional on your website, but then you end up just sounding like everyone else. I need to inject a bit of ‘me’ into it!

    • As a copywriter, this makes me SO happy to hear, LJ! You’re not alone. Many of us feel like we need to sound “professional” in order to show our expertise and be taken seriously, but what happens is we come off a little stuffy. We can also tend to sound like everyone else. One of the best places to start with infusing your personality is to think about what words you love and which ones you avoid. Then you can write some website copy, ask a friend to read it, and have them tell you if it sounds like you. The last quick tip I have is to record yourself talking about what you offer and then listen to it back to see what common phrases and words you use. Then you can weave them into your copy. Good luck!

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