The problem with starting a freelance business is finding paying clients and customers who can become the base of your business’ foundation.
Most budding freelancers and biz owners sign up for traditional job boards like Upwork or Elance, or waste money on Google, Facebook and traditional advertising.
I DO NOT recommend this. Why? Because I believe that the freelance job board system is broken, since these avenues can cost a lot of time and money with little-to-no results to show for it.
Getting real results
In my dealings with establishing my own freelance business, I found a simple SEO strategy that allowed me to stop wasting time seeking out new clients and get them to come to me instead.
I’ve implemented this case study for a couple of years now, but re-visted my strategy in January 2016 when I wanted to take on more freelance clients. I received the following results:
- 8 new emails from potential clients landed in my inbox (some were handed off to other freelancers)
- 4 new client contracts signed for an increase of $2,200 per month
- 2 expert quote features for blogging/writing experts (bloggers share what they wish they knew in the beginning & experts reveal their writing process)
- 1 featured speaker request (but declined due to writing my book)
This strategy can also help you get similar results. You’ll be able to attract more clients and money, while being able to spend time developing the relationships you already have.
In other words, you can stop focusing on the hunting/gathering part of freelancing and can start growing your biz.
1. Create a services page
The first step is to create a Services page on your blog or website. This is a page that details the services and packages you offer to other business owners.
I recommend only offering 2-3 main services with some sub-categories of offerings underneath them. Offering too many services can become confusing for potential clients.
Time and money are your most valuable resources as a business owner and a good Services page will help you use both of them wisely by helping new clients come to you.
It’s the first impression of what new clients click on to learn more about you and potentially hire you. So make sure this page explains what you offer as well as what you don’t.
You already know the benefits of blogging when you have a small business and you can link to your Services page in blog posts and social media accounts to drive more awareness of your services.
Here’s an example of my own “Hire Me” page.
2. Choose a specific search phrase
Now that your page is set up, the next step is to choose a specific search term.
What do you want to be known for? What’s your job title? When a potential client uses a search engine to find someone with your job description, you want to be one of the first results.
Start by choosing an SEO term that’s relevant to your business and industry. I’m a freelance finance and business writer who’s been blogging full-time for 3 years so I choose the SEO term “freelance business writer”.
If you search this term in Google I’m often the first or second result (behind the regular ads).
If you’re not sure what term you should rank for, take time to research what your competition is ranking for and what some of the most popular search terms are for your industry. You can even make up a term if you know people will be looking for it.
Example: My friend Christina is known as the Media Maven.
If you were a customer seeking out someone like you, what search phrase would you input into Google? A variation of this term is usually a good bet to rank for.
Here’s a quick tutorial of how I use Google’s Keyword Tool to rank for specific phrases and search terms.
3. Get your Services page to rank naturally
You can see the example of my own “Hire Me” page that I’ve used the term “freelance business writer” in several different forms naturally throughout my page.
- Once in the headline
- In the alt tag of the image
- In the first couple paragraphs
You’re a real person trying to target other people so make sure you’re writing in an understandable and concise way so you can start ranking for your search term naturally. Don’t pump your page full of SEO terms — less is more in this case.
Use different variations of the term you’re trying to rank for, just like you would when you’re having a conversation with someone in person.
You won’t repeat the same phrase over and over and over again when you’re describing something. We use multiple adjectives and terms to explain a particular topic.
The same rule applies to your Services page.
6 things that will attract freelance clients
A good Services page will help weed out low-paying clients and jobs that aren’t the right fit. Plus, having a good explanation of your services and rates will save you time emailing back-and-forth with potential clients only to find out that, in the end, they’re what you’re looking for.
When creating your own version of a services page, there are five things you’ll want to include:
- A detailed explanation of your services, offerings and packages. Include a description of what you’re offerings and services are, as well as what you don’t offer. Make both of these points clear so potential customers can easily understand your skills and areas of expertise. And keep your services paired down to only 2-3 offerings.
- Examples of current work and links to samples. Current samples will allow potential clients to view your work and see if you’re a good fit for their business. You do need to keep your samples timely and relevant to your business now. A sample from two years ago is not a good testimony for your business. You should also include a link to a more extensive portfolio if possible so clients can see more of your work.
- A personal photo (and story). People want to work with other people, even if they run a company, so make sure you put a nice, clear photo of you on the page too. A headshot is ideal but you want it to have some personality too, so anything that showcases you and what you’re about will work wonders.
- Your starting rates and prices. List at least a starting rate or price for your services so you can weed out low-ball offers. This will save you time and potential clients’ time too. You don’t have to share a specific price if you’re not comfortable with that, just include a range of prices or a starting price point.
- Testimonials from past clients or case studies. Testimonials and social proof makes you seem more reliable to potential clients. Testimonials also showcase your skills without you having to be boastful of your own work. If possible, your client testimonials should include specifics like how you helped their business grow with results and real numbers.
- A contact form and email address that’s easily visible. Don’t forget to include an email address to help clients contact you easily. Or take it a step further and include a contact form to make your Services page convert even more.
3 mistakes to AVOID on your Services page
Likewise when you’re crafting a Services page that attracts potential leads you want to avoid these three common mistakes:
- Including a sidebar. Keep your Services page as clean as possible so potential clients are not distracted away from hiring you. The whole purpose of people visiting your page is to hire you, not to click on ads, right?
- Having too much information. Including your services and examples of your work is important, but you don’t want to overwhelm potential clients. If your Services page gets too complex, or you offer too many services, you’ll overwhelm your customers and drive them away. Break down your offers and simplify them at the bottom of the page. You need to be constantly re-evaluating your page to include the latest and most relevant work samples possible.
- Forgetting a contact form. Include a contact form on your page. This particular tip has been one of the biggest game changers for my freelance business. A contact form allows clients to contact you without having to click around too much. And it avoids the possibility of them misspelling your email address and never reaching you.
Having an optimized Services page that converts will result in you having more clients and jobs than you can handle.
My own “Hire Me” page produces multiple leads and opportunities every single week.
The results of your Services page will help you attract more clients with better-quality leads. And this will be reflected in your bottom line as you’ll be able to earn more money. You’ll also be able to be in control of your business by only taking on projects you enjoy and want to work on.
The bottom line is that using this simple SEO strategy within your Services page is an easy way to take your business to the next level. You’ll attract more clients without even trying and find more work than you can handle.
Doing so will save you time and increase your income with only a little work up-front to set up the page and maintain it with current information as your business grows and changes over time.
Want to learn more about attracting the best clients? I created an entire workshop inside the Client Connection vault that details exactly how to set up your Service page so you can start getting leads.