People often ask me why, as a business coach, I specialize in working with freelancers and creative professionals. The answer is, I love to see talented people fulfilled in their work, as busy as they want to be, and compensated really well for what they do.

But what I learned from my 15+ years as an agent for independent copywriters, art directors, and fashion illustrators, is that talent and taste aren’t enough. If you’re going to land those coveted projects, you need to stand out, connect, and be ready to close the deal.

If the mere mention of closing the deal makes your feel queasy, take a deep breath! I’m going to share 5 easy-to-implement ways in which your website can help you do that.

Ready?

Incorporate language into your website

Even if your work is 100% visual, adding language gives your work context, communicates your mission, and helps clients get to know, like, and trust you. Bonus: If your text is keyword-rich, SEO rating will benefit from a nice boost.

Not a writer? No problem. Here are some ways you can easily incorporate language:

  • Testimonials - Nothing boosts your credibility more than having other people say how awesome you are. Sprinkle testimonials throughout your site and be sure one is on your home page.
  • A positioning statement - This can be a short paragraph or 2-liner. Your goal is to state what you do, who you do it for, and what they get out of the process. For example, mine is: “I help freelancers and creative entrepreneurs define what makes them unique, create a clear marketing message and strategy, and get more clients.”
  • Your story - I’d much rather read someone’s story than another boring bio. That said, your story must have a purpose, structure, and flow. Rambling childhood memories are not client-attractive!

Present work that resonates with the client you want to attract

I recently did a website VIP planning and strategy day with a photo artist, and one of her challenges is editing and presenting her work. We started out by selecting only the images that she really loved and felt represented her vision. Sounds simple, right? But when factors such as what colors people in certain regions like and what images you have in inventory (and therefore, are motivated to move) get involved, your vision can quickly become clouded.

Next, we printed out the images we selected and laid them out, left to right, on the floor (an old agent trick) to see how they flowed. We immediately saw that the edit would be much more impactful if we reversed the order. Funny enough, the opening image was one she had initially felt ambiguous about, but now made sense within context of the edit and flow.

Be objective, look at your work with fresh eyes, and edit, edit, edit. If you can’t do it alone, recruit an objective and constructive partner to help you.

Drive traffic to your site

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs and freelancers make is subscribing to the belief that if they build it, people will come. It’s a nice idea, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Prospective clients need several points of contact before they’re ready to buy, so you need to be consistently on their radar. I’ve tried every method from cold calls to promotional mailing, and the best way I know is to share high-quality, high-value content with your prospects–no strings attached. Whether it’s a newsletter, blog, social media, or give-away on your website, building and nurturing your list is invaluable.

Get prospects to take action

One of the first questions I ask my coaching clients is, “What do you want people to do when they get to your website?” Answers range from a blank expression to “Enjoy the work.” If you don’t know what you want people to do, how are they going to know what to do?

Here are a few things you might want them to do, along with suggestions of how to get them to do it:

  • Join your mailing list - Create something helpful/educational/gorgeous that they can download once they subscribe. Make sure that the offering really is of value and is related to the services you offer. For example, I offer a free 5-step guide to building a thriving creative business.
  • Call you - Have a call to action that clearly communicates what you want them to do and what they will get. For example, “Schedule a free 20-minute consultation with me.” or “Call me to discuss your next campaign.” Make sure that you include a link that takes them to your contact page or your online calendar.
  • Check out your services - You might create a "Work with Me" button or link that takes them directly to your services page.

Whatever your call to action is, make it easy for them to follow through on it.

Have a submission form on your contact page

If your contact page features just your email address and phone number, your visitors now have to find a pen, write it down, open their email, type it in… You get the point. The more obstacles there are between them and you, the less likely they are to make contact. Make it really easy!

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to you identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.