I bet you started your freelance website without any clue what your messaging was. It’s ok if you did…I did the same thing. I get a feeling most freelancers do. That said, it’s something you shouldn’t let sit too long.
Since April is website month, we’re going to focus on messaging, and specifically how to incorporate it into your site in effective ways. Before we start that though, it’s kinda important to know what your messaging is (or at least have a good idea of where you’re going with it.)
We’ve mentioned this exercise from the folks over at Copyblogger before, and I want to focus on it a bit to start off. That’s because filling in just three little blanks will answer your messaging question for all eternity (or until you need to tweak it…whichever comes first.)
I help __________________ (do) __________________ so they can ___________.
Simple, right? We’re going to break it down even more though, because all it’s really doing is asking 3 questions…
- Who do you work for?
- What do you do as a freelancer?
- Why should they hire you?
Now, I’m going to say it again — these answers will and should change for you as a freelancer. Freelancing is a long game, and one of your duties is to adjust your focus and services to fit who pays the best, what industries are growing, what services you’re the best at, and what works with your life.
So let’s fill yours out right now.
These are your clients. They section should be specific.
If you’re designing packaging or building websites for just anybody and everybody, it’s time to take a step back and find a niche. This post will help get you going, but I can’t stress this enough…specializing in a niche means that connection with a tighter network of people (better chance at referrals), justification for higher rates, and better results on your end, all because you know things other freelancers don’t.
So, for example, if you’re a web designer who’s doing general design, consider the fact that Shopify is popular now and maybe focus on that. Maybe even focus on clothing companies who ship internationally. Regardless, drill down until you can talk to The Who about their issues in a specific and personal way.
You’ve probably already got a good idea of what you do or want to do as a freelancer. This will change some, but honestly probably not a lot across your freelance career.
For example — I’m a writer and I do writing. When I plug that into my messaging exercise, it might be creating effective sales letters, or ghostwriting articles, or creating case studies. The answer to The What also needs to be somewhat specific.
Let me say this though…your what should likely be only one thing. Some people can make being a web designer, and marketer, and graphic designer work, but I can almost guarantee if you don’t focus, you’re missing out on some great efficiency benefits that come with a narrow skill set. It might be hard to choose, but it’s worth it, even just as part of the process of finding your sweet spot.
This is probably the most difficult of the three. The great thing though, is that your clients will tell you what it is.
The Why is the benefit, or the results your work brings your clients. That might be establishing thought leadership if you’re a ghostwriter, or saving time and avoiding legal hassles if you’re an accountant. Regardless, it’s something you’re going to want to pay close attention to, because this is what clients really care about when it comes to hiring you over another freelancer.
Why It Matters For Your Site
Your site (or online presence if you’re just getting started with a profile on a bidding site) is an extended letter to your clients that answers the questions they might have before they ask. This is why everything from your home page to your portfolio should center around them. Without messaging though, it’s hard to know exactly what to say or where to say it, or honestly even what theme and colors to choose.
You though, just worked out the basics of your messaging, so getting started on incorporating that into your site will be much easier. If you want to keep up on our posts this month on website messaging, sign up for our free newsletter at the right and you’ll get a notice of all our posts from here on out.
Talk to you soon about building a great freelance web presence!
P.S. Ready for the next step? Check out this post on incorporating your messaging into your homepage.