How I use my blog to attract more clients

You've probably read articles from freelancers around the internet telling you that blogging has transformed their lives and businesses. But how? Yes, blogging must be amazing for your business if you have an audience of thousands. But surely blogging isn't as effective if you only have a tiny audience? That's not the case, and in this article I'm going to stop you thinking that way and show you how I used my blog to:

  • Establish my business
  • Get my first paying clients
  • Establish myself as an expert in my industry
  • Start making recurring income

How I established my business through blogging

I started my first blog six years ago for fun, not for business. My first blog was called The Button Owl and was built on Tumblr. It was about lots of stuff- fashion, personal style, craft, lifestyle... I had this blog for about a year and totally loved it. I then switched to Blogger and created a fashion blog called Flower Child. I made friends in the blogging world, I realized I wanted to blog about personal style instead of all the other stuff, and I really found my voice. But the most important factor here was that creating my blog was my first real stepping-stone towards building my own design business and booking paid clients, something I didn't know I wanted to do at the time.

I loved experimenting with my blog design and creating new logos. When my blog started to grow, I started receiving design requests. I couldn't believe that just by doing something fun- blogging- I was able to attract paying clients. It was easier than I thought, and with a little social media marketing I soon discovered that I could earn more than I did at my day job. That's when the cogs in my brain started turning and I decided to quit my job and give freelancing a shot.

Do you need lots of blog readers to start turning some of them into clients?

No. Remember the old saying, quality over quantity? I firmly believe that a quality blog audience is more valuable than having an audience of lots of readers who barely interact with you.

If you don't have time to blog every day or three times a week, then don't. Blogging so much isn't the only way to achieve success with your blog. Try blogging once a week. One in-depth, quality blog post is all you need to kick off your blogging.

Look at it this way: you could receive 1000 visits to one blog post by promoting it thoroughly, or you could post 5 times a week and get 200 visits to each post. That's the same number of visits each week. The first option doesn't require much time writing, just a bit more marketing. The second option requires LOTS of time writing, and then time marketing each blog post. Why add so much work to your load? I know which option I prefer.

How to attract potential clients to your blog

  • Write quality content. Clients will be impressed by articles that are deep and show your expertise.
  • Create pinnable blog post graphics. Graphics that get the most pins on Pinterest are vertical and the text on them is big. These images will catch peoples attention on Pinterest- hopefully your potential clients. One of my recent inquiries came from a woman who found me through Pinterest so never underestimate it!
  • Pin one of your articles every day. Pinterest is my highest source of blog traffic and lots of my clients find me through it, so it's important to pin every day.
  • Share your blog posts on social media every day. There are hundreds of potential clients on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Make sure you're sharing your work and blog posts with them every day. The more you share on social media, the more potential clients will come your way.
  • Share your work on your blog. If you design websites then share your work on your blog. Sometimes, people read your blog but have no idea what you do. If you share your work with them on your blog it could spur them to inquire about your services.

Other ways your blog helps you get clients

Even if your clients haven't found you through your blog, your blog will help them decide whether they want to hire you.

Here's a scenario:

One designer, Sarah, is a hard worker and extremely talented. She doesn't have a blog but she has a portfolio website that showcases her work and her contact details.

Another designer, Amy, is also very talented. She has a portfolio site that showcases her work and her details, but she also has a blog filled with behind-the-scenes info on her processes, articles that show off her expertise, and a tribe of people who comment and show their love for her.

Which designer seems more appealing to a client? And which designer would you pay more? It would usually be the second designer because she gained your trust by showcasing her expertise on her blog.

I've noticed that a lot of my clients subscribe to my email list before getting in touch, and they sometimes comment on blog posts. One of my clients told me last year that my blog helped her decide to hire me because my articles proved that I knew what I was doing.

All of this shows that if you don't have a blog, you should really start one.

One way my blog has earned me money

The bigger you build your blog tribe, the more people you can sell to. You can sell eBooks, courses, digital goods, consult calls.... anything! There's a community of loyal readers just waiting for your help. And if you're smart and you love them enough, you'll provide it.

I created this club and only marketed it to my blog readers and newsletter subscribers. I didn't do any outside marketing- no Facebook ads, no blog ads, no affiliates. Every person who subscribed to this club did it through my blog or newsletter. I currently have 70 subscribers to this club. That's $700 per month just from blog readers who value my content enough that they're willing to pay for a higher level of content. (Gotta have love for you guys, because I am reeeeeally enjoying sharing this exclusive content with you, and I'm LOVING getting to know you all in our private Facebook group!)

In summary

In short, if you want to attract clients and make money through your blog, you need to:

  • Post quality content regularly, even if it's just once a week.
  • Share your content on social media every day.
  • Interact with your readers.
  • Showcase your expertise on your blog.
  • Post about topics your ideal clients are interested in. (You can do this by going through the questions your clients ask you often and making blog posts that answer them!)
  • Take blogging seriously.

If you put your heart into blogging and you provide your readers with content they actually need (instead of just posting about your cat or your vacation) then I promise you'll attract clients and start making money from it.

My step-by-step process for booking clients

So, now that you've learned some new tips and tricks that will help you find clients from social media, referrals and your blog, how will you book those clients? Often, finding clients can be the easy part. Booking them can be tricky, especially if you don't have a system in place.

It's helpful to create a 'booking process' for yourself. Write down each step you and the client need to take after they've decided to work with you- from the moment they say yes to the moment you send them their homework. Then automate and streamline each step in that process, like your life depends on it. You can streamline your booking process by:

  • Creating canned emails so you don't have to keep retyping what you tell every new client.
  • Creating reusable questionnaires for each of your services.
  • Implement apps that save you time in the booking process.

I'm going to go through my own booking process with you so that you can hopefully take some ideas from it. You may have seen in last month's article, How I manage my client flow in Streak, a little snippet of my inquiry process. But I'm going to break it down here and explain exactly how I streamline my bookings and inquiries.

My step-by-step booking process

1. I receive an inquiry. All inquiries come through the simple contact form I have on my website. It asks for a few details (name, email, URL, which service they're interested in) so that I know a bit about them before I even reply. You'll notice that I point inquirers to my FAQ page- it helps stop them from asking me questions that are already answered there.

2. I send them a canned email response. Since most inquiries are the same, I send a canned email response (an email template) in Gmail. It tells them when I'm available, how long their project would approximately take, and asks them to schedule a Skype consultation with me so we can discuss their project more.

3. The client schedules a free 15-30 minute consultation. I use Calendly to schedule consultations and I absolutely love it! It's simple and it syncs with my Google Calendar. When they've booked their consultation, I email them to thank them and tell them to accept my Skype contact request before the session. This email is also a canned response. (See how canned emails make the booking process more streamlined?!)

4. Calendly notifies me and the client when the consultation is due. But I find it nice and helpful to drop them a message the day of the session as a bonus reminder. It's just a short canned email, but they don't know that it's canned. It shows that I care and I'm looking forward to 'meeting' them!

5. We have our Skype consultation. In their Skype discussions we usually talk about their business, goals, needs, and target customers. Then we ask each other questions. You can read up on my tips for Skyping with clients on my blog!

6. I send another canned email. I call this one my 'after skype' email. I give them a short summary of our conversation, I send them my contract, I send them an invoice, tell them how to pay the deposit to book their spot in my schedule, and I attach a recording of our Skype consultation. I then leave it up to them to decide if they're going to work with me! Using Streak, an add-on for Gmail, I set a reminder that will tell me to follow up with the client in 10 days if I haven't heard back from them. If 10 days goes by, I send a canned response that asks if they have any questions or concerns I could help them with.

7. The clients books me. When the client has paid the deposit and signed the contract, I set up a project page in Basecamp for them. You can create project templates in Basecamp so I just duplicate a template. Then I send- you guessed it- yet another canned email. This one invites the client to their project page and explains how we'll use it. It also tells them about the homework they need to complete before their project starts.

8. I send another email. Canned, you say? Why yes. Yes it is. 2 weeks before their project, I email them reminding them to complete their 'homework' and asking them to book a Skype session with me. This year I added 30 minute Skype sessions to my packages so I could discuss the client's homework with them and the client could ask any last-minute questions they have. I find these Skype sessions really good motivators for my clients to get their homework done on time.

9. I schedule an email reminder. I schedule an email to send 1 day before the session, reminding the client of it.

10. We have the consultation! After the consultation, we're both on the same page and excited to crack on with their branding project. You can view examples of my work here and read testimonials from clients who have been through this process over here. 

There are always more ways to automate and streamline your process. For example, I feel that I could try to set up Calendly to remind clients of their Skype sessions instead of doing it myself. And if I had a virtual assistant, she could handle the emails completely. The more and more you think of ways to simplify your process, the more ideas come to you.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my booking process. Tips and constructive feedback are always welcome! Head to the Facebook group to start a conversation or leave a comment here.

How to use OptimizePress to launch your brilliant ideas

This guest post is written by Amanda Genther. She helps you launch profitable online courses and eBooks. When you can't find many clients and you're struggling to sell your services, it's useful to have passive income you can fall back on. To create passive income, you need to launch eBooks, courses of products. But how? And where do you start? Amanda is here to shed some light on the topic!

Online courses and passive income are a hot topic right now, and I’ll bet that you’ve got a whole notebook full of ideas just waiting to get out into the world. Amiright?!

But what happens when you’re completely confused by all of the tech tools involved to launch something? One of the biggest hangups being how to design your sales page and membership site.... without being a techy.

Because the fact is: the content and your people are what you should be focused on, not the technology.

ENTER: OptimizePress!

This is THE tool I recommend to my entire community and anyone wanting to learn how to easily design their own sales pages and membership sites, regardless of whether you’re a designer or know how to use Photoshop. It also helps those with smaller budgets get on the same level playing field as those who can outsource their design work, because it’s affordable and easy to use.

How to use it:

First, you’ll want to make sure you have a fresh domain set up with Wordpress installed. I recommend watching this awesome step-by-step video from Michael Hyatt to setup your domain, hosting and install Wordpress.

1. Purchase your license for OptimizePress here: http://bit.ly/OpPress (you should only need the Core Package for now)

2. Once you purchase, follow OP’s Ultimate Getting Started Guide for step-by-step instructions for installing OptimizePress onto your website.

3. Once you have OP installed and the basics setup, I recommend playing around by creating a new page. The easiest way to design new pages is to use the Live Editor, which allows you to see the changes as you’re making them.

4. Choose a pre-installed content template or choose one from their shop for the new page you’re creating. If you’re creating a sales page, they have pre-built sales page templates you can use. Same goes for membership site pages, squeeze pages and so much more.

5. Add your content to the page, upload graphics and images (I recommend Canva for designing your own graphics and icons) and customize your colors and fonts.

Just like any other technology, OP does have a slight learning curve, but after a few pages and a few hours of playing around with it, you’ll start to feel a lot more comfortable.

And eventually, you’ll be whipping out gorgeous sales pages in a matter of hours.

My top tips for using OptimizePress:

Keep it simple to start. If you aren’t a designer, I always recommend to keep your sales pages and membership site designs simple by using the built-in content templates that come with OptimizePress. At this point, I only recommend adding your own content and changing the colors and fonts to match your branding. As you get more comfortable with everything, you can start to get fancier with the design.

White space is your best friend. Don’t be afraid to add a lot of “padding” to your copy and images. The “padding” I’m referring to is all of the white space used on your sales pages and membership sites. White space gives your content some room to breathe and makes it easier for your readers and customers to follow the page and no what to read next. Bunched up text on a page is hard to read and will cause more people to exit the page before they finish reading, which could result in less sales for you.

Use lots of visuals throughout the page. Once I get done adding all of the content to sales pages I design for my clients, I go back through the entire page, section by section, and ask myself, “How could I say this visually?”. A crazy statistic I came across a year ago says, “Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster to the brain than text”, which means that it’s much easier for your readers to consume your content via visuals than by reading, so always try to make your sales pages and membership sites as visual as possible.

By using OptimizePress, you get to take your branding and product launches back into your own hands, so you no longer have to wait on a designer’s timeline to have room for your project or shell out $4,000+ for a designer to create a custom sales page and membership site for your course.

It only takes $97 + time invested learning how to use the tool.

Amanda Genther helps purpose-driven women entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life by providing personality-inspired design + next-level strategy for their online courses. She is also the creator of Irresistible Sales Pages, an online course that teaches women entrepreneurs how to become their own sales page stylists so they can launch with confidence and make more sales.

How I find paying clients through social media

How I find clients through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

A lot of freelancers use websites like Bechance, Freelancer and Elance to find clients, which works great for them, but not for me. I've never actually booked a client from any of those websites. Most of my clients have found my through:

  • Referrals
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • My blog
  • Twitter

And that list was ranked in order. As you can see, after referrals from my clients and other designers, social media brings me lots of clients. In fact, my most recent inquirer found me via Pinterest. It just proved to me that I needed to continue putting effort into pinning my work onto Pinterest and taking Pinterest seriously.

I occasionally do consult calls with freelancers, and a lot of them tell me they don’t know how to get clients from social media. So I’m here to shed some light on the actually-pretty-simple technique.

Let’s start with Facebook.

A year ago, I hardly ever logged on to Facebook. I had a Facebook page that I never used because it didn't drive much traffic to my site, and I was in a few Facebook groups but never actually participated in discussions.

I was one click away from deleting my Facebook account forever.

Fast forward one year and my business makes a lot of its money via Facebook groups.

There's a tendency among freelancers to focus on getting more likes for your Facebook business page. But because of Facebook's algorithm, not everyone who likes your pages actually sees what you post. That means the chance of actually getting clients via your Facebook page is super slim. I focus on Facebook groups instead.

When you find the right Facebook groups, you can: - Establish your expertise in the group - Make friends with business owners in the group - Turn some of those friends into clients - Find freelancers in the group who are willing to refer work to you

To get clients from Facebook groups you have to implement these 3 things:

Find the right Facebook groups for YOU

Facebook groups are only beneficial when they serve you and help you. So look for groups have daily discussions with plenty of comments, and are filled with potential clients or people with the same job as you, and groups that aren't just filled with promos.

Be active. Actively participate in discussions. Facebook groups- the right ones- are gold mines filled with potential clients. But if you don’t actively comment on threads and make your expertise known, no one will know you’re there and no one will inquire about your services. You don’t have to be on Facebook 24/7. Do what I do- dedicate an hour each day to it.

Don’t be salesy. The thing Facebookers hate the most is spam, so don’t spam groups with your services and products. Some groups have certain days where you can post about your services, so be respectful and stick to those days. If you find a group that doesn't specify a day for this, post about your services very sparingly.

I find quality clients from Facebook groups such as the Biz Designers group. In fact, I booked two clients from that group this year and they purchased my Luxury Brand package and my website design package. Result!

Twitter

I don’t book as many clients from Twitter these days, but when I was freelancing part-time I booked 6 clients in one week from Twitter. It was the turning point in my life where I realized I could actually make money from freelancing. It was the point when I realized I was kind of good at this marketing stuff.

When I booked 6 clients from Twitter, I tweeted 3-5 times a day about a (cheap) special offer I was selling. If you’re selling smaller packages and lower-priced services, Twitter is a great platform for you.

Pinterest

Ah, Pinterest. My favorite social media platform of all. If you create anything visual, like websites or logos, then Pinterest is the perfect platform to get your work seen. But I personally think that Pinterest only works best when you have a blog. Most of my website traffic comes from Pinterest- it’s my second biggest referrer. So not only do potential clients see my design work pinned on Pinterest- they also see my blog posts. And when they click-through to my site, they see I offer design services.

metrics
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So, if you’re going to find clients via Pinterest: - Pin your blog posts and encourage readers to do the same - Pin your work - Blog about your work and pin it again

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t included Instagram in this roundup. That’s because I’m still playing with Instagram. I’ve never really taken it seriously and it has never sent clients my way, but I know it brings some people a lot of clients. So if you’re interested in Instagram marketing, I recommend checking out Alex’s post on Instagram marketing.

So, when should you post on social media? Should you have a schedule?

Yes! You should! I've never been great at sticking to a social media schedule so I created this one today. I'm going to follow it; maybe you can too! I optimized this schedule by researching the best days to post on social and implementing T.A McCann's 5-3-2 rule. According to McCann's framework for posting on social media, out of every 10 posts, 5 should contain content from others that is relevant to your audience, 3 should be content from you, and 2 should be personal posts. Awesome framework, isn't it?

social media schedule for small businesses
social media schedule for small businesses

Referrals

OK, so I didn't say I was going to discuss getting clients via referrals in here but I'm doing it anyway! Referrals is a big part of how I get clients. But how do I get the referrals? There are a few ways of manifesting referrals:

Make friends with others in your niche

It's really easy to make friends with other creatives in your industry. You can tweet them, chat with them in Facebook groups, email them... the list goes on! If you strive to make genuine friendships, you'll find that those friends will start sending work your way when they're booked up.

Make friends with people in other niches

The best way I make friends with people in other industries (like writers and photographers) is promoting their posts and services, or including them in a blog post. In fact, a copy writer I included in a blog post this year emailed me yesterday asking if she could refer me to her clients. Pretty awesome, huh?

Join referral programs

Some businesses have referrals programs where they refer clients to you and take 5-10% of the earnings you make from that client. Depending on how much you charge, this could be a really great way of gaining some clients. If you don't know anyone who runs this kind of program, ask around on Facebook or start one of your own!

Get your clients to refer you to their friends

This should be one of your main goals. When my clients walk away from our time together, I want them to be so pumped and excited that they yell my name from the rooftops! So I go above and beyond to make them happy. I don't let them walk over me, but if the project is ending quickly I throw in extra revisions. I reply to their emails quickly. I send them a card when their project is over. You get the point! If a client thinks you've done an amazing job, they'll have no problem with recommending you to others.