About 9 months ago, I hired a business coach to help me get a solid plan in place for my freelance writing business. I’ve always felt kind of insecure about my lack of business know-how, so I figured it would help to have someone experienced telling me how to set my pricing* and what kind of packages to include.
*Up until this point my pricing strategy essentially boiled down to a random number generator and some rudimentary algebra.
But before he would even let me talk about prices and packages, though, my coach made me nail down a watertight process. I had to spell out what would happen, step by step, from the moment a client booked me until I delivered the final product. (You can see the final result here!)
I’m really glad I did this. Does every client follow the exact same steps? No, but running through my “default” process several times helped me feel confident enough to riff in unique situations. Knowing my process also helped me figure out what kind of packages to offer and how to price myself profitably for the time and skills I was offering. So my biz coach was right all along! (Not that I had any doubts.)
Answer questions before they ask.
I also realized that I needed to be able to walk potential clients through my process before they booked me. Many business owners have never hired a copywriter or marketing strategist before. They don’t know what they need to prepare themselves and what I will do for them. (It’s very flexible depending on your business needs and bandwidth.) They don’t know how I’m going to accurately portray their brand in writing. (We work together extensively at the beginning to define an authentic brand voice.) They don’t know whether they will get any edits and revisions, or if they’ll just be stuck with whatever I come up with. (You get as many revisions as you need within the original scope of the project.)
When people don’t know the answers to important questions, they make them up. And they usually don’t come up with answers that encourage them to take the risk of hiring someone and spending money. By sharing parts of my process, I let potential clients know what to expect and help them feel more comfortable working with me. From a more self-centered perspective, being open about my process and expectations also helps me attract clients who are a good fit for my workstyle. (Want immediate responses to texts at 3am? Sorry, I’m not your girl.)
Share your process to attract great clients and prepare them to work with you.
Blogging is a great way to help potential clients understand your process and personality. Clients who get their questions answered are more likely to book you. Clients who understand how you work are more likely to be clients that are going to work well with you. This benefits everyone! Here are 15 ideas for sharing your working process on your blog.
How-to’s and Checklists.
No matter what service or product you provide, you can always use your blog to provide education related to your industry. Choose topics that will get clients thinking about working with you:
- how to coordinate outfits for a family photo session
- important things to pack in your hospital bag
- brainstorming short, mid, and long-term financial goals for your family
- things to get rid of when organizing
- how to use [your product] to [do something unexpected]
Go one step further with educating your potential clients and give them a glimpse of your intake process. Teach your clients how to prepare themselves for a great experience with you. Help them help you! This is a great opportunity to create a valuable digital download to offer readers as an opt-in for joining your mailing list.
- three questions to answer before booking a wedding photographer
- a short birth plan template
- a worksheet for estimating monthly household expenses
- a brand questionnaire
- questions to ask a potential [whatever it is that you do]…and then you waltz in with the perfect answers!
Most business owners spend a lot of time blogging about their finished work: sessions they photographed, websites they built, style guides they developed. This isn’t a bad practice, but a potential client reading it probably won’t care a lot about the technical details from the business owner’s perspective. Add a small client-facing twist to the typical “brag book” blog posts and share how you:
- coaxed a smile out of the tween AND the toddler in this family’s photos
- persuaded a reluctant, packrat spouse to get on board with home decluttering
- used technical elements of web design to elevate the customer experience
- use personality types to create authentic written voices for individual brands (which I know nothing about)
- apply your skills and expertise to meet their needs.
Be yourself and invite others to be themselves.
But what if my process is messy and imperfect, and clients think that I’m messy and imperfect? That’s okay. Blogging openly and honestly about your business will attract clients who are open and honest about the mess and imperfections in their own work. Share the parts of your process that work really well. Or be really brave and ask for help improving the parts that don’t. You will only get better by doing your thing. You will only get more opportunities to do your thing by pulling back the curtain and inviting people in.
If you need help refining your process or sharing it effectively with your customers, send me a note and we can brainstorm some ideas.