Last week, we talked about what to do when you have too few project inquiries coming in, but the opposite can create just as much stress.
What do you when you have many project inquiries and yet none of them is the right fit?
This is one of the harder seasons of business because it looks like everything is working when the leads are flowing in, but you know better.
It’s an overwhelming disaster waiting to happen, causing you to spend all of your time emailing and calling client leads who won’t turn into project bookings. Or maybe they do book, but they aren’t the type of client you enjoy working with most.
In this season, you may find that clients:
are “price shopping” for the best deal and don’t care about working with you specifically
haven’t been in business long enough to invest in done-for-you services
are unrealistic about how much design work they can get for the price
ask for discounts on your services (yikes!)
If any of these signs sound familiar, it could mean it’s time to shift your attention away from those client leads in order to focus on attracting more of your ideal clients.
How do you go about getting more of the right kind of project inquiries?
01: CONSIDER HOW YOU ARE MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS
No matter what social media platforms you use, make sure you are using them intentionally to market your freelance services.
What connects with your audience? Are your captions as captivating as your design work? Does your social media bio directly address what you do, who you are, and who you help?
Some of these minor tweaks to your marketing direction can make a big difference. You also want to measure the performance of each marketing channel over time so you don’t put all of your time into something that isn’t working.
For example, Pinterest isn't the best place for me to market my client design services since I tend to work with more established brands.
I've found that Pinterest attracts a lot of brands who are just starting out. While I love helping aspiring and new businesses with lower budget products, they aren’t my ideal client for my premium branding services.
Pinterest may work for you if you have a template shop, offer premade designs, or have lower tier pricing. Each of these are well-worthy offerings that perform well through Pinterest. Otherwise, you may want to look into other options and platforms.
Luckily there are dozens of ways to market your design studio so you don’t have to rely on only one platform to bring in better leads.
02: ADD MORE FORM FIELDS TO YOUR CONTACT FORM
If you have too many client leads who aren’t the right fit for your design business, it might be time to revisit your contact form.
If your contact form only includes form fields for your prospective client’s name, website, email address, and a message box, you might be missing some important details and making it too easy for clients who aren’t a fit to get in contact with you.
Here are a few form fields you could add to your contact form to ensure someone is the right fit:
The budget range they have allotted ahead of time for the project
Annual business revenue of the client (and their financial goals)
Other business goals
Their current design struggles
What services they are most interested in
Why now is the right time to invest in design
What stage in the booking process are they in (ex: just shopping around vs. ready to book and get their project on your calendar)
How long they’ve been in business (ex: just starting out vs. over 2 years)
Adding more form fields will also give your contact form more of an application feel. You can see ours for a live example.
Only clients who are truly interested in your services and ready to make the investment will take the time to fill out your contact form.
We don’t recommend going overboard and giving people so many form field options that it makes their brains hurt, but you can start with 5-10 form fields to help you narrow down which clients are your best fit.
03: POST YOUR PRICING ON YOUR WEBSITE
We talked more about this in last week’s email, but sharing at least a “starting at” price can help you from having to weed through prospective clients who can’t afford your services.
You can also add information on how you collect payments. Many designers collect a 50% deposit upfront and the last 50% payment toward the end of the project, but it’s up to you to decide what the best fit is.
Keeping the pricing structure and invoicing process transparent could help you attract more of the right kind of clients who are ready and willing to make an investment in your services.
04: CHARGE AN INTRODUCTORY FEE FOR STRATEGY CALLS
Before booking branding or web projects, some designers like to hop on a free consultation call. It isn’t a necessity, but it can be a great fit for designers who have a highly collaborative process.
However, if you are getting too many project inquiries that aren’t a fit, you could find yourself jumping on several free consultation calls that feel like a waste of your time and energy.
Instead, you could charge a small fee for a short strategy call for clients who want to work with you. Of course, you still want to provide enough value in this call so they can walk away feeling like they made a great investment no matter if they work with you or not. If a client lead is willing to make a low upfront investment, it will prove that they take your services seriously.
You can test this behind-the-scenes, meaning you don’t have to publicly post on your website that you charge for strategy calls as part of your process.
That way, when someone comes in your inbox that seems like a great fit, you can happily to hop on a free consult call. On the other hand, if someone who is just starting out with their business needs additional brand strategy help before tackling the brand design process, you can then offer them the strategy call option.
Now it’s time to take action!
I challenge YOU to implement one of these recommendations into your design business if you are generating too many project inquiries that aren’t the right fit.
Let me know how it goes by replying to this email so I can cheer you on.
We’ll get you closer to your dream clients - I just know it!
Next week we’re getting juicy — what to do when you’ve got too many dreamy clients coming to your inbox (yes, this can be stressful too!).
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