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A strong body of work prominently displayed on your site is crucial to getting new clients and earning their trust. Some specific industries or job titles, however, make this almost (if not completely) impossible.
Ghostwriters, business consultants, marketers, accountants, transcriptionists and many other specialists offer discretion and confidentiality that prevents them from sharing their work, or their work doesn’t yield true samples that can be shared publicly. As the owner of Transcription Outsourcing, I’ve run into this many times myself; we can’t display the transcripts of the 911 calls or the confidential business meetings we put together, and even if we could there wouldn’t be a good way to highlight our services.
If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or freelancer in one of these fields, the inability to showcase your work in a conventional way can make it more difficult to get clients. Fortunately, there are other ways to build a portfolio that will help you attract and land the right clients. Here’s how to do it.
If you can’t show your actual work, testimonials can be the next best thing. Sometimes they can even be more valuable than samples themselves. Reviews from past clients establish social proof, explaining that in addition to having the experience to get the job done well, you’re also a joy to work with and dedicated to the project.
Many clients want to see testimonials or get a referral from someone they trust before they commit to your product or service, so having a dedicated testimonial section on your site that’s easy to find will do wonders in place of a portfolio.
Explain your process.
Someone who is able to address questions about the process and carefully explain what clients can expect will win their confidence over quickly.
Instead of a portfolio, you could feature a “how we work” section on your site where you list the different steps involved to get the working relationship going. This could involve an initial call to discuss exactly what the client is looking for, then a strategy session for approval before actually moving into multiple distinct steps of the creation process.
Even though you can’t show them any final products, clients who understand your process will feel better knowing what they’re getting themselves into and that you’ve fine-tuned your system already. If you present yourself as an established expert with a system to get the job done right, you’ll have a much better chance of landing those clients.
Create a sample purely for your site.
I once knew an ad copywriter who signed NDAs with all of his clients and therefore couldn’t showcase any of the content he’d written on their sites. He didn’t take that lying down, however, and he actually created sample ad campaigns purely for the purpose of showing what he could do.
Not all industries will grant you the option to create samples for viewing — transcription included, as it’s a difficult task to represent in a portfolio. If yours does allow for this, however, it’s a great option. Even though you aren’t getting paid for the work, consider it an investment into your business and take some time to create great samples that will highlight your skill set and show what you’ve got.
Sometimes there’s just no way to showcase the work you’ve done in any capacity, though there’s still another great tactic available to you: explaining your experience. Feature the assets that you have that make it possible for you to do the work well.
This might include listing courses you’ve taken or certifications or degrees that you have (the more well-known the better). It could also include discussing years of experience saving clients money or increasing conversions or mentioning specific highlights like working with Fortune 500 companies. If you’re a member of any prestigious professional organizations or have won any awards, mention it.
Use your “about me” or “experience” parts of your site as a portfolio of your expertise and credibility, focusing on everything you have in your power that shows you can do the job well. That’s what clients care about most, and the more you have stacked in your favor, the better.
Some industries or job titles make it nearly impossible to showcase the work you’ve done in the past. This doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, however, especially because it likely means that your competitors are often unable to showcase their work as well, so you aren’t at a competitive disadvantage. Instead of lamenting the loss of a traditional profile, focus on what you can do to showcase your expertise and establish trust. Clients will be happy to start working with you in no time.
January 30, 2019 at 09:17AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs