Having just any website isn’t going to move your business forward. There are 5 deadly mistakes too many designers make! Take a read here and see if you are making any.
Mistake #1: Your bio is in the third person.
How to fix it: Get over yourself, you aren’t that grand! This is all about forming a connection with prospects and you will do that faster when you are personal (not too) and friendly. Share about your background, not a list of accolades (save that for a media page). Talk about where you’ve traveled, what inspires you, do you have kids and a family, if you love to cook. Give the prospect a slice of yourself, a peak behind the cyber curtain.
Mistake #2: You don’t include a headshot or have one so old even your mother wouldn’t recognize you!
How to fix it: Get an updated shot. Yes you can use a good candid, emphasis on good. Please no glamour shots unless you really plan to look like that (and some design professionals do) when you meet. The key is that they see the pic, get a feel for you, and recognize you when you meet. If there is no recognition, it appears dishonest (I know this too well from online dating, they always recognize me, I rarely recognize them!)
Mistake #3: Your list of services has everything and the kitchen sink.
How to fix it: Get focused, get clear, and get specific. What do you like to do? What are your really good at? Yes, I know you can do it all, but when you are all things to all people you are actually nothing to anyone! It is far better to specialize in window treatments, promote your faux finish talents, market just the finishing touches, or be a comprehensive turnkey designer but specialize in specific looks. Sure you can add services once hired, but if you are too scattered they won’t know why to hire you!
Mistake #4: You share your rates.
How to fix it: Blind it immediately, or strip it off your site. You must get to know the prospect before you quote. I never quote until I have had a 15-45 minute conversation by phone, they have agreed to complete my lifestyle questionnaire, and they are scheduled. By that time they are committed to my process. They aren’t going to shop further; they are doing homework only for me. Yes, you must charge consistently, but you can also be flexible in whether you work at cost plus, hourly, by the square foot, or fixed fee. Find out what works for that particular client first. The option isn’t up to them it is up to you to offer what will fit.
Mistake #5: No Success Stories, No Rave Reviews, No Testimonials
How to fix it: Get them! You must have third party credibility. You don’t need many, just a handful (3-5) of selected comments about you and your work. The best way to get these is as the project is wrapping up but before it is totally complete. They are still on that high, excited and haven’t gotten to the punch list yet. (There is always a punch list and how you take care of it, regardless of how great the project is, can make or break client satisfaction.) You can ask directly but better if you have a colleague, PR person, or outsider play Director of Marketing and give the client a call and elicit feedback. Often they will gladly allow you to write something and send it for their approval. Write it in their voice, not yours. Get these for every project as you go forward so you won’t ever be short success stories!
Well I’ve just tackled the top 5 mistakes; there are many more coming in future weeks. The GREATEST MISTAKE ANY DESIGN PROFESSIONAL CAN MAKE is to not have a web presence. Stop being a dinosaur and thinking it is all word-of-mouth. In this day and age of information overwhelm and time restrictions, people must be able to preview you and your work before taking time to go further. They don’t have time to meet, yak and drive around to your wonderful projects. Get over and get successful!! I’m here to help you. [www.yourdesignsuccess.com]
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