Dear owners of production companies,*
*and leaders of small creative agencies, directors, and for that matter anyone out there with a website promoting your business…yes, I’m talking to you too, actors
I want to talk about your website.
I’m no website expert, but having researched a lot of companies in the past year, I’ve seen a lot of great websites that made me super excited to work with a particular company. And a lot that just…didn’t.
I’m not just speaking for myself as someone who may or may not be interested in working with you as a voice artist. I’m putting myself in the shoes of your potential clients as well. The people who would love to pay you for your work, if only they could find your contact info on your website.
As a solo-preneur myself, I’m not against the DIY mentality. But if you’re having trouble getting work, or feel like you’re not getting the quality of clients that you want, read on. I’m here to suggest some small changes you can make to your website that might just make a world of difference.
Ten Ways Your Website is Failing Your Potential Clients:
You don’t have a website
I know that some of you think that it’s too hard or it’s too much work or that it has to be perfect. It doesn’t.
As evidence, I cannot get Squarespace to let me label this list item #1 without it indenting when I don’t want it to…so it is now an example of how nothing will ever be perfect, but sometimes you just have to stop and put something out into the world already!
Just get a domain name. Use a website builder program. At the very least, put up a one-page site with some basic info. Having something out there is always better than being virtually nonexistent. You can always work on making it better once it exists. It will be an ongoing process. Don’t let that stop you from getting started.
2. You are using Facebook instead of a real website
I know it’s easier than building a website, and it’s free, but you know what they say: you get what you pay for. As a potential customer/client, I can tell you that businesses that only seem to exist on Facebook don’t really inspire confidence.
3. Your website doesn’t have enough info
I know some of you really don’t WANT to hear from people. You don’t want to be spammed and phished and sold to. But if your email is harder to find than an *INSERT CLEVER ANALOGY HERE,* then you might want to fix that. Ditto for the physical (and/or mailing address) and a phone number.
In one hugely glaring example I found, a film director had a whole lovely site devoted to her work…and literally no way to contact her. Anywhere. If your potential clients can’t easily get in touch, they’re probably not going to try too hard to find alternative ways to contact you (i.e. carrier pigeon, mental telepathy), they’re just going to move on to the next candidate for the job.
4. Your website has too much info
Oversharing and talking about your work in an overly philosophical or intellectual way drives away potential clients. Instead, share the potential emotional benefit of working with you.
Think like your client! What info do THEY need?
Attention spans are infinitesimal these days. So don’t use big words like “infinitesimal” ;)
Keep things short and sweet
Use bullet points and white space to set things apart
And make your paragraphs a manageable size, please!
5. Your clients can’t navigate the site
Everything on your site should be easy to find. Keep the number of tabs minimal.
Format your site for both desktop and mobile. Since most people are going to look at your site on their phone, make sure that everything is beautifully laid out either way.
Also, make sure the navigation button is easy to find. I swear, on some websites, they are practically invisible.
6. Your website isn’t current
If you’re a set it and forget it type, you might want to start setting a regular reminder to update your website. If the last update to your site was three years ago, or if you haven’t updated your blog since 2012, I’m going to wonder if your business still exists.
In some cases, I actually might wonder if you’re gravely ill or dead, and then not feel comfortable even trying to contact the company in case your grieving widow answers the phone and it leads to a very awkward conversation. (Yes, I have a vivid imagination, but it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility)
If nothing else, updating your site will help your SEO rankings, especially if you blog regularly.
7. Your featured work doesn’t represent the work you want to be doing
All marketing materials have two aspects to them-they should show where you’re at and where you want to go. They’re both representational AND aspirational.
So, if you’re holding onto work from a long time ago that doesn’t show your best, or if you feel like you need to showcase literally everything you’ve done, please go back and start curating to be relevant to the clients you want to attract and the direction you’d like to be going. (Then, when you’re done tailoring your website, you can take that college-era retail job off your resume, and go clean up your LinkedIn profile as well)
8. Your coming across as less then profesional
If you see nothing wrong with the above sentence, then I’m talking to you.
I’m not going to knock your ability to spell. Spelling isn’t everyone’s forte. But too many professional sites wind up looking less than professional due to glaring grammar and spelling mistakes.
Taking a little extra time to double check for those things will help potential clients take you more seriously. Computers have spell check, and you probably have a friend who’s totally willing to gleefully circle your typos for a couple of beers.
(If you’re my friend IRL, consider this your invitation to indulge my drunken nitpicky grammar snob and get some cheap copy editing.)
9. Your clients don’t know who you are
Making your business more personal helps the client connect with you because transparency leads to trust. It’s all about the relationship!
Really big companies can skip this, but smaller companies would be wise to make themselves known. As a client, dealing with a small company is dealing with the people running it. I want to know who I’m going to be working with!
I want to know something about you and find something to connect with you on, whether it’s your love of kittens, the Green Bay Packers, or the films of Hayao Miyazake. I’m much more likely to reach out to a company that is made more personal by knowing the people behind it.
Showing your face helps too, but only if you can smile convincingly. If you have perpetual RBF, this could work against you.
10. You’re trying to be everything to everyone
Your company offers services. Your competitors offer almost the exact same services. How is a client to choose when every company looks the same? If you’re having trouble connecting with clients, or especially with the right kind of clients, it’s probably because you’re afraid of being specific about the kind of work you want to do.
Here’s an example from my side of things. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard actor friends say “I just want to get paid for acting.”
Well, that could mean almost anything—playing birthday party princess or singing telegrams, doing voiceover for political ads, pretending to be a patient for med students, having a fake mental breakdown for cop training, starring in a Hollywood movie, or acting in theatre productions that pay a $150 stipend for eight weeks of work.
So let me ask again: Are you sure you don’t want to get more specific about the type of work you want to do?
I know a lot of people fear being too specific will scare off potential clients. Let me reassure you from experience…you’ll still get offered those other jobs, but getting specific means that you’ll start attracting the right people and jobs…the ones that really resonate with your vibe.
So, let your creative freak flag fly. And then maybe you’ll wind up with enough work that you can feel confident saying no to those jobs that don’t resonate with you.
Hope this was helpful!