How to write a positioning statement on your website that makes clients hire you
Written by Robert Williams
Virtually every freelancer uses confusing terms to describe their work. Just try explaining one of the terms below to a normal person:
Chances are you lose their attention in the first 10 seconds.
So with that in mind, why use these words to describe your service to clients? Most of them aren’t even clear to people in the industry.
- UX design? That’s debatable.
- Brand design? What’s a brand?
- .NET development? .Whaty-what-now?
Using these terms, you’re disconnecting yourself from what you’re really selling. Instead of selling the benefits of working with you, you’re trying to just sell the thing you do. The problem is no one wants to buy that thing. They want to buy the result that thing will bring for them.
For example, take another common phrase people use:
I create [desirable skill-specific term] for small businesses.
Typically, it’s used like this:
- I create beautiful websites for small businesses.
- I create intuitive user interfaces for small businesses.
- I create fast web apps for small businesses.
- I create attention-grabbing copy for small businesses.
These all may seem like reasonable ways to describe a service. But take a closer look. Who’s the real star in all of these? You. You’re talking about what YOU do. What makes YOU good. Why YOU are great at what you do.
What about your clients?
The only place where you (briefly) mention them, you’re calling them small. In business that’s almost derogatory. They don’t want to be small they want to be big. At least they want their revenue to be big.
So why again are you taking this approach?
If you had to flip one of these positioning statement to instead focus on your clients, you might say:
I create simple interfaces for great iphone apps that want to reach the next level inside the app store.
I create marketing graphics that make great companies stand out even more for their brilliant content.
I create tight web apps for amazing software companies that want to deliver the best product to their customers and improve retention.
All of these revised positioning statements take the emphasis away from you and shifts it to the clients. A client wants a better version of themself. It’s not about the skill you have. It’s not about the service you’re selling, it’s about the results. It’s about how you’re valuable to your great clients. That’s all that matters.
People are looking to pay for an outcome. They want results. They want a problem to go away.
So remember, you’re not just a UI designer. You’re not just any one skill. You have clients. You make their life better because of what your UI design does for their business. That’s what matters.
“There’s no rule that says you need to describe what you’re doing in one word.” — Ryan Singer, Designer, Basecamp
You don’t have to reduce yourself down to a one word specialty to describe what you do. Not just because it’s hard, but also because it doesn’t work anyway.
I help underwater design agencies fix staff shortages quickly and come back up for air. I run Folyo, a private referral community of product designers, and I host Freelance, a podcast about how to work independently.
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