Generating leads and maximizing the marketing potential of your portfolio

Online portfolio services largely focus on helping you build a site, but it's up to you to get your name or business in front of prospective customers. Fortunately, the formula is simple. Here are a few pointers to get you going.

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Be authoritative and make a name for yourself

Knowledge is the foundation to life, and what you know is likely valuable to others. Start a blog or participate in discussions in online message boards or forums. Share your knowledge with others, but be sure to always link back to your site! The more your site is attached with your name and your name is attached with something that adds value, the better chance you’ll have of networking with talented people or finding new business.

Share, share, share!

A great way to get your name in front of prospective customers is to talk about yourself! While posting on Facebook is always a good idea, if your target audience doesn’t reside in your friend group, it might not be the best place to constantly be hammering your message. (On the flip side, if you specialize in newborn photography, Facebook might just be the perfect place for that message.)

Fortunately there are more places than just Facebook to get your message out. Twitter is a great place to find customers. Utilize their search functionality to search for things you offer that others might be asking about, then participate in the discussion!

But along the way, be sure you’re creating relevant content that people will be interested in. The better you express yourself and share your knowledge, the more authoritative you’ll appear and the more likely people are to engage with you.

Set up keyword alerts

Google Alerts lets you set up notifications for specific words or phrases. Configuring these alerts is a great way to discover relevant content where your voice could be valuable. And again, whenever you share your voice, make sure it’s relevant to your site and your services. Participating in a conversation online is a fantastic way to generate leads and conversations with prospective customers.

Make it easy for THEM to start a conversation

By far, the most critical thing is this: Make it easy for a potential customer to get in touch!

Your site should have a professional contact form that doesn’t require a lot of information for them to fill out. Studies have shown that forms that require phone numbers or a lot of unnecessary fields have a significantly lower rate of submissions. Keep your form simple - all you need is a name, email and message.

In addition, make it easy for a prospect to start a conversation. Ask them a question! Give them something to answer in your contact form. This is a great way to get them to start talking. Once they answer your questions, you can respond and answer theirs.

One last tip: Check your contact form periodically to make sure it’s still working. I can’t tell you how many times I wouldn’t realize I was missing important emails because my custom-built contact form would randomly stop working. Doh!

Conclusion

Portfolio sites are great for sharing your content, but don’t expect them to do all the work. In the end, it comes down to your work, how you present yourself, and how hard you hustle to get your name in front of the right eyeballs. Utilize the tools provided to you to create your own destiny. Just don’t forget about us once you make it!

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