Your portfolio isn’t just a place for you to showcase your best work. It’s a tool for helping you win more business — if you leverage it in the right way.
You might need to make some strategic adjustments to be sure you’re getting the most out of this professional asset.
Not sure where to get started? We gathered some tips and insights from professionals to find new strategies you can test to leverage your portfolio and win more business.
Drop Some Names
Sometimes, you just need to play up your big-name gigs and clients in your portfolio. Showcase those high-profile partnerships and then work them into conversations with potential clients to help drive home the fact that you've done great work for important clients in the past.
“We drop names in a natural and conversational way during sales meetings with prospects, display logos in our sales decks and proposals, and use case studies to show how we have helped other organizations address the same issues the prospect is facing,” Anthony Church of Interact Marketing explained.
Keep in mind that the “big names” might not always be Fortune 500 companies. Sometimes, they’re simply the major players in your local market or industry.
Make It Targeted
Portfolios don’t always have to be general, either. Sometimes, showcasing a segment of your portfolio that’s highly relevant for a particular opportunity is a great way to increase your likelihood of landing a new gig.
Writer Jacob McMillen said, “Sometimes I’ll include in my proposal a, ‘by the way, if you'd like to check out my recent work’ and then link to one work example that most closely resembles what they are looking for and one example that best demonstrates my authority in the niche.”
In doing this, you’re leveraging your portfolio without making it seem so cumbersome and formal.
Let the Numbers Speak for You
Within your portfolio, it’s important to not only leverage your best work and big name clients — you also need to showcase some results and numbers you’ve produced, too. People in hiring positions look to hard numbers when making decisions, so these metrics translate well into language they’re looking for.
Writer Sean Bestor said, “Your portfolio needs to leverage proof. You can work at big, flashy companies and be featured in big publications, but numbers are universal … so I prove my value with the results I get repeatedly.”
Use percentages and numbers that indicate growth, increases, money saved, etc. to showcase the value and ROI you can deliver to clients.
Let It Be Seen
If your portfolio is a hard copy material that only gets seen when someone requests an in-person meeting with you, it’s not being leveraged in all the ways it should be. You need to create a digital portfolio that you can also showcase in various locations — like your website, social media, and job applications — so that you’re getting more mileage out of this powerful resource.
Kate Talbot puts her portfolio on Pinterest to show she’s savvy with the platform and has great work, too. “It’s great to organize all of my content from prior positions, bylined articles, and backlinks. And they all link out from the pins,” she said.
Don’t let your portfolio of work gather dust in the corner of your office. Put it in places where it will get your work noticed — and it’ll get your hired for more new gigs.
Use It As a Landing Page
Others use their portfolios in a big way. They turn them into powerful lead magnets like landing pages that draw in prospective clients, referrals, and new jobs by spotlighting case studies and samples of work in a conversion-oriented context.
Austin Mullins of ConversionCreatives said, “My plan is to use my portfolio of detailed case studies as a lead magnet, which will help me follow up with qualified leads.”
This is a bold context for a portfolio, but when you think about it, it makes sense. Why not showcase your work in this context? Shouldn’t you be leveraging your best work when trying to land new clients? (The answer is absolutely yes.)
Make Your Portfolio More Profitable
The bottom line: Your portfolio is a valuable asset to your business—so you need to leverage it in many different spaces to get the most out of it. Think about how you can put these ideas to work and get more creative with showcasing the results you’re most proud of. You might be surprised at the new work and new clients who end up coming your way.