Sales are the lifeblood of any business, and for you, that means a constant stream of good design clients. When you’re first starting out (or going through a dry spell) it can feel impossible to imagine how you’ll ever find anyone who’s willing to pay you for your services. The good news is that there are plenty, and the internet means we have the ability to work with anyone from anywhere in the world. That said, here are four ways you can find your next client.
Get Laser-Focused on Your Ideal Client
You should know with at least some certainty who your ideal client is. You should know what their needs are, how much they’re willing to spend (if it’s not enough, they’re not your ideal client), where they spend their time on or offline, and what they love about you. If you’ve already had a few clients you loved working with then the chances are one of them is it. When you know this you can write any sales and marketing copy directly for them, so you attract more of those clients.
Update Your Portfolios and Listings
Many designers advertise their services on marketplaces and directories online. If you aren’t one of these people, start getting yourself listed on relevant websites so people will be able to find you. If you’re already on them go back, take a look at your business listing and portfolio examples on there, and check that everything is just how you want it. A secondary effect of doing this is it will create backlinks for your website on other sites, improving your SEO.
Don’t Forget Your Past Clients
Past clients are people who already like you, were happy to buy from you, and may need you again or know someone who does. When you ask in the right way at the right time, there’s a good chance they may know someone who may need your services. You can also touch base and remind them you’re there and are happy to help them. Just ensure you do this on a person-by-person basis and don’t send out a mass email.
This isn’t cold calling (unless you want to do it over the phone) but it is the online equivalent. If you do it right it will be “warm” calling, and people will be more likely to respond to you. Keep an eye out for businesses whose design could do with a bit of help, and politely reach out. Send them an email or reach out to them on LinkedIn. Just make sure you don’t go in to the conversation with arrogance, telling them their design is crap and you could do it so much better, but make a genuine connection, offer a little advice for free, and let them know that if they’re ever in need of some design work that you’d love to work with them.
There are always hundreds of ways to attract more design clients (and if you’re not on social media, you should be) but if you start by mastering these four you’ll have a lot less downtime between projects to be worrying about it, and don’t forget to collect testimonials where possible.