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Jun 14

Get Your First 5 Graphic Design Clients on LinkedIn

This step-by-step guide will teach you how to use Linkedin to contact the perfect type of clients you are looking for.

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Quick Introduction

This step-by-step guide will teach you how to use Linkedin to contact the perfect type of clients you are looking for. This method aims to quickly create new connections with new prospects using new tools that are either free or inexpensive to use. There are many people who need graphic design work, it’s just a matter of finding them.

Understanding Client Expectations & Mindset

Remember, you are a graphic design freelancer which can worry some companies. They don’t how to keep track of your work or if you will actually deliver. They will be uneasy when you first speak with them. Your job is to build their CONFIDENCE and show that you are a PROFESSIONAL. This is especially key if you are reaching out to clients.

Here are some quick rules of thumb:


Remember, clients want to know the work they pay for will get done and correctly.

Step 1. Defining Your Customer Persona

I tell this to not only my employees, but also to my clients. It is important that you KNOW WHO YOUR AUDIENCE IS. You are not going to target everyone, and you are not going to take over everyone’s work. You need to first focus on a specific persona to start your lead generation. For example, if you are involved in health & fitness a lot, try to focus on clients in this realm. All leads and customers aren’t created equal.

The 80/20 principle tells that 80% of revenue is generated by 20% of customers. If we apply it once more, we’ll see that 4% of customers generate 64% of revenue. The real problem here is that most companies never give this 4% of customers and leads the time they deserve.

An customer profile helps you to collect the data from your customers from the specific market segment and to focus your inbound strategy on them, instead of prospecting everybody who might buy from you. This takes your Linkedin content from: “5 key lessons I learned about Fintech startups” to “5 key lessons I learned from running a fast growing Fintech start-up as a CEO” Knowing this, building your content strategy is a piece of cake.

If you are still deciding on your Ideal Customer Profile, start here:

Want to get a free 15-page worksheet that helps you define your persona for you? You can download your free copy here:

Also, put yourself in the business owners shoes. Would you pay that much for your service based on your portfolio & why?

Step 2. Defining Your Market Segment

Different market segments who will potentially buy your product have different challenges, goals and, accordingly, seek completely different content. A senior marketer or head of growth from an enterprise SaaS might be looking for website creatives while a business owner will be looking for print designs for a conference.

The segment you define will allow you to better present your portfolio and be more effective in gaining client interest in the first place. Even if you try to create universal content that will fit both market segments, you’ll face another problem – relevant examples.

Here is another rule of thumb:
Relevant content = relevant examples.
When the head of marketing for ClassPass (net monthly revenue of $2M) sees examples that are related to an early-stage startup or print graphic, she’ll subconsciously mark the content as irrelevant.

Step 3. Finding Your Customers

What we are going to do now is use an amazing tool to build a large list of decision-makers based on your defined customer persona and your targeted segment. I Highly recommend purchasing sales navigator for this. You can also sign up for a 1 month free trial for sales navigator here. This will let you connect with a lot more prospects and get many more search results for your lead generation.

  1. Visit
  2. Click download the app
  3. At the top you will click Create Campaign
  4. You will then see a search area where you can define who you want to target. For the demonstration, I have broken it down simply as:
  • Connections to 1st Connection
  • Industries as Computer Games
  • Locations as Los Angeles
  • Main search as marketing manager

What does this mean? Basically, we will be finding people based on this criterion on Linkedin and connecting with them. Here is a sample of the connections I got:

Step 4. Creating & Sending Your Pitch

Now that we have our search down, we need to prepare our pitch.

Here are 4 golden rules to follow when creating your pitch:

  1. Make the pitch as unique as possible
  2. Be respectful
  3. Keep it brief
  4. Be transparent for what you are asking

Rely on your strengths when writing your pitch. It won’t help you to just write a generic message to these people. Asking someone to give you business is easy to do. Show them why it makes sense to use you as their graphic designer. Make them imagine the experience by showing that you are involved with their community or live close by so you can meet with them if necessary.

Here is an example of how it should look:

I’ve created 2 pitches for you to use as a guideline.

Sample pitch 1 (Soft Approach) :

Hey {{first_name}},

I’m getting more involved in the gaming sector as a graphic designer. Thought it made sense to introduce myself and share some of my portfolio with you?

Also saw you were based in Los Angeles so we are pretty close by.


Glad we connected, let me know if it makes sense to talk sometime.

No worries if you are busy – I can share some of my work through email if that’s better.

Sample pitch 2 (Hard Approach)

Hi {{first_name}},

I’m reaching out to see if your team might need a fractional graphic designer. I work primarily in the gaming industry for clients such as RIOT, TSM Gaming, & Ubisoft.

Also based in San Diego and would love to present some mockups to your team.


Glad we connected, let me know if it makes sense to talk sometime.

I can share it with someone else from your team if it’s better?

Step 5. Manually Following Up On Prospects

Remember that you are doing outreach and that not everyone is going to reply to your messages. Don’t be discouraged if you feel that you have a very small reply rate, it’s a start and that’s what matters. You want to shoot for a 5% positive response rate. That is a great start.

From there, slowly iterate your pitch and work your way up to 10%. To improve your reply rate, you can do another manual follow-up to your prospect sharing specific ideas that you can implement for them. Think about how will what you do benefit them and what result they can expect.

Here is an example:

We first messaged this prospect 5 months ago when we launched a new marketing product for organizations.
He didn’t respond.
I personally followed up with a connection and soft-introduction on Linkedin.
He still didn’t answer.
I then sent another message thanking him for connecting with me and that if he had received my email.

Step 6. Finding Your Contacts Email

Method 1- we are now going to find the email addresses of the people we contacted through Linkedin. We can do this by using a free extension called Clearbit

*Make sure you have Google Chrome installed for this. We will be using an extension.

  1. Download to easily find anyone’s email address that works in a specific company.
  2. Find the company you want to reach out to. I will take a specific person from our Linkedin search.
  3. Once you have found the company, compose an email through the gmail extension and you should see it there.
  4. Now I will type the name of the company or domain that I am trying to get in touch with
  5. Click on the prospect that you reached out to on Linkedin.

For my test, I am looking at Emmanuel Valdez who is the Art Director for Day Break Games. I can see that it gives me his email address right there.

Method 2 – we can also find our prospects email by scraping search engines any public contact information. We will be using another free tool simply called “Email Finder”. You can download it here.

  1. Visit the company website
  2. Click on the extension found on the top right of your address bar
  3. Let it perform its search and click back on the extension
  4. You should now see a list of emails available from that website that you can now contact

Now go get yourself some clients!

About This Author:

Jonathan Saeidian is the Founder & CEO of Brenton Way, a digital marketing agency that drives growth for brands & ventures. He fully bootstrapped the agency and 2 other companies to a 6-figure business in 6 months through outbound marketing alone. Their company now works with key players in the financial, regulations, and cloud sector to generate high market qualified leads.

He believes that by reverse-engineering each service, you are able to uncover unique opportunities to help set your business apart.

Ben Burns

Ben Burns is a designer that helps growing businesses increase revenue, expand brand awareness, and earn happier customers. Currently, he serves in a dual role as both the Chief Operating Officer of The Futur and as Digital Creative Director at Blind.