Whether you’re a freelancer, studio owner, or student fresh out of design school, you need work. And to get that work, you will always ask yourself how you can get more clients.
But the question you really need to ask yourself is, “how can I help better clients find me?”
It’s easy for us to rely on referrals or word-of-mouth to bring leads through the door. It requires little to no effort from our side, but that can’t be the only way you’re helping clients find you.
You need to learn how to market yourself and make it easy for clients to find you.
Start with SEO
While you can’t read clients’ minds, you can predict how they’ll look for someone like you.
Think about how a potential client might search for someone who provides your specific services. You might be a brand strategist for creative businesses, or a graphic designer for tech startups.
If clients are typing “brand strategist for creative business” into their Google search tab and you’re not showing up, you’re making it difficult to be found.
The practice of search engine optimization (SEO) is not dead and is just as important to your marketing strategy as content marketing (which we will get to).
Identify the string of keywords potential clients will search for, and make sure that’s present all throughout your website: in the body copy, headers, title tags, meta descriptions, and blog posts.
Create Engaging Content
On top of implementing SEO practices to your website, content creation and marketing is an essential component to market yourself.
Content marketing is simply pushing out content—visual or written—on social channels. It is highly effective and knocks out multiple birds with one stone. Just from consistently posting content, you can generate a community online, show your work in creative ways, market yourself and your business, network, and attract leads.
You can also streamline your content marketing process with micro content marketing. Let’s say you write an article that has seven main points. You can break up each point into a post for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and expand on what you wrote with a graphic or deeper explanation with a caption.
Get creative, and be active on social media.
There are no Sales without Trust
Once you get those leads through the door, it’s time to sell. The thing is, though, nobody likes to be sold to.
Well, then how the heck are you supposed to sell your services?
You don’t—at least, you don’t go into sales conversations with a ‘selling’ mindset.
You first have to establish trust with your client. They came to you because they have a problem they believe you can solve. They have a pain point that they feel can be solved with a new website, logo, or brand identity, but it’s your job to unpack why they believe this.
Ask questions and be curious. Listen more than you speak. Show empathy, and help the client dissect their problem to get to the solution.
What About Cold-Calling? Does it even Work?
The short answer? Not really. Here’s why.
Reaching out to people who have no clue who you are, or haven’t expressed interest in what you do, are likely to pass on the offer you give.
You’re a stranger who hasn’t done anything for them, so why would they do something for you?
One way you can ‘warm call,’ in a sense, is to reach out to the people who express an interest in you. Let’s say you get a request to connect from someone on LinkedIn. You see that they’ve taken a peek at your profile, and now want you in their network. It’s fair to assume they’re interested in something.
You can reach back out to the person saying, “I’m glad to connect with you! Is there anything that I can do to help?”
When people show interest in you, follow up. Look at who’s looking at you, and make it a point to engage with them.
Clients are virtually everywhere all the time, but if we want to work with them, we have to make it easy for them to find us.
Market yourself using a few simple techniques, like SEO and content marketing, and make sure you follow up with leads. Above all, build trust with your potential clients, and you’ll see how many more doors can open.