How can I get more clients?
My graphic design business has had a few clients, approximately 15.
These clients were found through relations and slight word of mouth (probably 3 people heard about me from one client).
My aim is to start reeling in customers myself, and I would like to know (from knowledgable people in marketing) what the best way of doing this is? How can I get more clients and make this business more like a part-time/full-time job?
Graphic Design Guru
Take pictures of your designs in action and use them as often as you can with every letter, email or post you send out. You can even attach what you think is your best on the signature line of your emails so thah time you send an email people will see your design.
As I read through the responses, they are have exceptional advice. I would like to add mines. "Invest in yourself." If one does not invest in oneself, one cannot expect others to do likewise. So, I give you the examples of McDonald's/Hardee's and Budweiser and Schlitz. In both examples, the companies initially started with their competitors in the lead (Hardee's and Schlitz); however, what they failed to continue to do is advertise. Therefore both McDonald's and Budweiser are now household names and have taken over the market share. Both McDonald's and Budweiser, continuously advertise.
Your budget might be small, but you must get your name out there and keep it out there. In addition to social media, websites, etc. find a local newspaper, television station or show, and/or radio station or program to get your name on.
Running a small classified ad in your local newspaper or tabloid will do wonders. Find a local TV show or radio program you can sponsor where they mention your name or air your commercial.
Remember, most people don't remember where they see or hear advertisement, so don't be dishearten or get discouraged when they do not. Like the aforementioned successful businesses, most people don't remember where they saw their ad, they just know they saw or heard it somewhere.
Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement; however, you have not established yourself to that point. Even when you do get to that point, continue to advertise locally.
Sponsor events, get involved in community events where your business can gain exposure, and become highly visible in your community.
Do not get stuck behind your desk, you must venture out into the community because this is your business. Yes, you are a graphic designer, but first and foremost, you are the sales rep.
I know you will be successful, stay positive, and never give up.
- Target better. Know and refine your target market. Know exactly what your audience wants and needs (don't guess).
- Improve your message. Clearly express your core value proposition and differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Extend your reach and stay visible. Make the extra effort to put yourself in front of more of the people who matter. Make sure you do so at a reasonable frequency. Use the tools of our trade: advertising, web/social media/email, PR, direct sales efforts, networking, industry events, promotions, etc.
- Ask for referrals from the clients you already work with.
- Promote additional services to existing clients.
- Get your services, pricing, promotion and accessibility in line with customer expectations.
- Make sure you provide better value than other choices customers may have.
Hi Oli, I would recommend that you offer to write articles for local and industry publications both online & offline, do public speaking and apply for awards for your work to showcase what you do. Your story is your clients' story so make it about them not you, show how your work helped them achieve their goals. All of these things will increase your firm's visibility & awareness. I do a lot of writing and speaking and it is a great way to share what you know. Good luck!
If your attitude toward customers is that you can "reel them in" you will fail. A wise sales consultant I know told me that successful professionals don't "sell" anyone, they allow people to buy.
That's what you do when you work with a referral. All the things you do to assure you do a good job for that referral are what will get you more referrals. In your business it is relatively easier to get referrals than in some others because there is a concentration of people that buy the service. Go to that concentration. Get involved with the local art directors club and with the local chapter of the American Marketing Association and/or any association that has a group of your ideal clients. Network in those groups and build a reputation of trust.
There are always businesses that are looking for graphic designers. Some businesses need a new look and don't realize that they need assistance with a graphic designer to accomplish what they need. Here are a few suggestions that I picked up when I work with a designer and how they procure new clients.
1. Try Fiverr Type Sites... Help a few people who can not afford top grade but may become useful as referrals or future big business. This also helps to gain alot of work quickly.
2. Offer referral rewards for your past clients - You don't have to give them a monetary reward maybe a discount towards new service.
3. Ask a friend or client to include you in their next blog or newsletter
4. Find a Non-Profit and give them a few service for 6 months of ad space. It's a tax write off and free advertising is always great!
To start with, work on your website like Jennifer Goulden said.
Then have an expert do SEO work for the market you are targetting. There is high demand in the world for logo and other graphics design. I suggest you don't do the website yourself (for SEO reasons)
I know a few graphic designers who survive solely on SEO.
Next you can use other forms of marketing...
If you are just starting out, make sure you have interesting and easy website.
build your social media on your business, network, Do presentation on what you do. If you can not explain it, how can customers understand it or know they need it.
Most clients are drawn to you, by trust, knowledge, and personality. Go to business owners drop information, It takes time, done right you be good.
Great question Oli!
There are lot of ways to promote your business. Are you targeting certain types of customers?
You might try partnering with advertising firms, printers, web design firms.
No matter who you target, you can build an email list with systems like LeadFerret.com