If you’ve been in the graphic design field for a while, you may already know how competitive it can be as a business right now.
You not only have to compete with other graphic designers but major firms and freelance agencies as well. However, it is still possible to carve a niche for yourself and establish a steady stream of clients if you know how to go about it.
In this article, we’re going to give you a few simple tips every graphic designer can apply to attract more attention to their work and get a steady clientele.
It All Starts with The Portfolio.
You cannot get away from having a strong portfolio if you want to make your name known as a graphic designer. Building a portfolio that looks good AND converts well is essential if you want to impress visitors and turn them into clients.
Customers will usually be more impressed by a portfolio that showcases high-quality work and variety.
When building your portfolio, you can either decide to create your own professional site or you can sign up to networks or online galleries that allow them to showcase your work.
If you’re intimidated by creating a professional website, then you shouldn’t. There are plenty of services that allow you to create your own online design portfolio in minutes using pre-made professional themes.
All you’ll have to do is load your photos and fill in the blanks and you’ll have a professional site up and running in no time.
When designing your portfolio site, always make sure to use your personal photo wherever you can. This will give your portfolio more credibility and leave your visitor with a better impression of yourself.
You should also make sure that the content you’re using doesn’t use too much technical jargon and is easily understandable for everyone.
Also, make sure that your contact information is up to date and encourages your visitors to sign up to your mailing list. This is a great way to cultivate a list of potential leads and entice them by sending them special offers and general advice regularly.
Promote Your Portfolio.
There are plenty of ways that you can promote your portfolio to potential clients.
One of the simplest ways to do so is through social media. And since graphic design is visual in nature, social media is a particularly apt medium to promote your work.
LinkedIn is especially beneficial to graphic designers and it is one of the first places you should start looking for clients.
After all, most people on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram aren’t necessarily in a buying mood for graphic design and going where your potential clients are most likely to be is one of the main principles of sound social media marketing.
You first have to make sure that your personal profile looks professional.
LinkedIn is a professional network, and you have to treat it like you’re being interviewed when you’re in the process of amassing your first contacts. But once you start making your name, the tables will start turning and you’ll actually become more like the interviewer when vetting clients.
If you’re trying to become a successful graphic designer, this is probably the single most important profile you’ll ever create.
It will feature information about your education, professional memberships, job history, links to your personal website, as well as some of the prizes and accolades you may have received.
LinkedIn users will ultimately judge you by what your profile looks like, so try to see it as a live CV everybody can see. And since it’s “live”, you must make sure that the information is up to date as well.
So, make sure that you include information about some of your latest projects. And if there are some gaps in your employment history, you’ll have to be able to able to explain them as well, just like a job interview.
LinkedIn will give you pointers on how to create the perfect profile and how to make it as attractive as possible to prospects.
Now that your profile is set up, it’s time to look for contacts.
While on Facebook, your first contacts could be old friends or family members, on LinkedIn, you should be focussing on people you may have had a business relationship with.
You could import old colleagues or contacts from your email accounts and address book, for instance, and start looking for specific people as well.
You should also join as many graphic design related groups as possible. This will allow you to congregate with like-minded individuals and people who may have a professional interest in graphic design.
You should also use the connection feature to check who your contacts are connected to. This will allow you to reach people who may be interested in your services now or in the future. And get involved in the community as well by providing your expertise.
Make sure that you use the “recommendation” and “endorse” features as much as you can. Not only will it allow you to gain more visibility, but you may receive more recommendations in return as well.
Attend Graphic Design Conventions.
Graphic designers are often workaholics and end up cutting themselves off from the outside world without realizing it. But isolating yourself could also cut you off from plenty of great opportunities you could take advantage of.
Try to get out of your comfort zone and attend some live events catering to graphic designers. These are great places to rub shoulders with other players in the industry and make some important connections.
You may also be able to find a mentor that will walk you through the ropes and give you advice on how to grow your business, as well as some of the pitfalls to avoid.
They’re also a great place to stay abreast of the latest trends and changes in the industry. They could completely transform your view of design and help you identify trends that may be outdated as well as new waves that could be redefining what good design means.
Consider Offline Marketing.
Another mistake that graphic designers make is focussing solely on online sources for promotion. The truth is that a large portion of your possible audience will spend most of their time in the offline world, so you’ll never be able to effectively reach them through online methods.
Print marketing, in particular, is one of the best ways to reach your potential clients offline. And again, since graphic design is a very visual field by nature, print marketing is a medium that can be very powerful when used correctly.
Something as simple as creating professional looking postcards and sending them to a potential list of clients can go a long way.
Not only are they cheap but they are a great way to showcase your style and talent quickly and easily. A great postcard creates a great first impression and is a great way to speak directly to your clients.
You also have to keep in mind that executives already get a lot of mail from firms and freelancers/ So don’t hesitate to add some samples of your work in professional envelopes, along with professional handwritten letters to important prospects.
This will show an extra level of care and truly showcase what your work is all about and what you have to offer them as a graphic designer.
As you can see, promoting your graphic design business all boils down to applying some basic principles. Make sure that you use the advice in this article to gain more visibility for your work and attract more clients at the same time.