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Getting new clients can be one of the hardest aspects of running your own web design business. The way you go about this will depend on the way you work and the type of clients you have, but I’ve collected some tips to get you started.
Here it is – 6 powerful methods that explain how to get web design clients.
Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, and the best way to get it started is with people you already know. For word-of-mouth to take hold, people need a compelling reason to talk about you.
Luckily, your friends and family already have one – they are emotionally invested in you. Just by being someone’s sister’s neighbor’s brother, you’ve provided an incentive to promote your services (although the strength of it may depend on the person in question, or your closeness to said brother’s neighbor’s sister).
Once you’ve exhausted your collection of friends, family and acquaintances-of-acquaintances, you’ll need to find another reason to compel the crowd to talk about you. Hopefully by this stage you will have completed enough awesome work that the quality of what you do will be reason enough, but if you need another strong selling point, here are some ideas to work with:
Depending on your target market, you may find that many of them can be reached through traditional advertising methods. These could include advertising in local directories, creating flyers or getting business cards printed.
You’ll want to have these handy when you start pounding the pavement. Yep, I really said that. Pounding the pavement is such an old-fashioned term that we hardly hear of anyone doing this anymore, but I think you should.
Pounding the pavement and cold calling are two methods of marketing that most business owners (and I’d almost say all web designers) hate. But if you really need new clients, you’ll want to give these a try. By meeting people face-to-face or chatting to them on the phone, you can immediately give them someone to relate to, unlike the hundreds of other faceless designers competing for their attention in directories.
You’ve no doubt heard (or asked) the question, ‘have you ever Googled yourself?’
There’s a reason that people often ask this: it’s fascinating – and important for your business – to know what people see when they Google your name. You can even set up a Google Alert to keep on top of new search results automatically.
If the search results you see are not as numerous as you expected (or those terrible photos from last year’s Christmas party are right on top), there are a few ways you can change this. By getting your name mentioned in more places across the web, you’ll give Google more search results to choose from. Essentially, this gives you more control over what people will see when they search for you.
Here are some different ways you can get your name out there:
Freelance marketplaces usually let you register and create a profile showcasing your skills. If you’re looking for short-term projects, you can also directly bid on or apply for jobs here.
Most of these sites are free to join, although those that require members to pay fees tend to have both a smaller pool to choose from and higher quality jobs.
Here’s a list to get you started:
With online advertising you can often target your ads very specifically with user data like location, age, gender and occupation. If you’re offering a special deal or discount, this may be a good time to try out some online ads to promote it.
Of course giants like Google and Facebook offer excellent targeting options using the data they have about users, but you can also advertise on many targeted sites and blogs, which may be more useful if you have set yourself up in a specific niche.
Another way to get more clients is to reward the people who refer you. Setting up a referral rewards program provides that extra bit of incentive to people who know your work and have opportunities to refer you to friends or their own clients.
Content marketing is the new black, dontcha know? Of course, it’s nothing new – brands have been offering content for yonkles, but there’s a big push for online content marketing at the moment and it’s not hard to get into if you have the time.
If you want to create your own content, think about your target market and what kind of content would be useful for your audience. Here are some ideas for content types that might work for you:
You can grab more ideas (as well as some neat tips and tricks) from this content marketing resource list.
Another option is to curate content from across the web. You might want to collect links to articles you find interesting or share industry news on your blog. To make this process really easy, you can use a service like Tumblr, Bundlr, Delicious or Pinterest to curate content into collections.
Six methods – loads of ideas. Which one works best for you? Leave a comment below and let me know how you get clients.
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Belle Beth Cooper
Belle has spent the past four years as a freelance writer and social media consultant. She has written for The Next Web, Desktop Magazine and Social Media Examiner. Belle now spends her days wielding a pencil as Attendly's Head of Content.