Be noticed and establish authority to get clients as graphic design freelancers.
I’m going to talk about how a freelance graphic designer can get clients. Learn many tips that will help you stand out from other designers, get noticed by prospects, build your authority, and get new clients the right way, not in a slimy, salesy way.
“How do I get clients?” is a question that freelance graphic designers often ask.
It’s hard because you have to do everything. When you’re busy with design work, you don’t have time to focus on getting clients, so you end up in that feast-or-famine cycle.
One way to get clients is to reach out to them one-on-one also called outreach.
You can do that, and it’s okay, but I want to help you get freelance design clients to come to you! I want to help you reach more potential clients without appearing pushy or slimy.
With these tips, you’ll be able to get in front of a much bigger audience than just one business at a time. These will help you with your marketing!
Identify Your Design Graphic Market (Audience)
Before you go out and look for clients, you should figure out who they are. Not everyone is in your group. I know you’ll say so, but it’s not true. I’ve got it. I used to agree with you.
If you can make designs for this company, you can also create designs for that company. Yes. But…
If you don’t know your ideal customer, it’s harder to market to them. When you sell to everyone, you don’t target anyone. You might not speak their language or understand their specific needs. Your efforts are not enough.
I can’t tell you how long it took me to figure out how to use words like “organizations” and “nonprofits” and “donations” instead of “businesses” and “sales” in my writing. They each use their own words.
It was hard work! I just had to choose one and stick to it, which I finally did.
So think about your perfect client. Try to narrow it down by the type of business, industry, or work you do and would like to do more of. This will help you market your business, but it will also show you where your best customers are online. Because you won’t know where to find them if you don’t know who they are.
Create a LinkedIn Profile as Graphic Design Freelancers
Your LinkedIn profile is another way to get clients. This is your resume on the web.
Your jobs, skills, contact info and design work should be updated.
Ask past clients and coworkers for recommendations to boost your credibility.
Connect with former coworkers, colleagues, clients, and potential clients relevant to your work and the industry you want to work in.
Showcase Your Work
Another way to get clients is to show them what you’ve done.
Work on your website and LinkedIn profile. Alternatively, you can post your work on Dribbble or Hire an Illustrator site.
Even if you build it, that doesn’t mean people will come. So it would be best if you shared your work at least once a month through emails or posts on social media.
The next idea, which is to make content, may make you roll your eyes. But listen to me.
You could do it once a month and still benefit.
Why Content Creation Is Important for Designers
It shows how knowledgeable you are and what you know. Most of the time, potential clients don’t know what you know. They can learn a lot from what you write, and they can also see how much you know about the subject.
It also helps people who might become clients realize they have a problem.
Your content should bring customers to you. Your content should always be about the services you’re offering.
Don’t write an article about SEO if you only want to design logos or print materials and have nothing to do with websites. Ensure the content relates to your services and the kind of work you want.
Creating content can also bring search engines and potential customers to your website or other social channels.
Your content can make potential customers want to do something. With a free guide, case study, or expert advice, you can entice them to contact you about your services or join your email list.
Making and posting content will help you in the long run. Once you put it out there, search engines can find it. People may like it, share it, or leave comments.
You can also write posts for other people’s websites to reach even more of your ideal customers.
You can use a tool like Moz to optimize your content for keywords before writing it. This will make it easier for potential clients to find your content when they search.
Organize Your Content
You can use that content in other places. For example, you could take the first paragraph of a blog post and put it in an email. This would make people want to read the rest of the post on your website.
You can turn your blog post into an article on LinkedIn.
You can cut out a small piece of a video and share it on social media.
A social media scheduler can also help you post and rotate evergreen content (old posts), so you don’t have to do it manually every time.
SocialBee is an option. There are also Publer and a few others who like it. Post on days and times when most of your audience is online.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization can also help you get clients.
Make sure to check the SEO of the content on your page. Check out Yoast, RankMath, or SEOPress.
Even if you don’t look at the statistics, you should add Stat Counter, Google Analytics, or another analytics tool to your site. You will need this information someday, and you need to get it gradually.
Check how long it takes your site to load. This can affect your search engine ranking because Google rewards sites that load quickly. Also, if your site loads quickly, potential customers are more likely to stay on it. People get mad at slow sites.
You can use Pingdom and GTMetrix to check how long it takes to load. If it takes more than 2 seconds for your site to load, try adding a caching plugin like WP Rocket and compressing images with a plugin like Short Pixel.
Join Industry Groups and Forums
Join Potential Client Groups
Once you know your ideal client, you can find them by looking for Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and online forums where they hang out related to your business. Some trade groups even have private online forums for members and vendors who serve them.
For example, suppose you want to reach businesses that deal with natural health. In that case, you could look up “marketing for natural health businesses” to see if there are any Facebook or LinkedIn groups for them.
But joining these groups alone won’t help you in any way. You need to take part so that they can see you.
You can like other people’s posts, make comments on them, and, even better, answer their questions. If their group rules allow it, share a blog post or free guide you’ve written if you have one.
This is helpful in a few different ways:
- You get seen. So long as you participate regularly, your name will be seen.
- You will be beneficial.
- You’ll be seen as an expert.
- You’ll get great content ideas from seeing what questions potential clients ask.
For example, I focus on accessibility and working with nonprofits in my client business. They might be asking about Alt-text or overlays, so I can see what they are asking and answer their questions or tell them what I think.
The idea is that potential clients will start to see your name and remember it. So when they need your services, they will think of you first, especially if you take part often.
If the admins or moderators of a Facebook group like your posts, they may even tag you as an expert.
After a while, you may realize that a group doesn’t work for you. It’s all good. Just leave the group and try to do something else.
Make a Client Prospect Group
You could also start your group on Facebook or LinkedIn, depending on where your ideal customers are. Think of a subject that your audience might be interested in. What search terms would they use to find a group to join?
However, it takes more work to run your own Facebook or LinkedIn group. You have to let people in, but some might be fake accounts (at least on Facebook) or your competitors, so you don’t want to let them in. You also need to review and approve posts and comments.
Keeping up with an email list is much easier.
So not everyone wants their group. But it can help you build your community to which you can market your services whenever and as much as you want and on your terms.
Go to Events in Your Field
You can also get clients by going to events for your field. These can be in-person, online, or MeetUp events.
Even better if it’s in person. It is easier to get along with other people.
You can go to them to meet new people, connect with them on LinkedIn afterwards, and find out what questions they have.
Make sure to bring business cards.
Become a Designer with Authority
You can also make it easier to get clients by becoming known as “that person.”
For example, my main focus for the past six years has been making things easy to use. People always tag me in Facebook groups when something about accessibility comes up. I talk about accessibility at online events and on podcasts. People who remember me for that also send me business.
When you focus on just one or two things and become an expert in them, clients will remember you and be willing to pay more.
Certifications can build trust with potential clients and show that you are an expert in a particular area.
Once you have one, put its logo on your website and let people know about it through email and social media.
Enrol in one of those trade associations and offer to give a talk or webinar on a topic of interest and value to your target audience.
It should also make you look like an expert in the field. You don’t want to give a speech just because you can. You want to give a talk about something that might help you get a job.
If you know a lot about logo design and branding for restaurants, you could give a talk like “5 Branding Mistakes Restaurants Make”, which is specifically for restaurants. Even if you could give that talk in any industry, make it specific to the people you’ll be talking to.
It should be an exciting topic. It gives them something, makes them want to sign up, and leads them back to you if they need help.
If you’re not shy, your audience may also listen to you on podcasts. Because the barrier to entry is higher, this can take more work until you are better known in a particular area.
Podcasters don’t just let anyone on their shows whenever they want. Most of the time, they want to know more about you and might even want to meet you first.
Once you’ve done one or two podcasts, it gives you even more credibility with clients because, as I said, it’s harder to start one.
You can also reach a larger audience and get your name out there quickly—the time it takes to prepare your talk, give it, and maybe answer some questions. After that, the episode is out there for all time, so the benefits keep coming. You can talk about it whenever you want and get a boost.
Work With Other Designers and Developers on Your Project
As a freelance designer, you can also find clients by working with other people who offer similar or complementary services and have an audience you share or want to reach.
For example, if you design logos, you might want to work with web designers whose clients might need logos.
Ask for Referrals and Positive Reviews
Ask coworkers and clients for names of people you should talk to.
When a client who has already spent time and money working with you gives you a good review or recommends you to other people they know, it means a lot and does a lot of your marketing for free.
So, to get those referrals, it’s essential to take on work that fits well with your skills and experience and do it well and on time.
It’s also important to ask clients you like to refer you to other people. Usually, bad clients send other bad clients.