Clients do judge books by their covers, so effective design is crucial in getting new clients.
If graphic design is your passion, well, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that every business needs your services, and they’ll gladly pay top dollar for your skillset and your unique creative approach.
The bad news is that the current graphic design market is so saturated that you really need a strong business plan and a comprehensive marketing approach if you are to stand out from the competition, make a name for yourself, and ensure long-term success.
But don’t worry, this is not as difficult of a task as it might seem at first glance.
Provided that you invest in other aspects of your businesses and not just the design part, you can get your work noticed and attract affluent long-term clients.
If you’ve already done your SWOT analysis and have created a unique brand, let’s move on to some concrete tips on how to make it big in your field.
It all starts with proper research
As a well-rounded graphic designer, you should be able to cater to every type of client, regardless of their industry, niche, and unique goals. To you, it shouldn’t matter if you’re supposed to create a beautiful set of ads for a law firm or a cannabis company, but that doesn’t mean that you should try to cater to everyone and anyone just yet.
Instead, and like with any other business venture, your focus should be to solidify your position in a niche. That way, you can lay a strong foundation and quickly expand your scope of work without any financial setbacks.
To do this, it’s important that you recognize your strengths (refer to your SWOT analysis), and then research the niches that fit your talent and expertise. Start by creating beautiful designs you know you’re good at.
You will be able to build a name for yourself in that niche pretty quickly, after which you can learn about other industries and expand your offering.
Leverage SEO to boost brand awareness
Provided that you have built a website portfolio (if you haven’t, what are you waiting for), it’s time to optimize your digital presence to improve your visibility in the online realm.
It should go without saying that getting your website onto the first page on Google is one of the best ways to raise your brand awareness and trust, and also attract potential clients to your doorstep. This is why search engine optimization should be one of your top priorities.
Here’s a quick SEO checklist:
- Put a keyword that describes your business in the title tag. Example: Graphic Design by John Doe.
- Put complementary keywords in your meta descriptions. These are the keywords that help rank you for all of your individual services.
- Use all relevant keywords throughout your site’s content.
- Since your site is heavily dependent on images, be sure to use image SEO as well.
- Optimize the file name, title, and alt text for all images.
Master the art of networking
You could put all of your eggs in the online basket and hope that you will land your clients through online channels alone, however, if you want to maximize your potential you will invest time and effort in networking as well.
To network effectively, though, you will need to research relevant networking opportunities, master your soft skills and sales pitch, and bring plenty of business cards with you.
Now, the key to selling yourself as a designer is to showcase your creativity with your business cards, so it’s important to print out your personalized business cards online before the event, and make sure that they portray your work and brand in the best possible light.
A great idea would be to create several unique designs for your business cards, so that you can wow potential clients with your innovative approach to an old networking tool – it’s bound to make a long-lasting impression.
Enrich your portfolio with CTAs
Your portfolio does serve the purpose of showcasing your work, yes, but that’s not the only thing it’s good for. In fact, your portfolio should be one of your most powerful conversion tools.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your designs are but a part of your portfolio’s appeal and value – the other part is the content. Within that content, you want to sprinkle engaging CTAs that will capture the attention of a potential client, and inspire them to take action right away.
Yes, quality graphic design can skyrocket conversions all on its own, but be sure to improve your chances even more by telling a story, creating compelling brand messages, and emphasizing your USP through quality CTAs as well.
Use digital marketing to your advantage
Finally, be sure to leverage other digital marketing tactics to maximize your chances of success. You can start with the ones that don’t require you to break the proverbial bank to gain some traction and recognition, after which you can invest in all digital marketing tactics, including paid advertising to put your site above all others in the relevant SERPs.
In the competitive world of graphic design, it’s important to explore every potential advantage to get noticed by clients. With these tactics in mind, go ahead and create a comprehensive strategy that will help you land those top-tier contracts.