The Calculated Creative

How to Find Graphic Design Clients

An essential part of growing a graphic design business. Here are some effective tips for attracting more clients as a graphic designer.

Finding new clients is an essential part of growing a graphic design business. Consistently attracting new work is key for freelancers and agencies alike. Here are some effective tips for attracting more clients as a graphic designer:

Leverage Your Network Extensively

  • Reach out directly to friends, family members, former colleagues, acquaintances and other personal connections. Let them know that you offer graphic design services and are currently taking on new clients. Consider offering a 10-15% discount on their first project to incentivize them to hire you.
  • Research local business associations, chambers of commerce, entrepreneurship groups, arts councils, marketing meetups and more. Join as a member and start attending events regularly. Bring plenty of business cards and brochures to hand out. Connect with attendees and follow up to discuss potential projects.
  • Maintain an ongoing dialogue with current and past clients. Check in every so often and ask if they happen to know anyone else needing graphic design work. Offer a referral bonus like a gift card or discount if they send a new client your way.

Promote Yourself Extensively Online

  • Create a stunning online portfolio website showing off 10-15 of your best design projects. Write compelling copy around each one highlighting the challenges, solutions and results. Optimize the site for organic search results.
  • Build a strong social media presence on every relevant platform. Be very active posting project samples, behind-the-scenes views, news and more. Engage consistently with others in the design community.
  • List your services on popular freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr and 99Designs. Build up great reviews and ratings by delivering quality work. Feature these on your website.

Showcase Your Skills Widely

  • Find local, national and international graphic design competitions to enter. If you win, leverage the boost in credibility and exposure as much as possible.
  • Reach out to nonprofits in your area and offer to design pro bono pieces for them like logos, brochures and posters. Great for portfolio building.
  • Look into speaking or exhibiting at graphic design conferences and festivals. Prepare some eye-catching displays and collateral to make a strong impression.
  • Take out Pay Per Click ads on Google and Bing. Carefully research keywords your target clients are likely searching for.
  • Design colorful, compelling postcards showcasing your services. Mail out batches on a regular basis to local businesses.
  • Negotiate affordable deals to run small display ads in local newspapers, magazines, event programs. Focus on arts and culture or small business media outlets.

Offer a Diverse Range of Services

  • Don't limit your offerings to just logos, brochures and posters. Offer everything from business cards, to packaging, to mobile app icons, and more.
  • Provide an a la carte menu of services at various price points. Some clients may only need a one-time project completed.
  • Create bundled packages that offer increasing discounts for hiring you for multiple services at once. This incentivizes larger-scale contracts.

By diversifying your promotional channels, showcasing your very best work, expanding your service offerings and consistently networking, you will be well on your way to building a thriving base of graphic design clients.

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