Getting a steady stream of clients is essential for any graphic designer hoping to build a successful design business.
Attracting new clients takes effort, but is possible with the right strategy tailored to your skills, services, and target market.
Here are some in-depth tips for attracting and retaining more clients:
Create a Strong Online Portfolio
Your portfolio is the best way to showcase your skills to potential clients.
Invest significant time into building a polished online portfolio that highlights your best work.
Include at least 3 diverse projects showcasing the depth and breadth of your skills across different mediums.
For each project, walk through your full design process from initial concept to final product.
Showcase your unique design style and versatility across different deliverables like logos, branding, websites, mobile apps, packaging, publications, marketing materials, etc.
Instead of update your portfolio frequently with new work, put more time into promoting your portfolio on your website, social media channels, emails, and any client touchpoints.
Network Extensively Both Online and Offline
Networking is critical for meeting potential clients and building relationships.
Connect with other designers and professionals in your industry through:
- Attending design conferences and networking events to connect face-to-face
- Joining LinkedIn groups, Slack channels, Facebook groups to connect online
- Doing informational interviews to learn from others' experiences
- Leveraging social media like Twitter to demonstrate expertise
- Getting involved with local professional associations and design organizations
The goal is to expand your network and put yourself in front of your ideal target clients.
Establish yourself as a thought leader by sharing useful insights and advice.
Promote Your Services Consistently
Actively promote your graphic design services through multiple channels:
- Create a content marketing strategy with blog posts, case studies, videos, etc. focused on providing value and attracting leads
- Run paid ads showcasing your work and targeting relevant keywords
- Send personalized emails and mailings to potential clients in your network
- Partner with complementary businesses like web developers or photographers for referrals
- Offer promotions or discounts in exchange for referrals from existing happy clients
Promote your services wherever your audience is online and offline.
Provide value rather than always pitching services.
Build authority and trust through social media by creating a content machine.
Deliver Outstanding Service and Experience
Focus intently on wowing new clients from your very first interaction.
Respond promptly to inquiries, provide thoughtful recommendations, and communicate every step of the way.
Overdeliver on projects with brilliant designs that exceed expectations.
Seek client feedback and work collaboratively to create amazing results.
After projects, check in regularly with clients to see if they need any additional design work.
Ask satisfied clients for testimonials, referrals, and case studies that can be used in your marketing.
The goal is to build such a positive experience that clients keep coming back.
Craft Your Brand Identity
Define your unique value proposition and brand identity.
Determine the niche services you provide, along with an ideal target client.
Articulate what makes your designs distinctive through a mission statement, biography, and other brand messaging.
Ensure all touchpoints like your website, business cards, and proposals align with your brand identity.
Position yourself as an industry expert by consistently creating value through your content and community involvement.
Build a recognizable personal brand that attracts your ideal graphic design clients.
With persistence and a strategic approach across each of these areas, you can build a steady stream of graphic design clients over time.
The key is balancing great work with consistent outreach and communication tailored to your ideal target market.
By showcasing your skills, networking extensively, promoting regularly, delivering great service, and honing your brand, you can attract more of the right graphic design clients.