Getting new graphic design clients can be frightening, even for the most seasoned graphic designers. Although it can be challenging, it is not as hard as it seems, despite what you might believe. You have a plethora of options when it comes to locating new graphic design clients.
It may be anything from how you approach a proposal to how you meet new clients and develop and nurture client relationships and it’s all pertinent to finding a client for graphic design.
You may improve your chances of gaining more freelancing clients in a number of ways, from the manner you send proposals to crucial relationship-building strategies.
For eight effective tactics that will help you become a more steady client as a freelance graphic designer, keep reading.
1. Be clear on your value
Your value to potential clients is what sets you apart from your competition. When you can clearly communicate the value you provide, you’ll have a better chance of winning more freelance clients.
The first thing to ask yourself is what your value actually is. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What results have your past clients gotten from projects you’ve done for them?
- What experience do you have that’s unique to you?
- What do you have to offer that other graphic designers don’t?
For example, if you have direct experience working in a particular industry (i.e. healthcare, fin-tech, lifestyle, etc.), then you’ll have more value for clients in that industry because you’ll better understand their needs.
Consider what your value is and then decide how you can most clearly communicate it. That could be through displaying awards on your design portfolio, including specific results from past projects, or leveraging your experience in your pitches and proposals.
Speaking of proposals, it’s a good idea to have a service where you can create and organize all your paperwork, from proposals, contracts, and invoices, to your taxes. Software like Bonsai gives freelancers an easy-to-use platform to manage their paperwork, their projects, and more.
2. Ask for recommendations
If you have happy clients, ask them for referrals or recommendations. Let them know that you’re always open to talking to new clients and appreciate their referrals.
Depending on the exact services you offer, you could even set up an official referral or affiliate program.
While it might initially seem like a client wouldn’t want to refer you to their potential competition, remember that most businesses have working partnerships with all kinds of suppliers and other organizations. While they might not tell their competition to use your services, they could refer their vendors or other business contacts to you.
3. Make sure your portfolio is the best it can be
Your graphic design portfolio is one of the most valuable assets you have in winning new clients. Be sure that you showcase your best work there, and take the time to explain each project. Talk about what your role was in the project, what the design problem was, and how you solved it.
Share your portfolio far and wide. Add new projects to it regularly (but remember that you don’t have to add every project you work on; just the best examples). The time you spend on your portfolio will pay dividends in building confidence with potential clients.
4. Create valuable content
One of the best (yet often overlooked) ways to get new clients is by creating content. Writing blog posts, creating templates or UI assets, or otherwise providing valuable content that will appeal to your potential clients is an excellent way to build your professional reputation while also giving potential clients one more way to find you.
Writing articles about graphic design topics is one of the best ways to have new clients find you. Writing about design particulars for the niches or industries you serve can be especially helpful.
I’ve had clients from various industries approach me after I’ve written about designing for those industries. It’s an easy way (assuming you’re a good writer) to make yourself visible to the organizations who might want to hire you.
5. Update your online presence
Be sure that your design portfolio is up to date with more recent projects. The same goes for your social media profiles.
If a potential client visits your Instagram or other social media profile and there are no posts in the past six months, they may assume you’re no longer working as a designer. The same goes for your portfolio or blog: if there are no updates within the past few months, a client may assume you’re no longer in business and move along to the next graphic designer.
Read Also: How do Graphic Designers Sell Work?
This is also true for your contact information. Make sure that you’re easy to get in touch with, and that any contact forms are functional and up to date. Don’t make potential clients work any harder than necessary to get in touch with you.
6. Network, network, network
Just the word “networking” can fill a lot of graphic designers with dread. But if you approach networking from the position of building mutually beneficial relationships, it becomes much less intimidating.
Meet people with the intention to get to know them. Don’t immediately think about what they can do for you or what you can get from them. Instead, look at how you might be able to help them.
Are there others you can connect them with? Is there a great book or article you recently read that might appeal to them? Look at ways to connect on an authentic level with the people you encounter and go from there. Maybe you’ll end up working with those people in the future, or maybe they’ll refer people to you (and vice versa).
7. Use social proof
Social proof in the form of testimonials can go a long way toward getting clients on board with working with you. Display testimonials prominently on your website or portfolio. Share them on social media, too.
Ask past clients for feedback and testimonials on projects you’ve completed for them. Ask for recommendations and endorsements on sites like LinkedIn, too. When prospective clients see that you’ve worked successfully with other organizations, it gives them reassurance that you have the expertise you claim.
8. Don’t underestimate the power of a follow-up
So you’ve sent a prospective client a design proposal for their project and haven’t heard back from them. Or maybe you sent them information on booking a discovery call with you and they haven’t done so yet.
Whatever the case may be, sending a follow-up after a few days is a good way to assure clients that you value their business.
The same goes for when you’ve met a potential client at a networking or professional event (in person or online). Send a follow-up after meeting them, reiterating any business you talked about, or sending them information or resources you may have discussed.
Follow-ups show people that you value working with them and that you’re eager to continue the relationship. You can even set tasks to follow up with potential clients or manage your proposals using Bonsai, making sure that you don’t forget or miss out on an important opportunity.
If you don’t hear back after following up, beware of sending multiple messages. This can come across as pushy (or desperate). If it’s a prospective client you really want to work with and you feel the need to send more than one follow-up, consider what you could send them that would provide value to them.
How do I Market Myself as a Graphic Designer?
Identify your niche
One of the first steps to market yourself as a graphic designer is to identify your niche and target audience. What kind of graphic design do you specialize in? Who are your ideal clients and what are their needs and preferences? By narrowing down your focus, you can position yourself as an expert and authority in your field, and attract clients who are looking for your specific skills and style. You can also tailor your portfolio, website, and social media to showcase your niche and highlight your value proposition.
Create a strong portfolio
Your portfolio is your most powerful marketing tool as a graphic designer. It showcases your best work, your range of skills, and your unique voice. Your portfolio should be updated regularly, easy to navigate, and responsive to different devices. You should also include a brief introduction, clear contact information, and some testimonials or case studies from previous clients. Make sure your portfolio reflects your niche, your goals, and your personality, and that it demonstrates your problem-solving and creative abilities.
Build an online presence
In today’s digital world, having an online presence is essential for any graphic designer who wants to market themselves and reach potential clients. You should have a professional website that showcases your portfolio, your services, and your brand. You should also use social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, to share your work, your insights, and your stories. Social media can help you build your network, engage with your audience, and showcase your expertise. You can also use blogs, podcasts, videos, or newsletters to provide valuable content and showcase your knowledge and personality.
Network and collaborate
Another way to market yourself as a graphic designer is to network and collaborate with other professionals, both within and outside your industry. Networking can help you find new opportunities, referrals, feedback, and support. You can network online, by joining communities, forums, groups, or platforms related to graphic design or your niche.
You can also network offline, by attending events, workshops, conferences, or meetups where you can meet and connect with potential clients or partners. Collaboration can also help you market yourself, by exposing you to new audiences, expanding your skills, and creating mutual value.
Ask for referrals and testimonials
One of the most effective ways to market yourself as a graphic designer is to leverage the power of word-of-mouth. Referrals and testimonials from satisfied clients can boost your credibility, reputation, and trustworthiness. They can also help you generate more leads and conversions, as people tend to trust recommendations from others more than ads or promotions. You should always ask for referrals and testimonials from your clients, and use them in your portfolio, website, social media, or marketing materials. You can also offer incentives or rewards for referrals, such as discounts, freebies, or bonuses.
Keep learning and improving
Finally, to market yourself as a graphic designer, you need to keep learning and improving your skills, knowledge, and trends. Graphic design is a dynamic and competitive field, where new technologies, tools, and styles emerge constantly. You need to stay updated and relevant and show your clients that you can deliver high-quality and innovative solutions.
You can learn and improve by taking courses, reading books, blogs, or magazines, watching tutorials, webinars, or videos, or joining challenges, competitions, or projects. You can also showcase your learning and improvement process in your portfolio, website, or social media, and share your insights and tips with your audience.
Where Can I Sell my Graphic Design Skills?
It’s important to familiarise yourself with the details of sales portals before utilizing them to sell graphic designs online. This is due to the fact that each website has a somewhat different range of capabilities and varies greatly in many other ways. Sales portals have been categorized based on the kinds of projects that are posted.
Cafepress is a portal with an established position on the market. It enables placing original graphics on items such as t-shirts, caps, mugs or calendars.
Spreadshirt – a website where several billion personalized designs are available. Like Cafepress, it allows you to put your own graphics on useful items.
Blurb – here we will create a ready list of graphic works that will be placed in dedicated albums. You can also easily manage them, for example using Picasa, SmugMug or Flickr.
Sale of advertising graphics, marketing designs, fonts, icons: iStock – every day iStock is used by over a dozen thousand artists, who share their graphic works. The service makes it possible to generate passive income, connected with royalties obtained for created projects.
Shutterstock – an American portal offering a wide range of photos, vectors, illustrations and images. It is especially popular not only for graphic designers but also for photographers.
- Adobe Stock
Adobe Stock – portal of Adobe company, bringing together photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers. Customers can purchase image licenses here, and then freely manage them.
CreativeMarket – is a kind of online marketplace, where works made by the Internet community are placed. Here you can find WordPress themes, photos, graphics and other digital products.
The creative output of unutilized saved graphic designs can have quantifiable advantages. The best are the ones that ensure a graphic designer will consistently earn a substantial passive income.
The aforementioned portals represent but a small portion of the numerous websites that offer graphic artists additional revenue opportunities. Many variables will come together to determine the ultimate success of project sales. What counts are the work’s professionalism, usefulness, and aesthetic appeal? A graphic designer can expect to be paid more the more expertly they work. Along with “familiarity” and experience, these will also rise. Therefore, a skilled graphic designers should be able to make a consistent living, particularly if they build relationships directly with clients abroad.