With the advent of freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork, it’s tough to sell a service, especially within a creative field like web design. For freelancers in particular, it can often feel like a race to the bottom (when it comes to your rates).
You might think that it's impossible to attract clients who want recurring work that’s high quality and are willing to pay for what it’s worth.
They’re elusive, but they’re out there. With the right set of skills and tools, you can attract them, fast. Here are our top tips for finding web design clients who recognise what you're worth.
Anyone who’s tried to sell a service before knows that clients buy from people they know, like and trust. This is why one of the best tools you have at your disposal is your social presence and personal brand.
By sharing your expertise, showcasing your personality and branding yourself as an authoritative voice on social media, you can quickly build an audience on multiple channels and use your newfound circle to attract clients.
It doesn't hurt that social media is an inherently visual medium. As a designer, you can treat social platforms like a portfolio with a personality. Share your beautiful work and use captions to make yourself seem more approachable.
Here's what you can do on specific platforms to attract clients:
Regardless of which platforms you choose, the key for success here is constant engagement. Make sure you post regularly (at least 3 -4 times a week) and engage with the people who comment on and share your content.
Networking in person is particularly effective as a freelance web designer. By seeing and speaking to you in person, potential clients stop thinking of you as one of the many freelancers online and begin trusting your expertise as an individual.
Networking is an easy way to get in touch with your target audience and start building one-on-one relationships with them. Landing your first client can often be the most important tool for unlocking future growth. You can use them as a springboard for future growth through referrals and rave reviews. You could very well meet that first client at a networking event!
An easy way to network in person is by attending local Meetup events. Most are completely free to attend. Target meetup events where your ideal audience is likely to be present. For example, if your target audience is small tech startups, then make sure you join Meetup groups like the New York Entrepreneurs & Startup Network and become a familiar face at their events.
Here's an awesome guide for introverts (or anyone) to network effectively at Meetups.
You may not realise it but as a web designer, you have technical skills and insights that others would pay good money to learn. While designing a business card might be child's play for you, there are 1600 people searching for this query every month who want to know how it's done.
Writing blog posts is a great way to capture leads in the long run, but a faster solution for attracting clients is creating special content and promoting it through your social network.
This could be in the form of an eBook that covers logo design, a podcast that teaches people how to use tools like Canva or even create an infographic that breaks down a common process into steps. Once you've created your content, you can use social media to promote it.
Another way to promote your content is by starting a blog that targets your ideal audience. The benefit of creating a blog is having an online address where all your content sites - it's a great way for potential clients to find your work, writing and contact information in one curated spot.
You might also embed a simple newsletter signup form like the one below to start collecting your readers' emails. A weekly or a monthly personal newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your network.
A great way to make people want your content is by adding an element of exclusivity or urgency in your social posts. Don't just announce that you've created an eBook, emphasise the fact that you're only giving it away to the first 100 people who comment on your post.
This content can help you attract potential clients and allow you to showcase your expertise in the design field. The leads who download your content are more likely to think of you as an expert and trust your judgement. However, in order to convince them to convince them to download your content, you'll need to...
As a designer, you're probably a perfectionist when it comes to designing a landing page or website. While this is a quality your clients will appreciate, your priority at this stage should be to create a beautiful landing page as fast as possible.
Getting your landing page out into the world is a crucial step for capturing contact information from leads (ie. potential clients). Your landing page should be shared frequently through your social media profiles and should also house your aforementioned content (whether it's an eBook, podcast, infographic or else).
Using Paperform's project request form template is a quick way to get your landing page live. It's really easy to create a beautiful and unique landing page and customise it to represent your personal brand with Paperform. You can even capture contact information, collect payments and showcase your work portfolio-style.
Here's a landing page I created in less than 30 minutes using Paperform:
It's so easy with Paperform, that you can even create multiple landing pages for different industries using our beautiful templates, giving every client a specialized experience. You can also make forms for your existing clients to write testimonials or refer their friends, family, and colleagues to you.
Another way to attract clients is by becoming a web design specialist within a certain industry.
Defining a niche can help you target your branding efforts. For example, instead of a generic 'Freelance designer' Instagram profile, you could set up a more targeted profile as a 'Freelance designer for MedTech Startups.' This will allow you to attract more specific followers who are more likely to be potential customers and target your marketing.
In a field with so much competition, having a niche is a quick way to stand out. For example, if I ran a MedTech startup and came across a hundred different freelance designers to choose from, would I be more likely to choose a generic designer or one who's expertise lies within my industry?
Another perk of focusing on a niche is that you'll soon become an expert within the industry - you'll pick up the slang, how people within the industry operate and identify trends for the kind of web design that performs best within the industry. These factors can help you raise your prices as your specialisation would be worth more to your target client.
While some freelance marketplaces will make you drop your prices in order to remain competitive, there are some marketplaces that value quality above all else. Through these marketplaces, you can still charge the rates you deserve and work with clients who value the quality of your work:
We know what you're thinking. Sending cold emails is the last thing you want to do. While this can seem like a daunting mission, there's a reason it's still around - because it works (when done right).
You don't have to send a thousand emails, nor do you have to turn into a marketer and scrape sites to find prospects.
Here's a fun and effective way to do outreach, and it all starts with smart audience targeting!
Research the websites of people within your network, including:
Here's where you provide them with value and showcase your skills.
Don't criticise their websites outright, but point out any best practices their website isn't following, let them know how you've been able to improve conversion rates through design for similar businesses or simply create a prototype for their landing page that looks 50 times better than their current one.
A quick way to do this is by recording videos of your screen as you move through their website and verbally providing tips and commentary in the background.
By doing this, you'll be able to show them the real impact your services could have on their business.
Once you've finalised your suggestions, reach out to your contacts through email and provide them with your treasure chest of knowledge.
The great thing about this kind of outreach is that it's not cold. These are people who are familiar with you and are much more likely to respond to your communications.
And there you have it, some fool-proof ways to get the clients you want, fast. Do it right and you'll be turning people away with your newfound fame - just don't forget us when you do!
Infographic Design by Easelly
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