The lifeblood of a web design business depends on getting clients. Unfortunately, most designers do not have the marketing skills to match their design skill. That doesn’t mean that designers need to spend months honing their marketing skills to bring in more clients. There are many things that you or any designer can do without much marketing experience. Here are some of the best ways to increase clients for your web design business.
1. Create Design Based Content
The best way to show off your expertise is to demonstrate it. You can do this by creating content for site owners and businesses on how they can improve their web design. Some great ideas for your content can be a design analysis where you critique a site’s design, a before and after design makeover, and case studies on how you improved the website design for past clients. Site owners are also looking for ways to increase profitability and traffic from their site, so if you have some knowledge in those areas, use to it draw interest in your web design services.
2. Use Blogs and Social Media
If you want to get more clients, you need to build a presence and an audience online. Starting your own blog is the easiest way to go about doing this. You can use it as a platform for sharing your content, portfolio, ideas and commentary. Social media is a great channel as well. You can use social media to connect with potential clients, search for conversations related to web design and engage with your followers. It can often be hard to justify blogging and social media in the beginning as it takes some time to ramp up. But if you put in the work, you’ll have people sharing your content, replying to your posts and reaching out to you.
3. Feature Your Design on Portfolio Sites
Did you know that there are sites dedicated to hosting portfolios for web designers? You can literally start getting clients before you register a domain and set up your web hosting. These sites help companies find creative talent and designers critique each other’s work. Some of the biggest sites include Coroflot, Behance, Carbonmade, Dribbble and Zerply. There are many other smaller sites where you can upload your portfolio but these have been known to help many designers land clients.
4. Ask for Referrals
If you’ve worked with a few satisfied clients already, the easiest way to bring in new ones is to ask for referrals. Reach out to your clients and ask them if they know anybody that is in need of design or development services. If you’re open to sharing some of your earnings, you can motivate your clients by incentivizing their referrals with some kind of kick back. If you want to keep more of your earnings, you can offer your clients a discount on the next project.
5. Use Freelancing Sites
There are many freelancing sites where companies and professionals post projects for freelancers to bid on. The cost to become a member on these sites are free or a small fee. Some popular ones include Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer, Guru and People Per Hour. It can be hard to get good paying gigs in the beginning. But once you build a reputation and a portfolio on these sites, it will become easier to find lucrative projects. When using these sites, you should opt for premium memberships as they will come with features that will increase the chances of you landing the gigs.
6. Use Job Boards
There are still many job boards that are free to use. Many design forums and blogs have job boards where companies are looking for designers and developers. These boards are often free for freelancers. It’s just a matter of looking for them. Of course, there are large classified sites like Craigslist and Backpage. These classified sites are still used by many business owners to find employees and freelancers. It can be hard shifting through the listings to find the right project but these sites are a great place to start looking if you’re a beginner.
7. Get Creative with Lead Generation
You have to be creative with lead generation if you want to get clients. For example, one designer offered a free service for helping site owners set up their web hosting. He used it to collect qualified leads and offered design and other services on the back end. Another designer generated leads by creating white papers and videos to teach site owners how to increase their web conversions in return for their email address. Come up with your own strategy for lead generation. Center it around something that adds value to site owners to get them interested.
These are some of the best ways to increase clients for your web design business. As you can see, these strategies require little to no marketing expertise. It’s just a matter of getting out there and putting in the work. Eventually, you will want to learn how to market your service to bring in new clients on a consistent basis. But these strategies will serve you well until you build up your marketing chops.