Graphic Design Business 101: The #1 Secret that Lands Dream Clients Who Want to Hire You
Does it feel time-consuming to learn business secrets so that clients hire you as a graphic designer? Find out how to land dream clients.
Written by Mat
February 16, 2020

Generating clients is a constant uphill battle. From knowing where to find them, being at the right place at the right time, and figuring out how you’re going to say it. You’re already in demand as 49% of SMB’s already say that graphic design is part of their reason for success. And you already know what most of your client’s pain points are but also realize that not all clients are the same. So, that means that you cannot know for sure that you are, indeed, solving a problem of the client you currently have in front of you. The key is to get to know your audience.

But to reach the right audience for you, you need to brand yourself so that you reach your ideal client. Those dream clients that have the budget to pay for your services and are easy to work with. On top of that, they’re willing to hire you for multiple projects or an ongoing basis.

But, you must know specific methods in order to land them. To do this, demonstrate your graphic design abilities by showing your prospects that you knowhow to help them take their business (marketing, branding & sales) to the next level. It’s not enough to claim that you know your craft, you must show it.

It’s not always easy to do this because you need to show them more than just your graphic design abilities. Your marketing abilities to generate dream clients goes hand-in-hand with your creative expertise.

Offering your clients various marketing collateral makes you the go-to person for design work. By demonstrating your package service as the ideal solution to fixing your clients’ problems, you also show your clients that they don’t need to find another graphic designer for future problems.

To do this effectively, you need a strong mix of visual graphics (your branding arsenal ) + copywriting messages (your marketing arsenal).

You see, running a graphic design business is like baking a cake. You can’t end up with a cake without all the ingredients that go into it.

These tips help you create a perfect brand for you.

#1. DEMONSTRATE YOUR UNIQUE EXPERTISE

Now to do this, you need to know what makes you unique. You need to be confident that you’re the expert, and need to realize what makes you different. That means knowing your competitors too.

The way that you look at life, business, people and everything in between determines which clients you’ll l attract for your graphic design business. Keep in mind that your business is an extension of you, and you’ll be able to build a brand that is you.

Having a vision and mission statement that is so personal results in you buying into it with a ripple effect of your prospects believing it too.

One dream client is all it takes to begin building a million-dollar empire. It can lead to ongoing projects, a pipeline of ideal clients and even large partnerships and satisfying collaborations down the road.

#2. DEMONSTRATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND VOICE

Determine your own brand voice and your style-related to your personal brand. This is one of the ways that you attract the kinds of clients that you want to work with.

Join in on conversations that they’re interested in. But the important thing is that you should be interested in it too.

Don’t just show up for the sake of finding clients, but do things that genuinely inspire you as most often clients intuitively sense insincerity.

#3. DEMONSTRATE YOU ARE AUDIENCE-CENTERED

Actively show that you’re audience-centered by knowing your clients’ pain points, their challenges, what their values are, and what they need. This is how you convince them that you want to see their business grow.

When clients realize that you have their best interests at heart, they want to work with you. This helps you stand out from your competitors.

#4. DEMONSTRATE A UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION

Communicate your unique position in your style/voice to your audience. Show your personality, your opinions, the true you through the way that you communicate (your brand voice).

By using language that you use, and especially that of your ideal client, you build relationships through relatability.

Imagine communicating with someone and you don’t understand what they’re saying because they’re using simple terms or slang words that you don’t understand. This causes a disconnect and your prospect/ or client could end up leaving.

Identify your unique selling proposition by doing a SWOT Analysis.

A SWOT analysis identifies your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Your strengths are the positive aspects of your brand and your weaknesses are those aspects that are negative.

Opportunities are the trends happening in the graphic design world, while Threats speak about those aspects that can affect your business (this is more than just your competitors)

#5. DEMONSTRATE CONSISTENCY

Success does not come overnight, therefore you need to be consistent and (off-course) persistent, in the way that you deliver your message and connect with your audience. Changing the way you come across to your clients too often and without strategy means that clients no longer relate to you and this results in losses.

Yet, continuously showing up so your audience knows you are sustainable is vital too. But the trick here is to show up with quality each time and not just for the sake of making an appearance.

Another important aspect is to avoid negative self-talk (that’s a big roadblock amongst most designers) to be able to push towards consistency, against all odds. Having a negative mindset only attracts more negativity. Believe in your ability to attract your dream clients and your ability to solve their problems will reflect in your creativity.

The secret to marketing your freelance business correctly:

The secret is to prominently place your business as first-class in the mind of your customer. So that when the customer has a need or problem that requires the business owner’s skills or services, they know who to call. But this process doesn’t happen magically. It only happens when the business owner consistently puts their business’ name and services in front of their potential customers.

The best way to do that is for you to carve out some time (each day, week or month)  to reach out to your audience through a marketing channel where you’ll find them.

#6. DEMONSTRATE AUTHENTICITY

To attract your ideal client, be authentic. Speak in a way that you usually communicate in and that your client understands. Avoid business jargon especially if your audience would not know what it means.

You’re the expert and keeping things simple helps you break any barriers between you and your audience. Engage with your audience in an authentic, personal style.

Social media posts that feature visual assets like images deliver a 650% higher engagement rate than plain text posts. (Red Website Design). So, communicate mainly in graphics to get a higher engagement but also gives you a chance to demonstrate your graphic design skills.

It’s vital that you also respond to comments and conversations on your posts Having one-on-one digital conversations helps you uncover pain points that you were not aware of and what your audience really wants.

It’s not enough to just tweet and share other people’s content on social media.

Everybody else does that (it’s the easy route which is not the most effective in ROI terms).

You need to show yourself as an industry thought leader. As someone who knows their stuff and that you’re the expert in your industry. You can only do this by creating your own thought-provoking posts.  

Besides creating your own posts, engage in others’ blog comments and social discussions so that you can reach an audience, not in your network. You’re able to collaborate with others in your industry this way too.

Although businesses realize that graphic design helps scale their businesses, graphic designers are still finding it difficult to find clients.  Setting yourself apart through your own branding makes the hard work a little easier. Besides having all your business functions streamlined and a well-documented marketing plan, sheer determination, patience, and consistent execution is how you’ll achieve success.

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