To generate continued loyalty from clients, you always need to show them that you’re the only freelance graphic designer worth working with. This is easier said than done since many factors require careful consideration. Therefore, it is essential that you create a simple, proven lead-generating system to draw your target client (hyperlink to article #4) into your marketing funnel.
You need to start with the end result in mind to avoid costly mistakes down the road.
Most graphic designers are not aware of this essential marketing fact:
Your website portfolio, blog content, email list follow-up sequences, and social media channels need to work together to connect with your target audience, making it easier to convert them into loyal clients.
Most graphic designers and businesses fail due to a lack of a holistic marketing system to generate enough leads and clients to continuously sustain their businesses.
You’ll need to learn the fine art and science of using your design skills and content to convert strangers (prospects) into friends (leads), and ultimately into raving clients (long-lasting customers).
Mastering this, you’ll eliminate your competition by becoming your prospect’s ONLY option. This process requires time and practice, while consistency is fundamental.
Before you do anything else, consider this vital aspect:
Discover HOW to best Identify Your Unique Value Proposition.
Doing this right will help you attract your desired type and number of clients instead of struggling for revenue and sales like many other freelance artists.
Take time to fully understand what makes you, your life, and your business experience unique. You should consider your business holistically, and not focus on you graphic design skills alone. To help you understand your clients better, you need to first take a look at yourself.
Reflect on these questions: What’s your background, and life story? What major problems did you solve in your life or the businesses of your clients? This helps you to build empathy for your clients’ needs, which is then unleashed in your creativity.
Therefore, emphasize the problems that you solve rather than the graphics that you create. Then, connect your service with the outcome required by your client.
To gain a better understanding, use this 5-step exercise to uncover everything you need to know:
Jot down these 5 KEY questions on a sheet of paper. About 80% of everyone reading these instructions will not follow through, and some may even take the easy route, and use their digital notes instead. However, it’s vital that you use old-fashioned pen and paper since you need to fully immerse yourself into this process if you want to generate maximum results in your business and those of your clients.
#1. What do you want to be known for?
Sharing your expertise and building your ‘authority’ status help you land more, and better clients.
How you position your freelance graphic design expertise will make or break your business. This is where newbies often struggle to figure out how to brand themselves and name their businesses. It’s important that you tackle this fairly early on because freelance graphic designers rely largely on word-of-mouth.
Another factor that stumps many freelancers is whether to use their own name or to create a completely different business name.
If your goal as a freelance graphic designer (hyperlink to article #1), is to stay a one-person business forever, then use your own name as the company name. But if you want to scale your revenue exponentially, you should consider producing a different name for your design business.
See how important it is to decide beforehand what the end result will be?
#2. What are your client’s struggles & pain points?
Knowing the pain points of your clients allows you to solve their problems. Businesses in the same industry often share the same challenges. Some make the mistake of trying to create their own branding material using online tools. However, they still need a professional who understands concepts like color saturation, textures, and transparency (to name a few) and is able to create a full custom design package, 3x faster, saving them money and time.
#3. Which of your clients’ challenges can you solve using your expertise?
This can be any problem and pain point related to branding (hyperlink to article #3), marketing, and business, and anything in between. Let’s consider a typical scenario.
A client approaches you because they’ve created their own logo using an online tool.
The problem is that it looks like many other logos in different colors. They need a freelance graphic designer to create a logo that stands out as well as other custom marketing materials, to help convey the right story about their brand and attract the right audience.
#4. What epic transformations can your client experience if you solve their problems with your service?
Clients pay you to help them obtain specific results in their marketing and business and to solve their biggest pain points. Most don’t even realize that they have a problem that you can solve for them. They confuse the symptoms with the core cause of the problem.
Most businesses believe that a lack of traffic costs them business leads, but don’t know how to convert the maximum of that handful of visitors into paying clients.
One way to achieve this is to better position their message and branding materials (graphics) to reach the right target audience.
This is where you come in. By providing your clients with a complete brand strategy, you help them attain the necessary clarity and confidence in their own niche.
Moreover, developing a mini brand identity package, including a simple logo, colors, fonts, and style guide, allows your clients to express their uniqueness.
You can create a collection of print collateral pieces to help them attract targeted offline audiences to their website (business cards, letterheads, envelopes, posters, banners, and signs), as well as ad specialty items (cups, pens, shirts and a catalog of other items).
#5. How are you going to help your client fix these pain points, and overcome these challenges?
By using a 2-step process:
(1) Explain your process
Your graphic design skills won’t sell themselves. You will always need to fill in the gaps, and show prospects how you can help them. A carefully detailed step-by-step process will spark an appreciation for the value that you provide.
Also, improving your copywriting skills as a graphic designer improves your work standard and can be used to attract more, and higher-paying clients.
The efficacy of this approach relies on a sufficient explanation of your process using images and audio. Even better, creating a screencast recording is proven to have a higher conversion rate than any other digital marketing ‘trick’ you may have tried.
(2) Demonstrate your process in graphic detail.
When prospects hear and see your design skills in action, you’ve already won half the battle. Meaning, you won’t have to pitch to clients or do any hard-selling anymore. It will feel like selling your service becomes a breeze because you’re offering something which your clients will naturally need.
Let’s say you provide a guaranteed quick turnaround for services:
Show your clients in detail how you produce both creative and technical tasks within a short period of time. Therefore, they can see that should you work on their live campaign or project, you’d probably be able to deliver their marketing materials sooner than expected.
Do this by creating a Youtube screencast where you record yourself during the creative process.
Admittedly, this process takes guts, and that’s why only 10% of graphic designers do this.
Plus, it requires quite a bit of time to implement. Yet, this is a powerful technique that generates clients and builds solid relationships.
At the end of the day, it’s essential to work with clients that you love. This often means that you have to decline opportunities that don’t align with your brand and core values. Recognize what you really enjoy doing, since graphic design is time-consuming and (on top of that) stressful.
Running a dream business requires you to know how to avoid the wrong clients. Focus on providing value, and your business will grow. But only if you also implement the right marketing strategy, as well as an action-oriented game plan focused on client transformation.