How to get more clients for your web design business is THE big question and is often a freelance web developer’s greatest worry. Designing websites is a dream job, but if you don’t have clients paying you money then it doesn’t seem much different than my kids hoping to find work as video game testers. I promise you, it is different, and you can make a very good living designing and developing websites.
The Key to Web Design Marketing
You can find a hundred articles that tell you a great place to start looking for business is through a job posting site like elance.com or 99designs.com. These websites do have their place, but if you are just starting out and hoping to make a real living by designing websites, then this is like jumping in a shark tank to learn how to fish. Those sites are extremely competitive, and you will work yourself to the bone with very little results unless you have a lot of experience, know what you are doing, and live in a very low cost-of-living country. The secret to marketing your web design business and getting more business for yourself is not following the pack. Don’t go where all the other web designers go!
Local Web Design Marketing
Rather than going where the competition is high and the payoff is low, go where the NEED is high and the competition is low. Especially if you are just starting out, think local and go where the businesses are going. I know this is hard, but it will require you to actually step away from your computer and go out into the daylight — be sure to take a second to let your eyes adjust.
Ok, but where are the businesses in need? That part is easy: join your local Chamber of Commerce, or depending on what country you live in, your local business association, and start going to the meetings. Check Meetup.com for other small business meetings. Make sure you bring business cards and are ready to tell people what you do in 8 seconds or less. BUT don’t make it about you. You are there to meet people and network, not just drum up more business. Actively participate when appropriate and think of how you can help others in the community.
When people sense that you are genuine and not some fly-by-night vulture, sweeping in for an easy kill, they will want to do business with you. The beauty is that small local businesses WANT to do business locally because they want people to shop from them or use their services locally, too. This puts you at an advantage over anyone outside of your immediate market area.
Build Your Web Design Portfolio
Of course you need to have your website included on your business card, and potential clients will expect to see your portfolio. If you are just starting and don’t have a portfolio, reach out to local charities and organizations and tell them that you are just starting as a web designer and don’t have a portfolio yet, but you would like to create a website for them at a steep discount. This is mutually beneficial, and you can help a good cause while getting your business off the ground. Make sure to include a “Designed by…” link of some kind at the bottom of the site.
Not only can you use this method to truly help others and build your web design portfolio at the same time, but charities are very active in your local community and are always trying to attract the attention of businesses to sponsor them. Be sure to attend some of the charity events that will no doubt be teaming with other small businesses, and again, bring plenty of business cards.
But I Don’t Want to Leave My Cave!
I understand, some may not like the idea of having to go out and meet people, but the truth remains that networking is one of THE BEST ways to to get your business off the ground. Without a portfolio or track record of some kind, or a good reputation already established, people are unlikely to hire someone they have never met. What reason would they have for even considering your services, let alone actually hiring you?
However, don’t fear, there are ways to build trust with potential clients without having to go to business meetings or charity events. So for those of you unable, or more likely, unwilling to brave the daylight, then I have more proven methods coming your way! Keep an eye out for my next few blog posts where I will go over
- Direct Marketing for Web Design
- Using Referrals to Get More Web Design Business
- Using a Newsletter To Get More Business Out of Your Current Customers
- Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Your Web Design Clients
- Social Networking Strategies to Attract More Web Design Business
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What marketing strategies have you used to get more web design business?
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