‘Marketing’ is a term that gets many designers wary. After all, they are in the industry to be creative, and marketing is something that feels cliche – mostly if you have never done it before.
However, marketing is an essential tool if you want to get your name out there in the world of design. Regardless of whether you are a freelancer or an individual trying to establish your own firm – you need to understand the marketing tactics to be ‘discoverable.’
Luckily, the world of marketing is not that challenging. All you need to do is know a few innovative ways to promote yourself and add a bit of creativity to get the ball rolling.
How? Let’s find out in the guide below!
1. Research your Target Audience
While you may want to be the jack of all trades, it’s challenging to manage all types of industries by one person. We suggest going for a specific industry when starting your design firm. By specializing within a particular sector, you can focus your time and energy on what you are really good at and potentially grow your customer base wider – more efficiently.
When choosing a niche to work with, consider the type of industry you are most attracted to? What kind of businesses usually come to you, and what type do you find the most challenging?
Answering these questions will help you figure out the niche or target audience for your design firm and make you more proactive in your work. It will also help your marketing as you will curate protocols specifically towards the targeted audience.
2. Build an Online Portfolio
In today’s digital age, having a resume is not enough to get more clients. You need an online portfolio to showcase all your work and give clients a suitable place to contact you.
Start by creating a website where you can present your clients with the work you do or can do. If you are a new graduate or just starting out in the industry, you may not have a portfolio to explain your work. And showing them your degree or diploma will also not do the trick.
Clients want results and to see what you can do for them. In this case, you can take help from friends and family. Design their spaces and take lots of pictures to show your talent. You can also buy stock photos and illustrate the type of work you can do for your clients.
Social media is another platform where you can build your following. While there are many popular social media channels, you can choose the one that is fit according to your brand strategy. For example, Instagram is a creative and innovative channel. At the same time, LinkedIn is popular for contacting professionals and businesses.
However, don’t limit yourself to one channel. Since marketing on the internet is free, expand your reach and invite the world to work with you on the powerful medium.
3. Build a Network
One of the best ways to build a network is to attend industry-specific events and strike up conversations. Try to get to know as many people as possible at these events. When talking to them, try to display your skills and knowledge to showcase yourself as an expert in the field.
Remember that first impression last. So if you want to build a strong network, you have to bring yourself out like a credible person – without selling yourself. Just tell the new people you meet about yourself, your skills, and the design services you are offering. Give them your business cards and get in touch casually through an online medium, so they remember you and further refer you to friends and family when they require design services.
4. Participate in Online Forums
As a designer, forums should be your top priority as fellow designers often look towards them to exchange ideas and industry-related trending topics. In fact, there are several forums that are specifically dedicated to the subject.
Join these channels. Learn from industry experts and share your ideas as well. Be active on the forums and showcase your expertise at every chance you get. And don’t forget to add your signature along with your website and contact information with every comment you make on the channels.
5. Recruit Influencers
We all have industry-specific idols, and if you are new to the design sector, you are surely bound to have lots of people you admire. Share their work on your online medium and add captions of your opinions about their designs.
If possible, talk to the influencers about their work. Send them short messages about why you admire their work. You can also send them examples of your own work and ask them to give you feedback on your work.
6. Offer Freebies
Offering a freebie is something that most designers don’t like. However, it is one of the best ways to gain exposure and build a brand following on the internet.
For starters, if you have social media accounts, you can ask the followers to share your post. Tell them that if a particular post reaches a certain number of shares or likes, you will offer a free design to the original poster.
You can also run contests or simple games and offer the winners a free design or some part of your service.
While you may not find the gimmick profitable, the outcome for this technique will surely reward you with more fans, following, and exposure.
These were just some tips to get you started. What do you think? They are not hard to master, right? Good luck!