Knowing where to find web design clients is a struggle for many new, and even seasoned web designers. It can feel like everyone else has clients banging down the door, and you can’t get anyone to show up at your party.
I’ve been there. It’s awful.
But it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to ensure that clients come to you, in a steady stream.
You simply have to put in some effort, because unfortunately, if you build it, they won’t come, unless they get a special invite.
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Make use–real use–of social media.
It’s not just a place to show off your latest mood boards, it’s where you can make real connections with people.
While Pinterest and Instagram are great for showing off your work as a designer, I’ve found that Twitter and Facebook are better for actual connections as they thrive on conversations.
Use Twitter lists to your advantage
Create a list for your target audience, and add those who fall into your audience to the list. Rocket science right? But splitting your audience into its own list (as opposed to whatever celebrities or friends you’re following) will help you connect with those who will actually want to buy your service.
Check your list once or twice a day and reply to any tweets that catch your eye. They don’t HAVE to be about what you offer, in fact, it’s better to ease your way in with a friendly conversation first. If your target market is fashion bloggers, discuss the latest trends. Form a relationship first, then when you see the inevitable, “I need help with my blog, who do you recommend?” you can pop in and answer in a non-sleazy way.
Facebook groups are all the rage
Or they are at the time I’m writing this, anyhow. But that’s great, because Facebook groups are an easy way to build up your authority and connect with your target audience.
You might be saying, “But my target audience isn’t ON Facebook!” Which would be weird, because everyone’s on Facebook at this point. And if my retired mom in her 60s is on Facebook and in Facebook groups, chances are your audience is too.
You may not know this, but there’s basically a Facebook group for everything. More than one. There are thousands and thousands of Facebook groups on everything from women’s fashion to orthodontics to car repair. You just have to look.
Find a few Facebook groups where your target audience hangs out, and participate. Again, do not dive in with a pitch! This will get you banned in most groups. Instead, focus on being helpful, and becoming a part of the community. As you get known, you’ll become the go-to designer for that group.
Referrals are wonderful. Someone else sends a client your way, and the client trusts you, because they trust the person that sent them to you.
But where do these mythical referrals come from?
Well, if you get social like we talked about above, you’ll become “known” and those who know you will automatically refer you when they hear of someone looking for a new website.
You should also work on connecting with others in your industry. When your designer friend is all booked up, she’s likely to send new inquiries to you. And when you’re booked up, you can send new inquiries to her. It’s a win-win situation.
You can connect with others in your industry in much the same way as you would connect with clients. Create a Twitter list of those you want to connect with, and join Facebook groups for web designers and be helpful. This will show your new friends that you know what you’re doing, and they’ll feel happy to pass clients your way.
Past clients make up a huge percentage of my income. Not only do they refer new clients to me, but they come back for additional services.
If you’re looking for a champion for your business, look no farther than your past clients. These are the people who truly know what it’s like to work with you, and assuming they had a good experience, they will be happy to sing your praises to anyone who will listen.
And when they need something new? You’re their go-to designer and they wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else.
But how do you tap into these past clients?
Provide excellent service
You’re more likely to go back to a place amazing service. When you feel special, you want to feel special again, so that’s our goal: make clients feel special.
Really listen to them, and over-deliver. Not to the point where you’re unhappy, but to the point where they get a nice surprise and fall in love with your business. You can do this by streamlining your business, and thanking your clients. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all!
Keep in touch with past clients. And I don’t mean just sticking them on an email list and blasting them the same “special” offers you’re sending everyone else. I mean, setting aside 15 minutes every 3 months or so and dropping them a line. Personally.
These emails don’t need to be sales emails at all, but can be a quick check-in, “How’s the new site going?” Or even just a friendly note, “I saw on Twitter that you just bought a house, congrats!” But the point is that you make contact, so that you stay at the top of your clients’ minds. Even these casual emails are often replied to with, “Thanks! I actually have been meaning to get in touch with you, I am in need of _____, can you help?” Making the contact first, makes these requests easy for clients, and leads to more revenue for you!
Find your web design clients
Finding clients doesn’t have to be a struggle. 15-30 minutes a day of making real connections with potential clients, peers, and past clients can result in thousands of dollars.
Yes, you have to put in some effort. Clients don’t appear by magic. But a little effort goes a long way in booking out your services.
But it’s not that complicated. Get social, get known, get referrals, and get in touch with past clients. These simple steps will get new clients in the door and keep them coming back.