Starting a web design business is hard.
Even after choosing a focus, niching down, and establishing your pricing, you have to actually GET web design clients clients.
If you’re wondering how to get web design clients, this post is for you.
When you’re brand new to business, being super-picky about your first clients may hurt you more than it helps. You certainly don’t want to take on any nightmare clients, but it can be beneficial to your processes (and bank account) to take on clients who may be short of a perfect fit.
Why? Well, even if you’ve established your ideal client in your head, set some boundaries, and think you’re squared away, you might realize you missed some big holes.
Working with less than ideal clients can help you tighten up your processes, OR even make you realize the niche you originally chose isn’t the one you should be working in, and instead you might shift your focus to something else.
The point is, you’re new to this, and you don’t know what you don’t know yet. Working with a variety of clients can actually help you niche more, establish better processes, and create a better experience for your ideal clients when they come along.
So how do you get web design clients for your business when you’re just starting out?
Hey-o! This post contains affiliate links which means if you click a link and then make a purchase, I’ll get a commission at no additional cost to you. Like everything I share, I only share things I have used, love, and whole-heartedly recommend. No sharing junk just for cash here. That’s not how I roll.
Use your network
You might be thinking that you don’t have a network at this stage, but you do. You know people in real life, right? And possibly online?
These people might need websites.
Or they might know someone who needs a website. So even if your mom is not your target market, she might have a friend who needs a website and that friend can be your first customer.
Ideal? Maybe, but probably not. Good experience and some money in the bank? Yup.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you know and ask them to spread the word about your new business.
You can email family, friends, past co-workers, old classmates, etc. People are happy to help. In fact, I still get family and friends referring people my way all the time. And I haven’t asked them to in 5+ years. But I did ask them when I was starting out.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you know. The worst they’ll do is delete your email, and you’ll be right where you are now. But chances are, they’ll be more than happy to help you get web design clients.
Social media is a great place to pick up clients. But it takes a little longer than a referral, so be sure to use your network and not skip that step.
But if you want to be a little more focused on who comes your way, social media is a great place to find clients.
You can get web design clients through pretty much any type of social media, and I could (and probably should) teach a whole class on each of these options, but I’m going to lightly touch on three platforms today.
I love Twitter because I feel like you can have actual conversations and make quick connections. Create a Twitter list of people you would like to have as your client, and interact with them, often.
I don’t mean to spam people with your website packages, but actually interact with people you wish were your clients. Pay attention to what their problems are, write blog posts that address those problems (and share them on Twitter), and be helpful. They’ll notice, and even if they don’t need a website from you, they might know someone who does.
Join Facebook groups where your target audience hangs out. If you want to create websites for fashion bloggers, join some Facebook groups for fashion bloggers. Again, don’t spam, but be helpful when they’re struggling with their website, and be active in the community to be seen.
You’ll become their hero, and they’ll want to hire you.
As a designer, your work is very visual. You can create and share demo projects that would appeal to your target audience. But you can also pin blog posts that address the problems your potential clients face, and offer a solution.
Let’s say you’re targeting fashion bloggers. You could write a blog post called “10 Things Every Fashion Blogger Needs on Her Website” and share it on Pinterest. Your target audience sees the pin, clicks through, and is introduced to your expertise and your web design business.
Pinterest isn’t very social compared to most platforms, so the goal is to get someone to click through and go back to your website–and then have a clear call to action at the end of the post about what they should do next, that leads them to booking with you.
Getting web design clients when you’re brand new is the biggest struggle. Don’t be too picky about who you work with at first, just make sure you avoid actual nightmare clients. Think of everyone else as an experiment and experience.
Put your network to use. Someone you know needs a website or knows someone who does. But they can’t hire you if you don’t tell them that you’re in business and accepting clients.
By the way, even if your Aunt Suzi is your first client, you should have a contract. Just so everyone knows what’s going on. Treat any clients, be they friend or family, as a real client and establish boundaries and a clear scope of work.
Social media can help you get web design clients who better fit your niche, but may take some time. Focus on 1-3 platforms at most, and be consistent. Help out where you can, and people will start to recognize your name, and associate you with web design for that niche.
What are you waiting for? Go get your first clients now!
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