There are several challenges every business has to face to succeed. As for a web design business, getting web design clients is a challenge, especially if you are just starting out and haven’t built a portfolio.
Getting clients is necessary for a successful web design venture. Clients are the end consumers of your business because without them, you have no one to work for, and when there is no one to attend to and display your skill, your skill remains idle.
There are several resources out there with the claim to show you how to get clients for your graphic or website design business, but their lessons do not differentiate between existing web designers and new designers who have little to no knowledge on how to get clients and even do not have a profile to show to the world for what they do.
Most of these resources only advise designers to sign up on websites that bring web designs and clients together, such as Upwork and Freelancer. This method of teaching is faulty and does not – in any way – help new web designers who want to know how to start a web design business with no experience.
Yes, there is more to signing up on these sites and bidding for jobs when no one knows you, and you have no experience of how things work.
If you are just starting out, you do not know what to expect, and making assumptions can be a waste of time in your effort to get clients fast for your business.
For this reason, this short guide focuses on aspiring and existing web and graphic designers who would want to take some steps further to find clients. In short this guide will give you tips to get web design clients without portfolio or with portfolio.
If you need inspiration on creating a good portfolio, then you should check this post on 18 Handpicked Selection of Best UX Portfolio
How to Market Website Design Business
Know your ideal client
The first step to take as a beginner is to understand who your prospective clients are. You are just starting out and have not worked with only a few or no clients. But you must also think of the categories of clients who would want your service.
List what you can offer best and how much you think your service is worth. Having an idea of these lets you know the clients to go after.
This will also help your prospective clients to recognize you as the best fit for the job. But, if you cannot recognize who your prospective clients are, they will also find it hard to recognize you and what you can offer.
You cannot display yourself as a master of all trades and expect clients to seek your service. That won’t work! When communicating what you can offer to your prospective clients, you must go narrow to suit the need of that category of clients. This does not mean to forget about other related clients, but make sure you are communicating with a particular set of clients.
Identify your prospect red flags
As it is helpful to know whom you can work with, you must also have a list of what you don’t have an interest in doing. This is a list of what you do not enjoy doing. Having this list does not mean you are weak. It only shows you know what you want.
There are projects out there that won’t help you but rather hurt your profile in the long run, because you cannot do them to satisfy clients. Knowing these projects lets you know what to go for and what not go for.
Go where your ideal clients are
Now that you know who your clients are, what they expect from you and what you can do, it is time to go out and seek for your clients. If you can only recognize your clients and do not know where you can find them, then your effort will be in vain. You won’t expect them to come to you when they don’t know you exist. It is your responsibility to make yourself known to your clients, and you can only achieve this by going to where they are.
You would need to step out and make connections with your prospective clients. To do this, you must know where you can find the clients. For this purpose, have a list of the events and conferences your clients attend and the organization they can be found. This may require you to join groups that will connect you with your clients.
Recognize your best clients
Studies show that for the average web designer, 4 in every 5 businesses come from 20 percent of existing customers.
Having this in mind lets you know how important it is to serve your existing customers with the best of your ability. The fact is, you cannot satisfy every client, but doing your best will win the hearts of the majority of your clients – even over 20 percent.
In this phase, you will need to know who your best clients are. These are clients you know you can still get more business from. Overdelievering for these clients lets you get more business and lets them refer you to their friends.
However, this does not mean you should not do your best for other clients. The point is just to separate ‘honey pot’ clients from regular ones.
Follow up on everything right away
You need to follow up on each of your moves. You will hurt your success if you cannot follow up. If you meet a client at an event, it is important to follow up with your discussion. This lets your clients see you as a serious web designer. Following up will surely increase your revenue with time.
Following up also speeds things up. Since this is showing your clients you are serious about your business and that they are important to you, they will hasten their actions to respond. But if you will are asking after your clients after weeks you promised to get back to them, this will speak ill of you and hurt your business.
It is understandable that you might be busy with other duties concerning your business, but you won’t also want to lose your clients by not following up. If you find it difficult to squeeze time to follow up, you can pre-scheduled follow ups in advance by doing these:
- Have a template you can easily edit to meet each client’s purpose
- Get the needed materials ready in advance
- After meeting each client, write a follow-up letter and keep it for the scheduled time
How to Get Clients Fast
To hasten your success of getting website clients, building your portfolio is the secret.
While you can get clients with no experience, you can boost your chance of how fast you get clients by working on your portfolio.
The first question that might cross your mind is you don’t have a client to work for yet. Yes, that is true. However, there are tips that can help you build a portfolio without having to work for a client. While these tips may not earn you money, they have significant impacts on how long you take to achieve success as a web designer who does not have basic knowledge of how to get web design clients fast.
Personal projects on the web
You do not have a portfolio to showcase your experience, but your prospect will want to know you are an expert at what you do. To do this, you can start a personal project. This will let them know you are capable of what you claim to do and that they can trust their websites to you.
Therefore, look for a project you can work on. For instance, you can create a blog for your mother’s cat or your wife’s kitchen craft. Working on this will not only improve your skill but also let you have a project to add to your portfolio.
It is not compulsory that the blogs are perfect. Just make sure you do the design aspect of the blogs perfectly. When you are done with this, you can have something to add to your portfolio to show to your clients.
Create imaginary clients to design web pages for
Designing web pages for yourself is another way to have your way through while attempting to succeed as a website designer who has no portfolio.
This requires that you act the designer and the client parts at the same time. To do this, imagine a client request for your service. Put yourself in the shoes of the client and what he would need. Get up to work and work on the project.
When you are done with this and will want to add it to your portfolio, it is imperative that you let your real prospective clients know what you are displaying is a demo sample. Most clients do not care about that. They only want to know you are capable of what you claim to do.
It is important to work on the demo project perfectly as you would work on a live project. Not meeting up with standards will not help your business, but hurt it.
Connect with local businesses
There are small businesses with websites they would want to design. Going directly to them is another way to start your journey and build your profile. Therefore, build relationships with small business owners around you. You can talk with a local restaurant around you if they have a website they will want to design.
These local businesses may know you in person and will not ask for much from you to prove you are capable of doing your job – website or graphic design.
Small business owners also have connections with one another. This means that if you work with one, you are not only having a project to add to your portfolio but they can also refer you to other business owners.
Where to Advertise Web Design Business
Another important question to ask in your journey to get web design clients is where do you go to, to meet your prospects? While there are platforms you can leverage to advertise your website design side business, it is still not fun. However, your success also depends on knowing where to advertise your web design. Here are some places to go to:
Several gatherings around you involve business owners. Get a list of these gatherings and look for ones that are still active and you can join. After you have become a member of these groups, create a profile with them to showcase what you do.
Facebook is a blessing to small businesses to meet their customers. Virtually every business has a group on Facebook. Search for the ones that suit your interest with the impression to get your clients and join. Once you are a member, let them know what you do. To build a reputation on this platform, it will be wise to respond to people’s problems when you know you can help.
Chambers of Commerce
Going to local chamber events around you is also a great way to meet your clients. Where some of these events are not helpful for your success, many of them will help boost success. Therefore, when you get to one, pay attention, and see if it can help you or will be a waste of time.
This is a gathering of a certain number of people meant to help each other. Though some people don’t like this networking, it is still the best for many other business owners. Here, you refer business to each other. Though it can take a while to make yourself known to other group members and let them understand what you do, it will boost your success.
How to Get Website Projects from Specific Country like the USA
Getting projects from clients from specific countries might be challenging and require special skills. If your desire country is not your country of residence, this means you have to look beyond local businesses around you for projects. This time, you might need to go online to look for your prospective clients from freelance websites.
Here are a few websites that bring freelancers and clients together:
While it may take time and lots of planning, finding clients is important for succeed in your web design business. If you would take your time and sacrifice all it takes to follow the suggested tips in this lesson, your website design business will hit success in no time.