Discover Your Demographic: Finding Clients That Match You
by Taylor Slattery | November 24, 2020
Companies spend a great deal of time and money researching demographics and how best to reach their target audience. Their goal is to arrive upon specific personas which can then be used to inform all of their decision-making in regards to advertising. Every detail from the content of the images, the copy used, and locations where the ads are displayed are all the results of intensive research to ensure that their advertising dollars are spent effectively.
This same approach can be applied on a smaller scale in our search for clients to ensure that we will one day be doing the kind of work we find fulfilling. Whether you’re looking for clients or customers, the process for finding the best match will involve some variation of the same steps.
To begin, we need to first understand what our work says about us. The character of our work will play the largest role in determining the types of clients we attract. Take an honest look at your work and ask yourself, is this in alignment with the types of clients I aim to work with? If you’re uncertain, do some research. Find some artists or designers who are already working with your dream clients and look for patterns. What are some common characteristics found in their work that are lacking in your own. Next, ask yourself if this is a change you are willing to make. If by doing so you are losing an aspect of what makes your work unique then perhaps the cost is too great. Sometimes your target audience isn’t who you expect or even want it to be.
So far, we’ve examined the kind of work our dream clients are looking for and compared it against our own. We now have a clear picture of who we’re looking for and what kind of work they want to see, but where can we find them and how do we show it to them?
This next part is tricky and requires subtlety, but can lead to a fulfilling career with clients that can take your work to the next level so be patient and play it cool. Using any means at your disposal, find the names of the people who make decisions at the companies you’re trying to work with. You’ll need to put on your sleuth hat and do some digging. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are all great places to start. Once you’ve found them you’ll start to see the digital breadcrumbs they’ve left for you to follow, which will eventually lead to a network of people you can gain further insight from.
At this point, all that’s left to do is find unobtrusive ways to make yourself visible to these people. Interact with their accounts and those they follow but do your best to be subtle. Don’t try to rush things, we’re just planting seeds here. It’s best to be patient and let things develop organically. The goal is just to make ourselves visible and slowly start to network and build relationships with the right people in hopes it will lead to future work. For this to happen you’ll need to be consistent both in your work and your networking efforts as both play a role in increasing your visibility.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.