How to Land the Clients You Want
by Margaret Penney | March 31, 2016
Designers use many ways to land their dream clients and there is no one tried and true method. Being creative, proactive and persevering are good modes of operation though in most cases. Outlined here are some of the more common methods for finding those great gigs.
1. Align Your Brand Image
The first step to getting the clients you want is to have your own marketing and self-promotional materials reflect a brand image that is appealing to the kind of client you want. So do some careful research into the design styles of your ideal clients and develop a look and feel for yourself that is visually aligned.
2. Show Only What Matters
In your web portfolio you’ll want to also only include projects that relate to the kind of work you want to do for your dream client. If you are a new designer it’s okay to create some sample designs that show you’re capable of working for your dream client, even if you haven’t specifically designed the packaging for a new coffee yet, for instance.
3. Promote, Promote, Promote
Start with designer showcase sites and social media and create accounts across all these sites. Make sure to include a consistent look and feel for yourself across every account to show a cohesive brand image for yourself, as you would for a client too.
Splurge on some high quality business cards using letterpress if you can, or design high quality cards using online printers like 4by6.com or moo.com who are respected for the quality of their cards. The best promotion still happens offline in the real world. If you can meet up with a great client at an event and discuss in person you are probably more likely to get that job even still.
4. Demonstrate Interest & Knowledge
If you have a client you really want to work for do some research about them, especially their design projects so far. When you send them an email, cover letter, or when you meet them in person talk to them directly about what you know already about their company. Don’t be presumptuous, but be interested. In this way you can start to align yourself with the company and maybe even show how you would be a valuable asset to them as well.
5. Be Proactive
If you see a local chocolatier or bookshop that you think is screaming for a redesign then be proactive and introduce yourself or send them an email. In the email you can outline some suggested ideas, but make sure you do so in a nice way. Many small businesses are attached to their own branding and design even if it could be improved. A good way to approach potential clients like this is to focus on the positives of what they have going on for their business in addition to mentioning ways their design could be better.
If you reach out to a dream client, maybe a very large corporate client or a design agency with five offices around the world, and you don’t get a response — don’t fret. These companies are very busy and usually are in a state of constant flux with turnover in staff as well. You are welcome to reach out again in a month or two especially if you see a listing for a job that looks like it is custom-made for you. Successful companies expect interested candidates to reach out to them and perseverance is not a bad trait. If you can, let them know about any new successes or projects you’ve completed, particularly if they relate to the kind of work you would like to do for that company.
Hope the methods above will help you land your ideal clients. It takes time and practice, so relax! 🙂
Which methods have you tried before and how did it work for you? What are the methods that have been successful for you?
Margaret Penney is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Margaret is a teacher, designer, writer and new media artist and founder of Hello Creative Co.