A web design agency that wants to grow needs clients who grow along with it. Even the biggest and most ambitious agencies cannot succeed if they don’t have customers to help them grow.
Customers are the lifeblood of a business.
The trick is to get more, better, and higher-paying clients. This is true for freelance web designers and large web agencies.
Running a profitable web design company is no different from running any other company. Running a business is, however, very different from designing and coding.
It involves balancing technical and management tasks. It also involves finances.
A web designer may have too much work and very healthy finances. Or there may not be enough work and it’s a struggle to pay the rent.
This post is a manual on how to get more web design clients.
Get to Know the Client
Not all clients are the same. Some of them will develop into important customers and bring great benefits.
Others cause a lot of headaches. They are always trying to change the project, or the timelines, or they refuse to pay.
To get the best out of a client and prevent many problems, it is best to find out what to expect from them. Use initial conversation to find out some personality traits.
Before taking on new web design clients, it is wise to think about the characteristics of the client. This description functions as a guide in creating content, marketing, and conversations.
Knowing their personality helps to create a website that matches what they want.
Communicate with that client about what the service entails and how it fills their needs. Such clarity helps to provide a good service.
As well, it increases confidence in the capabilities of the web design agency.
But do not take on every client. Focus on strengths and try to work for clients that help the design studio to grow.
Do Cold Outreach
With a target audience in mind, approach clients that fit the profile. Simply offering services can be very effective.
These are some ways of contacting new customers.
In the old days, the majority of cold contact occurred over the phone. Nowadays, the alternative is cold emailing.
Make a list of prospective clients and send them an email. Then it is a matter of hoping for a positive reply.
Besides this, have a place where website visitors can sign up for marketing emails. This can be a pop-up or a large button on the landing page.
A brief and succinct presentation is a powerful marketing tool.
It is a good idea to prepare a small speech like this, also known as an elevator pitch. A good pitch is confident, professional, and instills confidence in your leadership.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are excellent platforms for promoting businesses and services. Social media outlets connect people and increase familiarity with a brand.
A word of caution here.
A social media outreach campaign can easily turn into what people experience as spam. So be very careful.
Optimize the Website
The most powerful tool in the marketing toolbox is the business’ website. Helping people find the way to the web designer’s website is essential.
Hence, the website must rank high in search engine searches.
Clients will not trust websites that have no online visibility. Especially if it is the website of a web designer.
Besides visibility, consider the way the website functions. A web designer is generally expected to have an impeccably functioning site.
It should be user-friendly and intuitive. But there are even more important things.
The site should turn up number one in a variety of related Google searches. If it is not number one, it should at least appear with the first couple of hits.
Look at how similar services achieve this.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a free option.
Review and update keywords on a regular basis. This can help to attract new clients and expand the audience.
Another trick is getting colleagues and friends to connect to the website through their social media accounts.
Make a Good Portfolio and Case Study
A good video presentation can spark the interest of new web design clients. Along with this, show examples of previous work to convince them.
Or invite them to talk to current clients so they can hear first-hand their experience. Ask for the client’s permission first.
Start making a portfolio with Slider Revolution.
Where possible, have examples that might appeal to different clients. For instance, websites for restaurants, dentists, beauty salons, and so on.
The portfolio speaks well of the quality of the work. Also, it gives the new web design clients an idea of the kind of work offered and the quality.
This places them in a position to decide on a possible contract.
Besides the portfolio, have some case studies at hand, or publish them on the company’s website. They, too, will help the clients to make a decision.
Well-researched case studies show critical thinking skills and practical problem-solving skills. Include business goals, the role of the design team, approach, and result of the project.
This, combined with the portfolio, gives a well-rounded impression of the web design agency.
Meet the Web Design Clients
Meeting them does not only have to be in person. What social media networks do they use?
This is a way of getting in touch with them and also of expanding the audience and finding web design clients. Use these platforms to participate in web design discussions, and solidify contacts.
Some social networks that many use are:
LinkedIn. This is the most important website for professionals in any industry.
Use the profile to let people know about the web design business. Use as many relevant keywords as possible.
Facebook. The reach of Facebook focuses on immediate friends and family. They are potential clients too, or they know people who are.
Create a business Facebook account and a professional company page. Fill it with examples of finished jobs. Tell everybody to like, share, and comment.
Pinterest. Pinterest is a great platform for showcasing work. Arrange them on beautiful boards.
These give an idea in only one glance. Users can look and repin the work, which generates much exposure.
Instagram. Like Pinterest, Instagram is an excellent platform for web designers. It allows the user to create a simple portfolio.
Use hashtags to expand the reach of the page.
Google My Business. People can leave reviews of businesses. To promote the business it is necessary to generate as many good reviews as possible.
Good reviews will boost the ranking in Google searches, organic and local.
Find Web Design Clients through Inbound Marketing
Web content is another method to get the attention of people. This is a well-known fact in the world of advertising.
Some examples of effective content are:
- Social media
Nowadays, every company uses them to fill the minds of people. Constantly they see or hear slogans, jingles, messages, and so on.
So getting the attention of the audience is not an easy job. Here are some ideas to stand out:
- Infographics with new data and insights
- Videos with clear advice and call to action
- Checklists for ideal clients
- Free tools that have value (calculators and other programmable online tools)
- Podcasts with well-known persons in the industry
- Newsletters with the purpose of adding value
Uploading new content to the site, such as a podcast, generates a new searchable URL. Adding new content once a week means 52 new URLs that people can search for and find.
Have a Strong Lead Magnet
An opt-in offer, or lead magnet, is an offer that very few can resist. It is often a free gift and in return, people feel compelled to give their email addresses.
With these email addresses in hand, continue to market to them. An effective lead magnet meets a couple of criteria:
- The value of the return makes it worth giving it away for free.
- It addresses a specific need of an ideal client.
- It allows the client to partially solve a problem they face.
- It motivates a client to buy additional services.
Target ideal clients and the problems they face. This allows designers to build a list of desirable clients.
When they are ready to solve that problem, they will know exactly who can solve it for them. This could happen soon or in the distant future.
Many have a popup or a special section on the landing page where people can sign up to receive their free gift. To receive it, they need to fill in their email address.
In most places, specific rules on data collecting and privacy apply. Follow these rules and use the email addresses only in targeted commercial campaigns.
Speak at Events
Not everyone gets excited at the prospect of speaking before a crowd. Others have a natural talent for it.
Either way, speaking at events is an excellent way to become known.It also helps potential clients to build trust in the web designer.
Events are different in size and scope. They range from small local lunch meetings to large international conferences.
All serve to increase visibility, share knowledge and information, and present oneself as a leader and expert.
The good results of a lecture are not always immediately noticeable. But each time, more people get to know you.
Also, with each discourse, confidence increases. That, in turn, leads to more clients becoming interested in the services.
These events are opportunities to expand the email list.
Invite the listeners to download the free lead magnet. This works much better than directly inviting them to hire the services.
Niche and Expertise
Having a particular area of expertise is another way of finding web design clients. Get all the skills, knowledge, and tools that relate to this niche.
A specialized offer is much more effective in attracting new web design clients than offering generic services. This narrows the market but the upside is more important.
Inquiries will be more targeted. The definition of the ideal client will become much sharper.
How to choose a niche? Think of past experiences and references.
Here are some other questions that can help:
- What industries have I worked with in the past?
- What kind of businesses am I familiar with?
- What businesses have I worked for?
- What local businesses do I know about or use often?
- What interests do I have in common with various local businesses?
Some web design specializations are:
- E-commerce stores
- Lead generation websites
- Learning management systems
- Membership sites
- Mobile apps
- Product websites
- Sales pages
Solve Client’s Problems
Technical aspects are the remit of the designers and coders. For all other aspects of a project, listen carefully to the client and their desires.
It is their product so it should work the way they want. Pay attention to the information they give.
Then think about it and provide a solution.
It is all about solving problems. That is true in almost all areas of providing or services.
People buy something because they have a need or a problem. Companies hire people because they have the skills needed for solving a problem.
Listening to and solving problems will lead to the success of a project and the high quality of the product. In the long run, it helps to generate referrals.
Clients will look for people that can help them solve their issues. So, show a readiness to solve theirs.
Design service packages that show familiarity and appreciation for common web design problems. Close the gap between their problem and the solution.
Ask Clients for Referrals
The best leads come from referrals from satisfied current and past clients. A customer who makes a word-of-mouth referral has already been talking positively about the service they received.
That level of trust from a friend is very valuable. It is much more effective than cold outreach.
These referrals will always result in projects of higher quality and value. It builds on the work that was already done for the one referring.
It is not bad or weird to ask for referrals. The best time to do it is right after finishing a project.
An interesting method is to use a survey to measure the customer’s satisfaction. Appropriate questions are:
- Would you recommend me to a friend or colleague?
- Why or why not?
Then follow up on affirmative answers. Make referring easy.
Some even give a script to their satisfied customers. They can then copy and paste it into an email to an interested colleague.
This increases the chances of finding web design clients.
Partnerships are another type of referral. The previous section discussed direct referrals from happy clients.
Partnerships are bigger and focus on businesses that are in the target market. Think here of other businesses that are in the same market but offer a complimentary service.
Of course, they should not offer the same or competing product or service. Rather, they offer a service for which a website is a logical referral.
Every business is different, so identifying the ideal partnerships is different too. Ask these questions to identify them:
- Who else is targeting my clients?
- Where are they?
- What is the best way to get in touch with them?
- What can I offer them?
Talk with others to find the answer to those questions. Meet some potential partners.
Use these meetings to find out what problems they faced in the past. What would they want from the partnership?
This is important because it helps to decide whether to pursue the partnership. It also determines how to communicate with prospective partners.
Do not hesitate to reach out and form a partnership with a suitable non-competitive company. It is a productive way of drawing new web design clients.
Be a Guest on Podcasts and Webinars
This article already discussed the benefits of speaking at live events. Virtual equivalents of live speeches are webinars and podcasts.
However, the audiences of podcasts and webinars are often very different. Using these virtual tools expands the pool of potential perfect clients.
The podcast or webinar host benefits also. Their platform becomes a source of interesting and reliable information.
Of course, this means that good preparation is necessary. Make a script beforehand and have the ideas clear in mind.
Extemporaneous delivery is good too, as it sounds more natural. But a script helps to ensure that all the main points are covered.
At the end, offer to answer questions and solve specific problems. Be familiar with new trends, technologies, and products in the talk.
Be up to date. Make sure that everything is accurate, factual, and offers value to the listeners.
Follow Up on Everything Right Away
Following up on every lead is the key to success. Every year, web designers lose millions of dollars because of not responding to questions, emails, and phone calls.
An often-heard excuse is that people are too busy. As a result, there will not be enough work in the future.
So, prioritize leads. Following up will have immediate visible results.
Do not delay following up. Make good use of new leads from networking events, seminars, meetings, and conferences.
A quick response is especially warranted:
- After receiving an email, phone inquiry, or web form
- After meeting a potential client at an event or conference
- After receiving a referral. Contact both the one referred and the one referring
- ● When seeing a comment or question on social media
Use email automation to ensure quick responses. Have an autoresponder in place that refers people to the info email address.
Have a secretary to answer phone calls and emails. If needed, have someone that runs social media platforms.
Ending thoughts on how to get more web design clients
Finding web design clients requires time and energy. Hence, it is vital to allocate sufficient resources to this activity.
It is not easy and it takes commitment, courage, and focus to be better than the competition.
It is a process and goals may change over time. Yet, the whole process teaches much about the people involved, the company, the industry, and ideal clients.
Use this knowledge to improve and adjust the company’s course. That knowledge also helps to discover a niche.
Use that niche and develop the skills that it takes to become proficient. That will help to get web design clients.
Never give up, not even when clients do not come in as fast as expected. Following the tips and suggestions above will lead to success.
If you enjoyed reading this article on how to get more web design clients, you should check out this one with video portfolio websites.
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