Growing a marketing agency or starting your freelancing career is not easy. Professional web design is a competitive niche. There are many talented web designers, and many of them will be competing for the same kind of customers as you are targeting.
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest pain points that agencies and freelancers face is customer acquisition. Finding customers is hard. Convincing leads that you are the best person to fulfill the contract is even more difficult. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?
This article will explore the different ways you can get web design clients. We will look at how you can use online marketing, personal branding, and other methods to land your dream clients. Read on for tips and tricks on how to secure your next web design client.
1. Create A Customer Persona
An important starting point for any sales or marketing campaign is defining who you are targeting. Most freelancers and businesses will create a customer persona. A customer persona is a generalized depiction of your customer base. The customer persona will cover things like:
- Type of company you are targeting and their niche.
- Size of the company. Also, how much money they are making.
- Who in the company you should contact. For example, you might need to talk with the Chief Marketing Officer.
- The reason why they would use your service/ the pain points they are trying to solve.
Below is an example of a customer persona. If you don’t want to create a customer persona, you could always use a real customer as an example.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that targeting everyone gives you the best chance of getting new customers. Most people want to deal with experts in their field. Clients prefer to work with companies and freelancers that have experience in their sector.
Finding and sticking to a customer persona is an important first step when looking for web clients. You are more likely to achieve success targeting a particular customer type as you can align your pitch and marketing material with their needs.
You may get inquiries from customers that don’t fit your customer persona. That’s fine. You don’t have to turn these web design clients down.
2. Promote Your Services Through Online Platforms
One of the best places to find web design clients is on job boards and freelancing sites. There are many great freelancing sites and job boards, and you should monitor these sites for suitable opportunities. Both job boards and freelancing websites have their merits. The approach you take should be unique to the platform.
Freelancing websites such as Twine are an obvious place to find web design clients. The best way to secure new clients on freelancing sites is to spend time on one platform and develop your profile. You might need to start by charging potential clients less than your idea rate as you build up your reputation and get good feedback from customers.
As you develop your reputation, you’ll find that it gets easier to secure web design clients through the platform. On top of this, you’ll probably discover that potential clients will ask you to pitch for a contract or enter discussions with you without ever posting a competitive contract through the site.
Make sure to spend time on your profile when you join a site. Your profile should provide potential clients with a clear overview of your professional experience. You should tailor your copy towards your customer persona.
Job boards often have a less organized structure than a freelancing website. On a job board, businesses will post contracts for freelancers and agencies. Depending on the job board, there might be a formal application process where you submit a business proposal or pitch for a contract.
Job boards require active monitoring. You will need to search for suitable contracts. Don’t expect clients to come to you. Job boards like Indeed or Monster have plenty of opportunities for freelancers and agencies willing to put the time into the search. Keep in mind, competition for contracts can be stiff. A company might receive dozens of applications from different agencies and freelancers.
3. Grow Your Digital Presence
If you want to sell web design services, it makes sense that you spend time developing your digital presence. There are many ways to promote your brand online, either as a freelancer or an agency. In the section below, I’ll cover a few of the important things to focus on if you want to get more web design clients.
Create a Website
If you want to establish a digital presence, you need a website. One of the first things a potential client is likely to do when they consider you for a contract is Google either your name or the company name. You want to own the search results related to those queries.
Your website is more than just a chance to own the search results for your company name; it’s also a place for you to share your skills, experience, and expertise.
An excellent example of a freelancer who has built a brand around his website is Jacob Cass from Just Creative. Jacob sells branding services to his clients. The homepage of his website is a classic example of a good sales page.
He shares information about his background, previous clients, and how he works on his website’s homepage. Information like this is reassuring. A good sales page will generate inquiries.
I particularly like his business approach because the website is more than just a place where clients who have received an inquiry visit. According to Ahrefs, the site receives approximately 106,000 visitors a month. Just Creative is ranking for numerous branding related search terms.
If you have a website, I strongly suggest you grow an email list. Through email marketing, you can capture a portion of your website visitors. You can share useful information to your list and promote your products and services.
We’ve got a useful guide on the GetResponse blog that covers how to get started with email marketing. The article shares useful tips regarding how to grow your email list, what type of emails you should send, and how to manage your contacts.
4. Create Opportunities Through Cold Pitching
One of the most direct ways to try and secure new clients is through cold pitching. The first step in any cold pitching campaign is to make a list of businesses that fit your customer persona. There are various ways to build a list. Logical resources include:
- Google My Business – search for local businesses by region and niche
- LinkedIn – most businesses and business professionals have a presence on LinkedIn.
- Roundup articles – for example, resources like the Inc 5,000 (a list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the US).
Once you have your list of potential prospects, you need to decide how to approach the company. The most effective and arguably intimidating approach is cold calling.
Cold calling is where you pick up the phone and try to arrange a meeting or appointment with a prospect. It’s a difficult job. Many people will hang up the phone or refuse to take your call. However, some people might show an interest in your service. When you get a suitable opportunity, you should arrange a meeting.
The most important resource you’ll need for cold calling is a sales script. The sales script will provide structure to your call, which is important when you are just starting.
An alternative to cold calling is cold emailing.
Email pitching is tricky. It’s hard to get someone you don’t know to open, read, and respond to your message. To run a cold email outreach campaign, you will need an email finder and a good outreach template.
5. Network Online & Offline
“It’s not about what you know. With business, it’s about who you know” – how many times have you heard this phrase? Probably too many to count, but it is true! Networking can help increase your referrals and get you web design clients by meeting people face-to-face or social media.
Network at Offline Events
Offline events are a chance to meet local businesses that operate in your area. If you live in an urban area, it should be easy to join professional networking events. Sites like Eventbrite are a good place to find activities that are happening in your area.
If you plan to attend events, try to join events for web designers and events that cater to companies that fit your target persona. For example, if you want to work with accountancy firms, you should try and attend some of their meetups. These meetups are a chance to meet potential clients. On the other hand, meetups for web designers are a chance to make professional connections with people who operate in your niche.
Network Through Social Media
Networking on social media can take many forms. The most relevant social media platform to find web design clients is likely to be LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn to search for relevant people who work at firms that fit your target persona. LinkedIn is a great platform for sharing updates on your business and engaging with thought leaders and industry peers through comments and shares.
In addition to LinkedIn, you might use Facebook, Slack, Quora or another platform. The aim is always the same; to participate in conversations. By participating in conversations and adding value (not just participating purely for self-promotion), you can create meaningful relationships with your target audience. Those connections can turn into future leads.
How you decide to target your dream clients depends on who they are and how much time and energy you want to put into your freelance work. There are many different ways to go about attracting clients, some more immediate than others.
By building your online presence and honing in on your niche, you can build up a strong portfolio and, in time, build your brand. Hopefully, clients will start to find you from your content marketing and networking efforts at some point in your web design career.
I hope this guide has given you some new ideas on how and where to target your clients and help you win your dream client!