While you love being an artist or graphic designer, you may struggle to find clients or let people know you and your services are available for their projects. It can help to see marketing and advertising as a type of art. Like with any other type of art, there’s a learning curve involved with perfecting marketing. Here are several insights to help you sharpen your prowess and understanding of finding and keeping clients.
Reach Out to Local Business Groups
You could have untapped resources waiting in your own backyard. Do some research to see if there are business groups in your local community that could use someone with your skills. Specifically, offer to talk to these groups about the power of a solid design in their own marketing strategy, branding, and company culture. You not only have a chance to show your expertise, but you can also hand out business cards and (hopefully) find new clients eager to practice what you preach.
Create a Design Portfolio
No matter if you’re an artist who works with digital or inked images, words, or sounds, people like to get an idea of your overall style. Graphic designers and artists alike should have an online portfolio that potential clients can check out. With this portfolio, be sure to show what makes you stand out, what you have to offer that no other artist or designer can do like you do. Additionally, show that you can handle basic client requests like logos, book covers, signage, and the like. Remember, not all of your clients will want something terribly complicated, especially those just getting started.
Write Tutorials and Articles
Marketing professionals like Mark Crumpacker will agree that a vital part of marketing is educating your target audience, as opposed to always trying to sell something. For artists and graphic designers, this means writing articles related to news or developments in your industry, maybe even an opinion you have about that news or development. You can also either write or record a tutorial, depending on what it is that you want to teach. What articles and tutorials do is show the depth of your expertise in your field, making you that much more of a trusted authority. Combined with your online portfolio, you could give potential clients the confidence they need to hire you…and keep hiring you in the future.
Know Your Target Audience and Client
Rather than accept any and all work that comes your way, there could be a specific type of client you wish to work with. If so, nail down exactly what that client type looks like. That way, you can figure out a way to best reach and attract that type of client. While it’s great to receive messages from people looking to pay an artist or graphic designer good money, you don’t want to waste your time on an industry you either don’t care for or aren’t familiar with. Having a niche makes you that much more invaluable and in-demand.
Depending on your geographic location, there may not be very many opportunities for you to network in-person as an artist or a graphic designer. Thankfully, times have changed so that you can hop online to network, find clients, accept work, and get paid. Practically any social media platform can serve as an invaluable networking tool, that is, if you know what you’re doing. You can do your part to encourage people to network with you by displaying your work on a professional social media profile. Make it easy for people to know where and how to contact you if they’d rather not do so via a social media platform’s specific messaging tool.
Encourage Client Referrals
Current and past clients are some of your most powerful marketing tools. Besides having a portfolio to show how you work, potential clients also like to hear from some of your current and past clients to gain a deeper comprehension of how you operate as a graphic designer or artist. Ask satisfied clients if they would be willing to write up a testimonial you can post on your site. Such referrals could keep paying projects coming and coming.
Submit Work to Publications
Seek out books, magazines, and other such publications open to accepting your work (with pay, preferably). Such publications could not only offer you money, but they could also essentially pay you for your own marketing. As you would with clients, focus your efforts on publications that publish work that aligns with what you’re currently producing or enjoy. That way, you increase your chances of your work being accepted, which is better than wasting your time with rejection again and again.
Focus on Clients Who Can Pay
You cannot pay your bills or build a savings account with exposure or appreciation. That’s why it’s so vital that you market to individuals and companies that will not only pay you but pay your most current rate without argument.
Hopefully, you gained some great ideas for picking up clients in need of a dedicated graphic designer or artist. Best of luck!