Finding web design clients is not easy. It's not enough to send your portfolio everywhere and hope for a return. If you are lucky, this method might work. But it is not necessarily the case.
In reality, finding customers requires a certain strategy.
That's what we're going to cover in this guide. I'm going to talk to you about the 5 best ways to find web design clients. But first, I'd like you to take the following survey...
How would you like to find your webdesign clients?
They come to you because they saw your expertise on your social network or website
They ask you for a collaboration, because they heard about you by word of mouth
You're the one looking for them, by cold prospecting
Any other ideas? Don't hesitate to share your idea in comments!
How will your future customers know you exist if you are not even visible? So that's the first thing to do: make yourself visible, make yourself known to your prospects. How do you do that?
First, there's LinkedIn. I mention it first because it is known to be the professional social network. So, recruiters or professionals looking for their future collaborator go on it to look for the rare pearl.
Then there's Instagram. I think for web designers, it's one of the best places to show off your expertise and creativity.
I don't need to tell you about the others either: Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter... They are all equally effective. Of course, you don't have to sign up for all of them. Start with the one that makes you feel most comfortable, and that you are already familiar with.
Registering on the networks is already a big step, especially if you've never been there before. But I'm sorry to say that it is by no means enough! Again, how will your prospects get to know you if you stay in the shadows, even if you are on social networks?
As it is a "social" network, you have to try to "socialize" yourself, to create a community, a network. This is not easy, but it is not that complicated 😉
Start with easy steps: follow people, comment on them, like their posts... And in return, other people will follow you back, and that's it, you have your first community. Now you need to take it to the next level: create your own posts, and do it regularly.
It's not just any post. They have to be targeted and relevant so that your target is interested enough. Then, and only then, you start to be visible.
Another way to get known is to create your own website. However, you must be aware that this requires a lot of work: the choice of domain name, all the studies to be carried out before the creation of the site, the natural referencing work...
The principle is the same as for social networks: you must animate your site regularly, if it has a blog. Preferably, I would opt for a dynamic site, but nothing prevents you from creating a portfolio site.
From an SEO point of view, dynamic sites are more privileged.
How do you liven up a site? By writing blog posts regularly, for example.😏
Here is another very effective method: BUILD A SALES TUNNEL
A sales tunnel is about converting a prospect into a customer. It takes a lot of work to achieve this, but at least it's more reassuring than cold email prospecting - I'll explain it a little later, at the end of this article.
In addition, if you follow the tips I'm about to give you, you can be sure to reap good results over time.
So the first thing to do is to offer something that interests them in exchange for their contact information (their email, for example). Since you are supposed to know your target well, you know what would attract them:
The list is not exhaustive. In any case, the goal is to show them that you have mastered what you do, that you are an expert in the field.
The form to be filled out also plays a role in this. It should be simple, attractive and original. Go straight to the point, i.e., ask for their email and first name. Don't ask for their phone number, address, etc. It will scare them away.
You will have to use specific tools for this collection of mails. Mailchimp is a very good example. You just have to integrate it on the relevant part of your site. By the way, I recently showed you some very useful very useful webflow embed that you can insert on your webflow site.
Now that you have obtained the emails of your future customers, the work of conversion begins in earnest. You will try to build a relationship with your audience, by sending them regular interesting emails. Every time you publish a new blog post, you can also inform them. From time to time, offering them gifts (free content, ebooks, etc.) would also be a good idea!
However you go about it, your mission is to build trust between you and your audience. After all, if they've agreed to give you their email, that means they'll be waiting to hear from you.
Here are some techniques I find effective for communicating with your subscriber list:
Even if you manage to get 1 or 2 customers by this method, don't forget that you have to keep your audience loyal, by continuing to send regular emails.
To succeed here, you need to know your prospects: what are their problems, their expectations, the issues they face? Those who want to have a precise answer decide to create a survey or a poll, and share it with potential customers. Others, on the other hand, prefer to rely on the data they already have. Let's say you already have a website connected to Google Analytics. A ton of information about your visitors is already there. With a little bit of analysis and research, you will eventually find some relevant information.
Once you know your prospects better, you can then tailor your services to their real needs and blockages.
When you publish posts on social networks or articles on your blog, you will have more chances to arouse their curiosity. Each post has a purpose, and therefore, a specific topic to address. Obviously, these publications are related to your services.
Be careful! The post must have a real added value. Don't just throw a post out there. Spontaneity is interesting, but not always. I suggest you do this: one post = one solution for your prospects.
They should not perceive your publications as a service proposal, but rather as a solution.
I'm coming back to blog posts in particular. Publishing regularly is already interesting, but it is only effective if the article in question is longer than 500 words. The longer your article is, the more you can easily spread out on a particular subject, and the more you manage to prove that you are really an expert in your field. You will easily gain the trust of your potential customers.
As they see your posts, they'll come to trust you.
At the same time, when you are active on social networks and forums, commenting other people who write an interesting post about web design, take the opportunity to share your opinion. Make sure you write a relevant review, so that people notice you, but above all, trust you, your expertise.
I told you about Instagram earlier. I think this social network is a very nice tool for webdesigners. We share only visuals. Why not create original visuals, and share them? This way, your future clients will already be able to see your level.
To top it all off, whatever method you use, focus on quality! It's your image that's at stake. So imagine what your customers will say if your publication, blog posts or comments are full of spelling mistakes?
The only way to prove your expertise is to create a portfolio. It is a medium in which you gather all your professional achievements. You can also exhibit somewhere, in this same medium you share:
In short, everything you think is important for clients to know. Don't overdo it though, or you'll devalue the examples of projects you've already done.
Don't hesitate to reserve a whole page for your portfolio, on your website. If you don't have a website yet, that's okay. There are other platforms dedicated to portfolio presentation.
Will all your projects have to be included in this portfolio?
No, that would be useless. Only take the ones that make you feel particularly proud. The ones that make you feel good about yourself. The way you present each achievement should also be done with tact. Remember, your goal is to convince the customer.
As they browse your page, they should think: wow, this is well done. It's not bad at all! It's impressive... He mustn't remain impassive under any circumstances.
Also, if you've done a lot of sites in the past, but want to specialize in a niche, this is the time. Show only the types of projects you would like to continue working on.
Showing all of your work is a bad idea, especially if you've already done a lot of it. Potential clients will only see the bad ones, said a design professional.
However, if you are a beginner, it's another matter.
In fact, you might be asking yourself: what will I put in my portfolio? Well, during your training (self-taught or not), you must have done some exercises. Not to mention your website (if you already have one).
Then, optimize your portfolio as best you can. Unfortunately, very few people are doing this right now. They just display images. But clients need reassurance. They need more details about each project you present. Remember, your goal is to close a deal!
So, to optimize the portfolio, you have to explain the why of the how.
The first question you need to ask yourself is: who do you want to sell your services to? We have already seen this step at the very beginning of this article. So, go back to the characteristics of your ideal client. Then, do your research and make a list (business leaders who don't have a website yet, in a certain field, for example; or an entrepreneur who already has a website, but it needs to be redesigned...).
Once you have that list, let's get to prospecting! We focused on hot prospecting earlier (when I told you to get visible on social media, on your website...). Now we're going to focus on cold calling. You will have to contact a prospect who may never have heard of your services. This is precisely where you need to know how to sell your webdesigner services.
You will then say to yourself that you are a webdesigner, but not a salesman. Which is not wrong.
But if you really want to make a living from your job, and quickly, you have to know how to sell!
However, no one is born a salesperson. There are still many chances for you to become a good salesperson.
The secret? It's not to sell your services (contradictory, no?).
Indeed,...You'll be selling solutions instead !
Instead of falling into the common mistake of talking only about your product, talk mostly about your customer, his problems, his needs... Make him feel that you are interested in him before you are interested in yourself and your services.
In the end, you'll be able to sell him a solution, not a service.
By the way, this technique is also recommended for hot prospecting. "You" should not be the main topic of discussion. You focus on the prospect's problems, and then offer a solution.
Here's a technique for doing so: get to the point.
Whether you are talking to your future client by e-mail, telephone, video conference or face to face, you should know that he or she does not necessarily have much time to devote to you. That's why it's important to be well prepared before each meeting.
Get ready to talk about the essentials. Again, don't waste time bragging about your services. Only explain the basics: his problems and possible solutions. Nothing more. If they have questions, good for you. And it's a good sign. It proves that he is interested in your services.
Now that you are visible, inspire confidence, have succeeded in proving your skills, know how to sell yourself, does that mean it's over? That by following this path, you are sure to find webdesign clients?
Not at all. In fact, all the webdesigners reading this article currently have more or less the same skills (if they followed my advice). All this, to tell you that you have to stand out. Don't melt into the mass of web designers.
As I often say, this is a job with a future. It's obvious that many people are diving into it. So if you don't have anything original to offer, you may not find your clients easily.
Here's what I suggest: specialize in a niche. Everyone is unique. You are too. You have your own taste and, more importantly, your own style. Try to showcase that style. When people see something you've done, they should immediately know who did it. It's not about producing the same sites. On the contrary, it is possible to be original and have your own style. It's up to you to use your creativity!
Also, having an additional skill related to web design is an asset for web designers. When I talk about it, it's SEO that comes to mind. What good is a beautiful site if it is never visited, simply because its SEO is not well worked? Marketing is another very interesting aspect if you want to add something to your skills. Some web designers even specialize in web development.
Fortunately for us (and for those who do 2 with codes), Webflow is there! By the way, you know very well that I specialize in creating design websites on Webflow.
In short, marketing, SEO, web development... are only proposals, but only you know what you really want and what your target probably needs.
Anyway, don't make the mistake of abandoning your web design skills. Improve them continuously. Especially since the web world is constantly evolving. You risk losing clients if you don't keep training.
It is therefore important to do a technology watch. This consists in following very closely the news related to your field (and thus, to webdesign). You can for example subscribe to blogs specialized in webdesign. Or follow these blogs or other influential people in the field on social networks. You are sure not to miss anything in this case.
Finding webdesign clients is a real job. Not only do you have to be visible to your future clients, but as this was not enough, you will have to gain their trust. You will also have to try to prove your true values.
But this method only brings in clients in the long term. Maybe you want short-term results? In that case, try to master selling. Indeed, as a web designer, you sell services. But if you've been following along, you'll see that I've approached this from a different angle: you don't sell services, you sell solutions.
Finally, whatever method you choose, you will have to stand out from your other web designers. You're probably as good as them, but there's one thing that makes you stand out from them. And this thing, it's up to you to define it.