So you are a freelance designer. Or perhaps you own a small, solo design studio. One of your key business activities is to draw in new clients, and let's face it, there is no reason to make that any harder for ourselves! Each new client will be looking for specific things when they are considering designers for their projects but 6 of the most common things new clients look for include:
1. AN EXAMPLE OF YOUR WORK
Your potential clients what to see your portfolio. They want to see what you have done in the past and compare it against their own brand and the styles they like. This is essentially the main way that new clients judge if they want to work with you. They are constantly asking themselves if your styles match theirs and your portfolio is the best way for them to comfortably make that decision. Display your work in a clear and concise way on your website and be open to answering questions!
2. YOUR BRANDING AND WEBSITE
Your own branding and website is one of the main (and most easily accessible) ways for a potential client to judge if they want to work with you. This happens subconsciously before they even click on your 'Services' page or before they email you. If they don't feel connected with your brand they won't be contacting you. And worse, if you aren't putting the effort into your own web and social media presence and branding, then how do you expect them to trust you to put the effort in for their project?
3. TESTIMONIALS AND REVIEWS
Nothing builds trust quite like the words of other people! It's proven that word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing method, even when the feedback is coming from a perfect stranger! Testimonials work the same way. Ask clients for feedback when you finish a project and don't forget to ask permission to share their testimonial on your website and social media. The visual presence increases the trust too, so if possible, always include a photo of the person you're quoting.
I include testimonials on my website in two places: on a testimonial page and on my homepage using the Testimonial Rotator plugin.
4. PROCESS AND DELIVERABLES
Be clear on the process that you will be taking new clients through and what to expect at each stage. Consider the different phases of your project and make this explicit on your website, including what the deliverables are. Consider what file types your client will receive; if they are receiving a mood board and brand board. Outlining the deliverables and how they will be delivered not only builds confidence for you client but will also help you with your workflow as a standard process will be established.
5. WHO HAVE YOU WORKED WITH BEFORE
A lot of clients will ask who you have worked with before them and what kinds of businesses you have designed for. They are making an investment when they sign on with you, so your clients want to make sure they are signing on with someone that understands the market they are operating in. Being transparent about the people you have worked with previously and the scope of business you have worked with too will help to build trust with potential clients.
6. YOUR PERSONALITY
Your clients want to get to know you and what you are like. Ultimately, if you give this person a good feeling and they feel connected to who you are, then they will feel more comfortable investing with you and are more likely to purchase your products and engage your services. Ensure that your brand highlights who you are and how you operate and this will help potential clients to determine if you are a person that they'd like to work with. This is not only vital for your clients - you need to make sure your personality is compatible with the client too. Taking the time to have a Skype meeting or a lengthy email discussion can save incompatibility headaches in the long run!
Some designers are afraid of displaying too much of themselves to potential clients, for fear that they won't match the clients style or expectations. The beauty of taking these steps to be transparent about who you are, what you offer and produce and how, is that you will only be attracting the right clients for you. Think about it, you can only gain more of the right people by providing all the information that a new client needs to make the decision if they want to work with you. So in the end, everyone wins!
How would you like a free new client audit worksheet to help clear your head about this stuff! Get clarity with the Freelance Designer New Client Audit sheet that will ask you questions and prompt you to consider how you can improve your situation when potential clients consider you as their next designer!