Good designers are two a penny these days, so talent alone will only get you so far. You might be the best designer in the universe, but if nobody sees the work you’re creating, then you’re going to struggle when the bills come rolling in.
So what can you do to stand out amongst the crowds of talented design folk? The answer’s simple: market yourself.
Sounds obvious, but all too often freelance designers and small design studios forget the importance of marketing. They wish on word of mouth recommendations and hope work will come knocking on their door. This isn’t going to happen!
But fear not. Promoting your work doesn’t have to be difficult. You already have a great product, your work, so let it speak for itself. All you need to do is increase its audience, read on for our tips on doing just that.
Create Beautiful, Useful Content
Before you even get the chance to try and convince potential clients that you’re the one for the job, they need to know who you are. But the whole point of becoming a designer was to make your living by designing, wasn’t it? Not worrying about marketing strategies and spending hours pouring over Google Analytics.
Well, perhaps surprisingly, one of the best ways to market yourself is to use your skills to your advantage and design something special.
All well and good, but what relevance does it have for designers? Well, you can create well-designed and useful content. This will not only show off your skills, but it will also position you and your brand as a resource in your market. Some of our favorite examples of well-designed, useful content include the Simply Business’ Small Business Guide to YouTube (pictured above) and SimpliSafe’s Digital Security Quiz (pictured below).
As you can see from these two examples, the possibilities are endless, from infographics to quizzes, microsites to images, creating beautiful content that is relevant to your potential customers encourages them to do your marketing for you.
And it doesn’t just have to be useful. People share things that make them laugh, make them cry, make them think and make their jaws drop in amazement, so get creative.
To make the most out of your content efforts, keep it timely and appropriate to the people you want to market to. Embed your logo (and a link to your site) and don’t forget social media buttons.
Develop an Effective Blogging Strategy
Marketing doesn’t have to be all strategy and statistics. It is possible to get your name and your work noticed in the design community simply by talking about your interests and current projects. Blogging is an effective way to establish yourself as an expert in your field, develop lasting relationships with your customers and useful relationships with your peers.
Write about your experiences as a designer, discuss your likes and dislikes, analyze current design trends, share helpful tools and tips, show off your work (think beautiful blog design as well as galleries) and above all, be yourself. Your blog is unique to you, and as well as demonstrating your expertise and skills, it will allow insight into who you are as a designer and what it might be like to work with you.
Getting started with blogging is simple, and there are plenty of guides available to help you find your voice and engage your audience. Do it well, like some of the examples here and it won’t be long before yours will be the name on everybody’s lips.
Submit Your Work to CSS Galleries
Another effective way of getting your work seen by as big a potential audience as possible is submitting it to CSS Galleries.
Sites that are featured on respected design galleries (like the above example) often experience a huge and sustained increase in traffic – and once your site has visitors it’s up to you to convince them to hire you.
These sites are itching to discover the next big thing in web design, and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t be you.
Remember, marketing yourself should not be an afterthought. Get creative with your efforts and you’ll soon start to see real benefits. And don’t forget, it doesn’t matter how good you are if nobody knows you exist.