Finding Your First Client
In this guide, we’ll cover a few key practices to creating a lead machine for your new web design business.
Update your contact info
Tidy up your digital business cards. While this requires a time investment, it’s well spent—these links, references, profiles, and pages draw attention to your brand and can bring in new leads. Make sure your name, email, phone number, and all URLs are updated in the following areas:
Your website’s footer, contact page, and links to social media handles
Online profiles like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, alumni directories, Google local listings, etc. Bonus: add press features and recent projects for extra impact.
Leverage social media at all project stages
Once your contact channels are up to date, turn to social media. Your posts should clearly reflect your ideal project and client types. Circle member Dominique Varendorff of Splash Web Design uses social media throughout a project’s lifecycle to promote his work and gain new leads:
“I use social media to build hype around a project I'm working on. Once the project is complete, I create a case study page on the 'Portfolio' section of our website that explains what we set out to do and how we achieved it. I promote these posts using Facebook and Instagram ads to generate new leads.”
- Dominique Varendorff of www.splashwebdesign.com.au
In addition to posting your own content, consider engaging with your peers. On your business social accounts, follow potential partners, brands you admire, and like-minded designers. Interact with their content through shares, comments, and likes. These actions can influence the social media platform’s algorithm, making your content more discoverable. Your followers become “warm” leads; they know who you are, have shown interest in your brand and will be easier to engage.
“[...] whenever someone asks if I have a card, I say, "No, actually. Are you on Instagram?" At which point I've already reached for my phone, prompting them to do the same and I elicit a friendly, face-to-face ‘follow for a follow.’ Now I've got a new follower on Instagram. I've gotten their permission to pop up every now and then on their feed. Now it’s up to THEM to reach out if they need my services.”
- Jocelyn Negron of www.jocelynnegronstudio.com
Word of mouth is key
Despite the wealth of digital marketing tools available, about 95% of respondents to a 2018 Circle Member survey* said they rely on word of mouth to get new business leads. We recommend three strategies for increasing organic marketing:
Footer features. Include your link in your client’s site footer. This is an easy way to get seen and increase your SEO through backlinks
Ask for referrals. Ask satisfied clients for names of friends or peers who might benefit from your services. This should be done after the client has settled up and you’ve fully handed over their new site.
Reward loyalty. Whether it’s 10% off their next service or a free seasonal website update, thanking your clients for referring you new business can strengthen your relationship and incentivize them to keep doing it. Consider adding a “How did you hear about me?” field to your contact form to easily track your top referrers.
Remember to thank clients for each and every referral they send your way. Maintaining your existing relationships fosters goodwill and helps to organically expand your client base.
For more, check out the community forum discussion on how other Circle members find clients that fit their brand aesthetic.
This month’s banner image was shot by Circle member and creative entrepreneur Hayley Lyla from Hong Kong. Running two businesses and active participation in the local creator community keeps Hayley busy, so she spends 15 minutes every day doing something creative with her hands. “It helps me clear my head and gets me to a calmer, happier mindset to tackle the rest of the day.”