Let’s face it: marketing is a necessary evil for business growth. And when it comes to design, the barrier to entry can be low, which means there are more designers competing in the market space than you might think. So how do you stand out from the crowd and make your mark? The answer is simple:
Multiple strategies! We are not saying that pursuing seven avenues at once will work (that would be incredibly difficult and time-consuming), but having a diverse range of strategies can go a long way in terms of getting your name out there and branding yourself. With that in mind, here are seven less-than-obvious marketing strategies for designers:
Marketing Strategy #1: Get Yourself on Industry Lists
Industry lists are not as difficult as they seem. In fact, all you really need to do is find a list that makes sense for your business and figure out how you can get on it. For instance, “top interior designers” probably wouldn’t be right for you unless the name of your company happens to also be “Interior Design.” But if you are in some other related industry like technology or photography, then you might want to pursue getting yourself on lists like these instead.
Marketing Strategy #2: Create an Informative Newsletter
By creating an informative newsletter with content that people actually want to read (and by sending it out on a regular basis), you will establish yourself as an authority in the design space and build relationships with clients and prospects. What exactly should you write about? Anything that’s interesting to design professionals! For example, if your business focuses on sustainable design or recycling, then you can share relevant articles on the topic with your subscribers. A newsletter is a great way to start building connections and sharing value.
Marketing Strategy #3: Offer Free Services
Designers are typically known for being very skilled at what they do, so it makes sense that offering free services to build up their portfolios or impress current clients would be an effective marketing strategy. But there are some caveats here… For instance, it is not advisable to offer free services in lieu of payment unless you really know who this client is (i.e., have worked with them before) AND are certain that the exposure from this project will be worth their brand associating itself with yours.
Marketing Strategy #4: Get Active on Social Media
Social media is a powerful marketing tool for just about any industry, from event planning to organic produce–and yes, design too! Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are great for connecting with potential clients as well as other creatives. So how can you use these platforms to your advantage? It can be as simple as posting pictures of the work you create or answering questions on Quota. Video marketing is a powerful tool, so make sure you upload live-action videography on your YouTube channel! This will help you build your brand and grow your business by connecting with customers on a different level.
Marketing Strategy #5: Create Partnerships with Other Businesses
Have you ever noticed those weird-looking ads on websites where it looks like the logo of a store is taking over the entire page, and it’s kind of hard to tell what’s going on? These are typically known as “shared space” ads, and they are a great way to get noticed if you have the budget for them. The way it works is you pay X amount of dollars per month for your logo to be on display throughout their website or magazine–basically, anywhere people are browsing/reading at any given time.
Marketing Strategy #6: Promote Yourself Through the Web
This may sound very self-explanatory, but it’s actually not. There are a lot of ways to promote yourself online through your website and even your social media profiles–both are great places to link back to previous work you’ve done or projects you’re currently working on. But what about other websites? The best way to get the word out about your design business is by submitting guest posts that contain links back to your site or just simply writing blog entries for others in your industry (and then including links in those too).
Marketing Strategy #7: Use Social Media Ads
As previously mentioned, social media is a powerful tool that you can use to promote your business. One way to achieve this is by using social media ads, some of which are more affordable than others. Keep in mind that it may take some time and trial-and-error before you figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to social media ads.
It’s clear that there are many strategies you can put into place to help your design business succeed. The best part is most of these marketing strategies don’t require a large budget–just some creativity and thoughtfulness on your end!