I designed this business card with a clean, minimalist concept. This card is designed to be use without having a custom logo but still convey a brand for design.
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Self-marketing for freelance designers is very important. Although you might undoubtedly be great at what you do, in the freelance business, skills is not enough. Competing in today’s economy can be rough, it almost seems like they’re 100 designers for every 1 client willing to hire.
Instead of competing by show casing talent, the key to surviving in this market is not necessarily who has the better skills but who has done the better marketing. As a freelance designer you are not just the talent, you are the company. Very often you’re in charge of every detail of your business, since you’re the company you need to learn to wear many hats; boss, secretary, talent, and marketing manager. Marketing can seem intimidating, and tedious, but it is very viable to the success of your business.
Most of us as designers want to just concentrate on designing, but those of us who do should consider working for a company full time. For the rest of us who wants the reward of being self-employed should understand this demands hard work and dedication.
If you’re not willing to be persistent, and consistent, you have already failed. Self-marketing for freelance designers is a task that needs to be performed daily. Although there is no easy way out, thanks to the internet much of these task has become simplified. In this article I will list a few tips to assist in this intricate area of the business.
Post, share, and participate on as many of the popular social networks as possible. Search the internet for contents relevant to your field, re-post snippets and links to your social networks. You can save time, and subscribe to RSS feeds through Google Reader so new posts are gathered in one place instead of having to visit individual websites to check for updates.
You can also setup an excel or regular text file and save the links to all the relevant sites you visited or that was gathered by RSS. Using social tools like HootSuite, TweetDeck, TweetAdder, etc. you can setup an automated system to post these links to your favorite networks to share with your friends and followers.
This will engage your social audience, and in return if your audience likes your post they will re-post/re-tweet it. This is good for when you’re ready to post relevant info of your own to drive people to your site. The idea is to gain your social audience by providing relevant content but not to seem like a spammer by posting only links to your site.
Check other blogs for relevant articles, leave relevant comments on articles/posts that you find interesting, and whenever possible leave a link back to your own blog.
Provide good advice to forum members, and provide lots, and lots of intelligent posts. Follow good forum ethics, don’t spam, don’t troll, etc. Remember to link your site in your signature to drive some traffic back to your site. This will also help your reputation as an authority in your field.
Utilize a newsletter system, this is also a feature can be added to your CMS/Blogger driven website through means of pluggins or you can use an online system like MailChimp. Many of these system composes your new contents into small snippets with read-more links back to your site.
You can also go the traditional way via manual email, sending out emails to your email list alerting your contacts of your latest post updates.
Postcards. Occasionally, it’s a nice gesture to drop contacts a simple postcard. A handwritten note goes a long way and they can hang it up if they like the design. Postcards are also an effective way to let agencies and potential clients know that you’ve updated your portfolio or website.
Create your own contents, set aside a day of the week to write your own relevant, and unique contents. Try to do this on a consistent basis, you can get a weeks’ worth of blogging done in a day. I try not to write more than a week worth of content at a time in order to keep my content fresh and up-to-date. Schedule your content to auto post, most of the popular CMS/Blogger engines like WordPress and Joomla are capable to doing this. Don’t forget to check on your post to reply to you viewers comments, and re-post your links to your social networks.
Writing good tutorials as part of your regular article syndication will drive traffic and build inbound links to your website. If these articles are consistent and written well enough you will establish yourself as an authority on the subject. Keep your articles unique, relevant, and useful.
If you have good quality work you can try submitting them to various publications. All publication needs content, and love quality content they don’t have to pay for. Search online for “Calls for Entry” and Submissions, find editors and submissions contact information, follow the publication’s criteria, and submit. Chances are your work may get rejected, but don’t get discourage. Just keep your eyes out, and keep submitting, if you get published, the amount of exposure is huge!
Nothing beats getting something awesome for free, an easy way to lure fans/and potential clients in is offering free premium products/services. This is also a great way to get links back to your site.
Business cards, Brochures, Flyers, Websites, Brush Sets, Fonts, etc.; design premium quality products and post the project files up on your blog for free download. Don’t forget to post the links up on your social networks and watch the traffic grow, this is a great way to get links back to your site, and even new leads to potential clients.
If you are a web designer offer free hosting for every 1st time client meeting, the goal is to get that initial meeting. From here you put on the sale man cap, a free 1, 2, or 3 months hosting may translate to a very long term client as it is very annoying for clients to switch hosting once everything is setup.
Free consulting give potential customers 30-60 minutes of your time for free. Try not to push a sale on them, just give them your expert assessment feedback, whatever. Leave them with your business card and notes from the conversation on a letterhead with your business info, and be on your way. This will show the client what you’re capable of doing for them, making them so happy they didn’t even have to pay for the excellent consulting they feel almost obligated to hire you as a way to pay you back for your time you gave them.
Free stickers EVERYWHERE, relatively cheap, and easy to place and can be everywhere you want them to be. Pass some out to everyone you know and have them put them up as well.
Customer of the Month vouchers – Design some nice coupons you can print out (use a business card printer as they’re perfect size for people to carry around) and allow them to use it for a discount or pass them out to others so their friends/family can get the discount.
Place your advertising vinyl on your car, after all you’re a designer. What better way to show your skills than designing an awesome looking advertising design for your business, and at the same time show potential clients what you’re capable of. Not only is this inexpensive, but you get to advertise wherever you go. You’ll be surprise on just how many potential clients you’ll get just approaching you with questions about their projects.
You want to make sure the clients sees your services as valuable as what you’re willing to charge… you wouldn’t spend on a Toyota what you would on a Jaguar, right? So here are some check list on making sure you come across to your client as a Jaguar not a Toyota.
Services: It should be clear to clients on what your services are. No easier way to lose potential clients on your site than them not being able to simply understand what can you do for them. Once a visitor land on your page they should easily be able to figure out what it is you offer, and how to navigate easily to find the information they need.
Clients like to see dependability, how often do you backup their website that you’re hosting, how often are the security updated? Do you make backups of projects files? Etc.
Pricing is important and in itself a great marketing strategy, if a Jaguar cost as much as a Toyota would people see the same value in it? What I’m saying is this research your market, find out the market rates for your services. Research who is charging what, and why, and what are others offering with their services. An agency might be able to charge a medium average rate because of its man power, but might also only offer generic cookie cut packages. As a one man company you can offer a more personal attention to your customers and their projects, and offer a more tailored service. This can even justify charging a little more than the going market rates, making you the Jaguar.
Be careful because less people drive Jaguars than Toyota’s so choose what service you want to offer but I wouldn’t recommend giving out Jag’s for the price of Toyota’s They are more invested in a Jaguar service so it takes up more of your time, on the other hand a Toyota service may take less of your time so you can serve more clients. You can experiment with your fees as demands are raise, increase your price, if jobs slow at a certain rate, you’ve outstripped your market rate and should adjust accordingly.
Do you have a strong online presence through a site and online portfolio to reach internet-based customers? Do you have a print portfolio on hand to reach more traditional customers who want to see your work in person? Who is your ideal customer? Have you reached out to them and made your services known?
Your logo is the face so to speak of your business, it what people sees and may remember when they look at your business card, print advertising, online social networks, and most importantly the online hub to your business, your website.
Your logo should be unique, timeless, legible, and easy to read and at the same time applies to your business. Do not, I repeat, do not over do your design. No fancy multicolored effects, shadowing, reflections, etc. Your logo must be able to translate easily on any canvas, paper, glass, metal, plastic etc. and must be scalable.
You can take examples from a lot of the mega successful companies like Apple, Nike, Starbucks, NBA, FedEx, etc. They’re all deceptively simple, but translate well on shopping bags, signs, websites, advertisements, uniforms, and on products themselves.
When designing your card, make sure to get your email and website worked into the design.
Your card must be attention-grabbing, important sounding and captivating. It should convey your position in the best light possible. And just like your logo, please don’t overdo it. You don’t want to confuse your customer by listing too much check list of your services, or what you’re capable of doing.
Stick to contact info, your title/position, and a clean readable but captivating design. Far too often I’ll see new freelancers listing too much info about services offered on a card. Remember a business an average business card is only 3.5” × 2”, not enough for an essay.
A portfolio, both print and digital can quickly sum up not just your career but also your abilities. Make sure you present your strongest work in your portfolio. Keep in mind, for a portfolio its quality not quantity.
Keep your portfolio updated, don’t forget to keep it fresh. Although you might be designing flyers, you don’t have to just add work from your current project. Doing creative work without clients’ restrictions give you the most freedom to express your creativity and what you’re really capably of.
Don’t forget to make backup and even prints of some of these work, amazing enough to showcase.
By no means is this all you need to know, but these are some of the few things that I have used myself over the years in this business.
Feel free to list your own tips in comments, or add to any I’ve already listed. Hope this serve useful.
This theme was built on the backbone of Bunker a responsive and minimal WordPress theme that is useful for creative people who want to show their work and also could be used for magazine site.
This theme is highly based on Foundation CSS by ZURB. A responsive theme, I should mention this is my first attempt at designing for WordPress. This version of Candy Cane is the first release candidate (RC), not yet version 1 but I wanted to get it out so that the community can assist with the finishing touches. *This theme is fully ready for desktop viewing, media query for mobile device needs to be tweak for full mobile support.
Please post your comments let me know what you think, or anything I can assist with. This is totally free just asking to comment and share to let me know it’s worth making more.
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Adam Everett Miller explains a few tips he have learned in this “5 Things To help you know how much to charge” video.