How to Promote Your Graphic Design Business

Make sure the world is aware of your excellent skills

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You can promote a graphic design business in many ways. Some of them are more time-consuming than others, but if you want to grow your business you should commit to spending at least a couple of hours per week on these marketing techniques, even after you have as much business as you need.

Many of the methods listed below are inexpensive or free and can lead to increased exposure for your business and new clients.

After a trial period, determine which methods work best for you and stick to the one or two that bring you the most business.

Get Your Credit Line on Graphic Design Projects

There's no better way to promote your skills than letting your work speak for itself. When your credit line appears with the work you do, you can more quickly spread the word about your services. In many cases, your clients would pass on your contact info in case of an inquiry, but you can skip that step and guarantee people can get in touch with you when your credit line is listed. Always ask clients if granting you a credit line is possible, and make this agreement part of your written contract.

Design a Business Card

As a designer, you can promote your work while you promote your business with a beautifully designed business card. You'll want to include your logo, pertinent contact information, and a few words about your areas of expertise. Make sure the text doesn't get lost in the design, but also make sure the design is noticeable enough to get attention.

Always take business cards to networking functions. And, because you never know where you're going to meet your next client, also carry them with you wherever you go.

Encourage Referrals

Referrals from trusted contacts are one of the most effective ways to land more clients. Therefore, it's incredibly important to do good work and make a great impression. But, don't expect clients to automatically email 20 people to tell them about their experience with you. Instead, find ways to encourage them to do so. For example:

  • Include in your email signature a line that reads something like, "I love referrals! Do you know anyone who could use my services?"
  • Make it known (via email, your website, on Facebook, etc.) that you offer gift cards (to Amazon, Target, Starbucks, or another popular company) to people who send you referrals.

You don't have to spend a lot of money on the gift cards; even $15 lets people know how much you appreciate them.

  • At the end of each project (or a couple of times per year if you do business with a client regularly), send a note to your clients thanking them for their business, asking if there's anything you could improve, and asking if they know anyone who could use your services.

Promote Yourself on Social Media

Social media is yet another tool where you can promote your services. Platforms like Instagram, which are highly visual in nature, may be particularly useful. Each platform has its own set of rules, so do some research before you hop online. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Instagram

Instagram is a photo-based social media site, which is perfect for graphic designers. Create a business account separate from your personal one. Then, make sure you know who your target audience is. While your craft and sharing photos online are both creative endeavors, be more left-brained about your Instagram strategy. Make sure you know what you're trying to achieve, and how to measure success. As with all social media, create a winning profile, and post with the right frequency for your followers.

Twitter

Twitter is a powerful and widely used networking tool that's very popular among designers and web professionals. Your handle (name on Twitter), profile design, and tweets can help you become recognized as a top design professional and drive people to your other online assets, including your website or portfolio. Show your commitment to the craft by promoting the work of other designers, and commenting on your own areas of expertise. Twitter is also a great place to show off your most recent designs.

Facebook

Facebook is most often thought of as a social tool for friends and family to share photos, videos, and thoughts. However, it's also a powerful business tool. With so many people using the platform, promoting and advertising on Facebook makes complete sense for many types of businesses. The key is to make your posts as entertaining as everything else users are seeing. To do so, be creative about what you post. For example, how about a caption contest for your latest design? Or a behind-the-scenes look at how you come up with your concepts? Experiment with different strategies to find some that work well for you.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business networking website that allows professionals to connect and help each other. Unlike many other networking tools that were originally built for socializing, LinkedIn is specifically for business networking and therefore an obvious choice as a tool to market yourself as a graphic designer. LinkedIn is especially helpful for researching new clients. Do searches for the types of companies you want to work with and find appropriate contacts to approach directly. With LinkedIn, steer away from the human interest angle that you would use on Facebook, and focus more on the business value you can bring.

Maintain a Graphic Design Blog

There are many benefits to writing your own graphic design blog. Writing a blog can build a community around your website, promote your business, and establish you as an expert in the field (see the next section for more on this). As with the other suggestions in this article, do your research before delving into a blog. Those who do it regularly may make it look easy, but it actually takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Here are some basic tips:

  • Identify your audience. Who will read your blog? Other designers? Potential clients? Make sure you know who you're writing for.
  • Get organized. Create a high-level message for your blog, and make sure each post fits into it.
  • Find the right platform. There are many technology tools to help you blog. Find one that fits your needs.
  • Make a schedule. Blogs that aren't updated aren't read. Be sure to keep yours fresh by maintaining a regular posting schedule that readers can rely on.
  • Welcome visitors. Invite readers to comment, and make sure to comment back.

Position Yourself as an Expert

Having a well-read blog is one way to position yourself as an expert in the graphic design field. Getting interviewed by others is another; online interviews will expose your business to a larger audience and drive traffic to your website. Don't be afraid to reach out to other bloggers or influencers to ask if they'd like to interview you, especially if you've recently completed an innovative project, promoted someone within your agency, or won an award. There are many other ways to position yourself as an expert, including writing a book and doing presentations.

It can be a lot of work, but once you become seen as an expert, you become a go-to person for advice and business.