Something that a lot of new web design business owners ask is, “how can I find my first or next client fast?”
When you’re sick of your 9-5 and ready for a bit more freedom in your life, it’s easy to start thinking like this. And if you do enough Googling or ask enough people in Facebook groups, you might even start to think that finding web design clients is super easy and can be done quickly.
This is both true and untrue.
How You Can Find Your Next Web Design Client Fast
If you’re in a pinch and in desperate need of some money or a new project to fill your time, you can definitely find a client in a matter of days. Just hop on over to UpWork or comment on someone’s post in a Facebook group that is searching for a web designer.
The trick here is you have to submit a propsal that is super low so you beat out all the other 10s or 100s of people who are also bidding on that project. If you happen to bid low enough and stand out next to your competitors, you can definitely find yourself a new web design project quickly.
But do these sound like things you want?
1. To be competing against 10s or 100s of other web designers?
2. To have to submit a super low proposal to make sure you actually have a shot at landing the project?
My guess is no!
In this blog post I talk about how much I charged for my first few websites and the strategy I used to increase my prices over time. The first proposal I put out on UpWork for my first ever web design project was suuuuuper low. But I got the job! And then I realized I was making basically minimum wage to build a website.
I didn’t quit my $70k a year job to make minimum wage… and even if you weren’t or aren’t currently making $70k at your 9-5, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you definitely want to be making more than minimum wage in your web design business. (Maybe even $60+ an hour?!)
Why Long Term Marketing Strategies Are Best for Your Web Design Business
So how can you make sure you’re not competing against 10s or 100s of other web designers for new clients? How can you make sure you’re making more than minimum wage? And how can you make sure that you’re not wasting your time sending out proposals that won’t ever get accepted?
By using long term marketing strategies to bring in solid leads, nurture them, and make them reach out to you for your services.
Think about this for a minute.
You’re scrolling through Instagram and all of a sudden you see an ad for a new pair of $50 running sneakers. You click on the ad because you’ve been meaning to buy yourself a new pair and these look like something you may be interested in purchasing. After scrolling through their Instagram feed, checking out their website, and reading customer reviews (which takes all of 15 minutes) you decide to purchase a pair of shoes. Worse case scenario you return them for a refund.
Let’s replace “sneakers” with “website design” in this example.
You’re scrolling through Instagram and all of a sudden you see an ad for a new sparkly $2,000+ website. You click on the ad because you’ve been meaning to get your website redesigned and this looks like something you may be interested in purchasing. After scrolling through their Instagram feed, checking out their website, and reading customer reviews (which takes all of 15 minutes) you decide to sign on with this web designer. Worse case scenario you return the website for a refund.
^That is definitely not a real scenario. Most SOLID leads won’t sign on with you after knowing you and your business for a whole 15 minutes. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any web designers who offer a refund if a client decides they don’t like the final product.
Making high-investment purchases requires a longer nurturing period and because of that, having a lead sign on after 15 minutes of Instagram and website scrolling is like winning the lottery (not impossible but very small odds).
This is why long term marketing strategies are best. Long term marketing strategies are exactly that – marketing strategies that run for a long period of time. These strategies are meant to make people aware of you, learn more about you, and warm up to you over a longer period of time. During this time a strong relationship is built and the lead is more likely to reach out to you to sign up for your services or they’re more likely to jump on board when you run a promotion or send out an email stating your currently availability for new projects.
Examples of Long Term Marketing Strategies
Now that we know how to land a new client fast and how long term marketing strategies are actually better for your web design business, let’s talk about some long term marketing strategies I use in my business and that you should implement into yours!
Blogging + Pinterest
A great way to share your knowledge and expertise is by starting a blog on your website. By posting on a consistent schedule, your audience will begin to learn more about you, what you do, why they need a website, and start to realize whether or not you are a good fit for them (or they are a good fit for you).
But blogging isn’t enough. You can’t expect that you will write and people will find it. Overtime, if you’re optimizing your blog posts for SEO then yes, you can expect that people will find your blog organically. But in the meantime, using Pinterest and Tailwind to post your new blog posts is a great way to get your name and content in front of people who are interested.
Another way to connect even further with your audience is having them join your email list. It’s one thing for people to read your content on your blog. It’s another thing (and says a ton about their interest in you) for them to join your email list. Joining someone’s email list is even more personal; it means they want to hear even more from you.
The more content someone consumes from you, the more they learn about you. And the more they learn about you, the more likely they are to sign onto your services. But again, this is a long term strategy.
One final long term marketing strategy I use and recommend you do, too is creating a Facebook group for your business.
Before you jump to Facebook and start creating a group, I want to emphasize that this is a LOT of work. When I started my group I didn’t have a plan for what I wanted to talk about so I just didn’t say anything for quite a while. Then I tried a set schedule and felt that was too rigid. So now I just post when I feel like it, force myself to go Live once a month, and encourage group members to post inside the group, too.
If you do decide to create a Facebook Group, it’s a great way to build an even more personal relationship than your email list because you can chat back and forth in a more relaxed and easy way.
Examples of Marketing Strategies that Are a Waste of Your Time and Money as a Web Designer
Before I close out this post I want to talk a little about 3 marketing strategies I don’t recommend using unless you have a bunch of money at your disposal (which in that case, more power to ya!)
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Ads
While Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Ads work for lower priced products (and do sometimes work for higher priced products), it’s really difficult to get a stranger to purchase a $2,000+ web design package simply because they saw an ad on their newsfeed.
This strategy can end up costing you tons of money and be a complete waste if you’re not doing it strategically. What do I mean by strategically? I have run Facebook ads before to my free content library for web designers but NOT to my web design packages. If you have a freebie, running an ad to that in order to get people on your list may be beneficial to you. If you do decide to do that, I would recommend doing a ton of research first or hiring someone to do it for you because I also wasted a ton of money on my ads trying to figure out how to control the audience it was being delivered to!
If you take anything away from this post, it’s that running a web design business successfully is a long-term game. You can’t expect to start your business and land complete strangers as clients in just a couple of days. People need to learn more about you and be nurtured by you before they’re willing to fork over thousands of dollars for a new website.
This isn’t impossible though! It just means you need to use long term marketing strategies to attract solid leads and nurture them in a way that makes them want to sign on for your web design services. Try out blogging + Pinterest, creating an email list, and starting a Facebook group to get yourself started on some long term marketing strategies.