August 1, 2021

How to get design clients (outside of Instagram)

Kei Maye

Many of you reading this may be feeling a little drained or overwhelmed with all things Instagram right now. Feeling like you have to show up on Instagram every day, post reels and content all the time or risk losing followers and engagement can add weight to what already feels like a pressure cooker.

While it can't be denied that Instagram has been a lifeline for many, it also can't be denied that many people are becoming increasingly exhausted by all the changes, features and the need to 'keep up.'

You just want clients. You want to make a living through your creative practice and you want to know how to get those clients on board to make that happen - you just don't want to have to spend all your time on IG or FB to make this happen.

This post will provide some tips on how to boost your visibility and build trust without necessarily having to spend an entire lifetime on Instagram.

Create downloadable content that adds value to your client.

What advice or tips could you provide to potential clients looking for a designer like you?

Think about the kind of questions they may ask themselves when sourcing artists or designers for a project. What kind of concerns do they have? What kind of queries do you receive on a regular basis?

Use this information to create downloadable lead-in magnets or content and attach it to a mailing list.

Heads up (make sure to notify those who download any free content about their being added to a mailing list with clear ways to opt out.)

Put on your own art or design exhibits (virtual or in real life)

Group up with other creators to host an exhibit, or if you want - go it alone, although collective exhibits are a great way to increase visibility and attract clients for all involved as each persons individual communities will be accessible.

You can host publicly accessible virtual exhibits for free or £10 a month on platforms such as:

Get cosy on other platforms like Pinterest & Linkedin

In light of recent outages, now more than ever - people are realising the importance of diversifying outlets and communication methods.

The Dots is a great place to connect, as is LinkedIn and Pinterest (which is actually a search engine.) It may also be a shout to consider elements of PR (although admittedly, that isn't an area I know much about - PRFORTHEPEOPLE are a great resource for this.)

Mailing lists as mentioned on a previous slide is also an amazing way to generate warm leads and connect with potential clients.

Boosting SEO on your portfolio websites.

Boosting your SEO (search engine optimisation) means to make your website more visible on relevant Google searches.

Look up key words, phrases or questions you can relate to with your products, services and content. Investigate the kind of things people are commonly searching for in relation to your field and include these keywords and phrases on your websites.

A great way to do this is through blog posts, project descriptions and alt text on image descriptions.

Make sure all the dots are connected.

If you've got 'designer' in your bio, people want to see designs on your platform.

If they have to go digging to find your content they are likely to go elsewhere. We are a nation of impatient people and want to see things instantly.

Your work related pages and appearances need to do what it says on the tin - so if you've got nothing but images of you and your (very) cute doggies on your freelance profiles, there will be a huge disconnect, making it harder to build trust and authority.