How to market yourself as a freelance designer: 7 top tips

Want to be your own boss? Then you need to put yourself out there. Here's how.

In the busy freelance world, how do you make yourself stand out from the pack and attract those clients you've always dreamed of having on your books? Here we've outlined a few of the basics to help you get started...

01. Find a USP

Market yourself

Juri Zaech specialises in typography, as a quick glance at his portfolio makes obvious: www.juri-zaech.com

Before you get yourself out there and flaunt your design skills, first and foremost it's important that you understand exactly what you have to offer. Finding a trait that differs you from others in the industry can help make you stand out in what is often a very saturated market.

Once you've nailed that, tailor your design portfolio accordingly. Also consider creating a distinctive logo design for yourself and splashing it across all your branded social media pages.

02. Be a big fish in a small pond

Knowing which type of client or specific industry that you'd like to attract will also help you create a much more targeted marketing strategy when understanding how to pitch yourself online and where to look for new business. Do your unique skills lend themselves to a certain sector, for instance, or have you designed work for a number of similar clients that you can use to target their competitors?

Finding a niche can also help you build up your name quickly and, hopefully, lead to more work.

03. Start blogging

Market yourself

Designer and illustrator Keenan Cummings posts about works in progress at http://blog.keenancummings.com

Setting up a blog and updating it regularly with snippets about your projects, industry views and a little of the personal stuff will all help you to maximise your online presence and give you a voice within the industry. Check out our tips on how to create a design blog and take inspiration from this selection of great Tumblr blogs.

04. Network online

Contacts are perhaps your biggest asset as a one man bad, regardless of whether you're looking to market yourself online or offline. Open networks such as Twitter provide the perfect platform for you to engage in conversations with the wider design world and build relationships with your peers and potential clients.

Social networks also serve as a platform for you to show off your expertise and gain some recognition. By sharing interesting and useful content with others, you can become an important voice in your industry and a designer in demand. Read our tips on how designers can make the most of social media to learn more.

05. Use online marketing tools

Market yourself

Use MailChimp to send mailshots to prospective clients

There are so many free marketing tools out there, ready and waiting for you to take advantage of. As well as social networks and blogging, there's also a huge opportunity to grab some attention with the use of a good email marketing strategy.

With a database of email addresses from existing clients and a prominent link on your blog to attract new website visitors, you can send out a monthly or quarterly newsletter to keep people up to date with your latest projects. MailChimp is a really great and easy tool to help get you get started with your email marketing.

06. Seek out client referrals

And finally, if you've had an amazing experience with one of your clients, get them to shout about it! Don't be shy to ask your most satisfied clients for a few words on their experience working with you and the process overall, and make sure you publicise across all your digital channels. You never know, your last satisfied client might lead to your next project win.

07. Network offline

Meeting other designers at industry events like Generate is a great way to get useful contacts

Offline networking at industry events, conferences or even social meet-ups with other designers or agencies can also help get your name out there and provide opportunities to put your business card in the hands of potential clients. Make sure you connect with your new contacts online afterwards so that you can continue the conversation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Natalie Brandweiner is a writer and social media expert, and is currently digital content marketer.