Target Your Niche
Your first task is to decide what sort of clients you want. Do you have experience with eCommerce and want to specialise in the design of eCommerce websites? Do you prefer designing corporate, creative, local or international websites? There are thousands of web design agencies to compete with so it’s crucial to decide on a niche audience to target. Your interests and experience may inform your choice, but also research areas where there may be a gap in the market.
Your Website is Your Showcase
Obvious, but often overlooked, it is the first thing a potential client will see. It needs to be high quality, current and user friendly rather than being overcomplicated in a bid to demonstrate every web design trick you know. Include a contact page and spell-check all of your content!
Develop A Portfolio
Consider how best to display your portfolio on your website. Consider categorising work by year to demonstrate how your style has developed over time or by website type such as eCommerce, review, or blog. Include screen shots of your work, a link to each site and a few words about the most important or interesting aspects of the design. Potential clients can have a close look at your work whilst having their attention drawn to the most innovative elements. Invest in a tablet computer so you can take your portfolio to meetings with potential clients. A well-presented hard copy is fine, but does not allow such close examination of your work.
Proactively seek new clients
Utilise your contacts to find out who needs a new website. Interact on Twitter and LinkedIn or approach local businesses direct. Get some business cards printed with your website, logo and contact details and keep them with you at all times. Talk to people about what you do! Add a link to your website and your logo onto sites you have designed. Get creative with how you seek out clients.
People love to feel they are getting something for free. An interesting and useful blog is a great way to provide free information to potential customers. You can also include freebies such as consultations, hosting, downloads, templates and extra features when clients purchase a web design package. Promote discounts and offers across social media sites to generate interest or even run your own competition! Encourage people to spread the word by implementing a referral scheme that gives clients discounts or freebies.
Optimise To Capitalise!
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is important for making your website visible to target customers. Competition for general web design keywords is very high and difficult to rank well for. Go back to who your target customers are and try to make your website visible to them by launching an SEO campaign using keywords more specific to them. Choose keywords that emphasise the unique elements of your agency. See your SEO campaigns as an opportunity to demonstrate your skills with on-site optimisation too!