You have the skills, tools, workplace, and your portfolio all completed and now want the world to know how awesome of a designer you are. And the best way to accomplish that is by promoting your talents through the following ways:
Find Your Niche
Since there are a number of different areas involved with graphic design, you need to be aware of which industry and field your skills will work best – which you’ve probably already decided upon when you learned a specification. For example, if your skills are geared to advertising and publishing, you wouldn’t want to market yourself as a front end web designer. This is important because when you’ve narrowed down your niche, you can begin to target online forums, websites, and influencers in your specialization to help spread your name.
Speaking of networking, you want to make the use of social media platforms, forums, and even participate in question and answer site like Quora. When you engage and interact with others online you’re building a relationship with influencers and potential clients.
For example, you can show off your latest piece of creative on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to give others a glimpse of your talents. You could use LinkedIn to share your resume and converse with clients.
Send Out Emails
When you first start out, you’ll want to email all of your contacts to let them know that you’re a designer and you’re available for work – we’ll go more into this in a minute. You could also cold email clients by searching for the businesses you would like to work. You may not always get a response, but it is a simple way in getting your name out.
You’ll also want to have website visitors leave their email addresses so that you can begin to build an extensive email list – you could also add to the list by entering the email addresses of people you meet offline as well. By using a tool like MailChimp you can quickly send out a monthly newsletter that keeps people updated on your latest projects.
Referrals are more than just informing your current contacts, like friends and family, that you’re a designer and are willing to help them with an upcoming projects, referrals could mean having previous clients spread the world about your awesome work to their network.
Maybe that law firm who just hired you to design their website loved your work so much that they let their accountants know about you.
Attend Offline Events
Besides networking online, you also need to get out there and so some networking in the real-word. You could start by attending networking events hosted by industry events like the Ad Club, AIGA, or How To Design Live . You should also attend events through your local Chamber of Commerce or Business Association to network with clients in your area who could use your services. And, you could always leave your card behind no matter where you go – maybe that restaurant owner always wanted a new logo and they now have your business card.
No matter where you network, always remember to follow-up with your new contact to keep the conversation alive.
Become an Expert
Whether it’s writing a daily blog on your website, guest blogging on an established site, answering questions on Quora, or hosting a webinar/workshop, one of the most effective ways in getting you name out there is to prove to others that you have the knowledge and skills to be a successful designer.
Work on a Project for Free
For a designer who just launched their own business, one of the best ways to gain recognize is by giving away your talents for free. Let’s say that you’re a web designer. You could design the website for your friend’s online bar supply shop for nothing. You could even do some good and offer your services to a local non-profit.
Besides reaching a new audience and gaining referrals, these projects can add to your portfolio.