Marketing yourself as a freelance web designer

Freelance work gives specialists a lot of opportunities starting from individual growth in terms of experience and professionalism, and ending with great working environment, independent schedule and the lifestyle you like.

But there is a serious drawback — all freelancers have to look for clients themselves and this task requires some knowledge and skills. A lot of experienced and professional designers start freelance careers having talent and abilities in web design but not knowing thing about marketing, and this is one of the most serious problems, because absence of marketing strategy will definitely result in lack of clients, lack of work and, consequently, lack of profits.

What you need to understand now is that you’re selling yourself and your web design services, you are a brand and your activity has a lot to do with branding. This is why whether you are an experienced freelance web designer or just starting your career, it’s time for you to work out a marketing plan that will help you not only develop your web design skills, but also build your brand and a strong client network.

For some web designers freelance is just a temporary job, necessary only to fill a portfolio, in this case your marketing strategy should include creating new samples for your portfolio. This means that being a freelance web designer you need to take up as many projects as you can do, sometimes even at low prices, if you are sure that the project will be a good addition to your collection of works.

Some other freelance web designers have huge plans to start their own business, like a web design agency or studio. Therefore, what they need to take care about is a network of clients that will apply to their studio. Third type of freelancers wants to stay this way in ten years or more, because they are satisfied with the way things are. Their marketing strategy should cover the issues of preparing a basis for future price increases and skill development, as well as name recognition.

Whatever the reason why you are working as a freelance web designer, and whatever you plans for future, you need to stick to your strategy and differentiate approach according to the goals.

Branding is another thing you need to consider in freelance marketing. Although branding tactics is something we would expect from a large company, it can be equally efficient for an individual freelancer. Branding approach should considerably rely on the marketing goal of a freelance web designer. What you need to achieve, is your brand name recognition. Name recognition most usable techniques include taking part in different designer or web designer competitions and contests, blogging, publishing your works in offline magazines and web resources, various galleries and web design reviews.

Sometimes it makes sense to target on a specific market; the narrower it is the better. You can narrow it by geographical territory, budget, CMS system, type of business you want to work with etc. It’s also a good ideal to narrow your specialization that will help you to get more targeted clients.

Now that you’ve determined your strategy, you need to allocate some amount of money for advertising your freelance web designer services. Such an investment will help you maintain a consistent work load, in case if you lose some of your clients or decide to expand. There’s a large variety of ways you can advertise yourself, most beneficial ones can be targeted PPC campaigns, banner ads or paid links. There’s no big point in marketing yourself offline, because chances are people looking for web design services will mostly search online.

Remember, you need to keep the advertising even if you are working and have arrangements with clients for the nearest future. This is necessary to eliminate work downtimes, and if you can’t possibly have them, new potential clients will be a good basis for your web design service expansion. Always remember to track the results of your advertising campaign to learn which marketing methods are bringing the results and which aren’t.

The last piece of advice I’m gonna give you is to take care of your portfolio. When all your marketing strategies succeed and potential customers do come to see your works in order to make the final decision about cooperation, make sure you have good things to show them, because portfolio is meant for evaluation of your professionalism and creativity.

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