A Few Choice Marketing Ideas for Designers on Their Way Up

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Even though I began as an avid designer, I soon came to love the marketing side of my profession as much as the design work itself.

Marketing offers tremendous opportunities to be creative. While the design of picture roller blinds, logos, magazines and corporate design guidelines is a great creative output the strategy and rewards from marketing are exciting.

To provide examples from my personal tools for creating awareness for my services, here are five select ideas to serve as marketing focal points: talk, write, film, disrupt and when the going gets tough, the tough pull a stunt.

If your interest has been piqued than join me as we explore some fun, practical and above all insanely profitable marketing methods. If you feel like some or all of these points could be applicable to your business, feel free to steal.

1. Talk

Make a connection with the local business groups that hold your valuable customers. Suggest that you make an appearance at forums and conferences to bring valuable branding advice to promote small businesses. You will find there are plenty ready to listen to you, although not too many of your colleagues will be looking to you for their design needs and don’t have significant value to your bottom line.

Furthermore, you will be understandably enthused and ecstatic when you do land your first speaking engagement, but keep a level head. You will need to speak from your deep passion for business promotion and effective designs you if you want to inspire a future arrangement. Just be yourself, if you are not the exuberant type don’t worry, just deliver the facts as best you can. Nothing sells like confidence and authenticity when promising to provide results.

2. Write

Establish an online presence. If you don’t already have a blog on your site, this would be a good time to get one up and running. One of the best sources I have found for great blog topics come from the very questions I receive from my clients and prospective clients. Don’t get too far into the technicalities and intricacies of your complex business, provide bite-sized servings that your clients will find valuable.

Make sure the focus is on providing your clients with solutions to the needs they have. Some prime examples include common branding issues, pointers for creating a company logo, how to ensure your branded website will get the attention it needs and there is plenty more.

Of course, attracting traffic to your blog is another trick to its self. While you are waiting for that to happen, expedite the process by borrowing visitors from other audiences as well. Find sites where your clients are hanging out and looking for information on their work. Don’t try posting on your competitors’ site, but if you took over a guest blog with the website for your local chamber of commerce your online prominence will grow. You could be the next resident authority on all things design related

3. Film

Film video tutorials and guides. If you aren’t the type that likes having your face published far and wide you aren’t alone. But, if you consider all the advantages that come with this exposure, as I have, you too will change your mind. I introduced my own series on how to get a website up and running completely for free. Today, it has become my single highest sales-converting resource and the returns on investment are considerable.

Don’t worry about hiring the entire team of Hollywood technicians and screen writers, make this a small production. You don’t even need a costly camera, although investing in a suitable lamp for getting the lighting on point is not a bad idea. The point of the exercise is to create quality engaging content in the form of videos that can be featured on your website. The same videos that will also be disseminated on YouTube and Vimeo to further your online presence.

Make sure your videos aren’t all about you and what the client can expect from your first-rate services, make it useful to them. Valuable content for your users includes something they want and need to know. You can provide insights on selecting the right designer for your business or how to build logo that precisely captures their company’s spirit.

4. Disrupt

The following idea is not for the faint of heart. When I used “we just ditched your developer” as part of a marketing message for my Web 123 program, I knew there was going to be some hurt feelings in the developer sector, but that’s ok. I’m not taking stabs at developers and never would, some of my finest clients and business associates are developers. The idea behind the message was to set us apart and also present our single minded proposition (SMP). It also explains what we do in pretty simple terms.

Naturally, this is not going to make my service more popular in the developer industry, but, for the most part, my customer pools was never replete with developers anyway. My ProPartner Program was created for designers looking to build fast effective websites that can begin turning profits – and aside from the occasional death threats in HTML, it’s been working like a charm. Just kidding, of course!  

5. Pull a stunt

Desperate times call for more drastic measures for sure. Social media marketing and online publicity is all well and good, but if you lack the technical skill and resources to hire and expert what to do? This is when you will need to think out of the box and come up with all kinds of digital or better yet non-digital ways of getting that attention you need.  This could be an event of spectacle that grabs people’s attention and also displays your skill in your field.