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Getting exposure for your design work is absolutely critical to building a successful business. Experience equals trust, so building your rep and doing it the right way is essential. We have outlined the following tips and tricks that will help you in building your reputation and business. Let’s dive in.

Have A High Quality Website

It may seem simple, but I have seen many newbies fail in this regard. Having a website that keeps visitors and gets people’s attention is very important. Your website is basically an extension of yourself. It’s a way to make a great first impression. If you’re going to a job interview, you’re not going to dress up like a bum…right? The same idea applies to your website.

A stylish, modern and functional website can speak volumes about your work, as well as present an image that you are capable, able, and professional. It may cost a small fee to set up, but it is definitely worth it. Would you hire web designer who does not have a website? I don’ think so. It’s kind of like a college professor teaching business, when they never actually ran their own. 

Start a Blog

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Starting a blog is a great way to attract visitors to your website. A blog can showcase your latest designs, inspirations, and thoughts. A blog has the benefit of keeping people coming back for more to stay updated on your latest musings. A blog is also a great way to build a relationship with your potential clients. If somebody agrees with your opinion or outlook on things, they will feel like they know you better.

People are far more likely to purchase something from someone they feel they know, rather than someone they have never heard of. Having a blog is a fantastic way to display your knowledge and wisdom.

Business Cards

Having business cards may seem like an unnecessary luxury. After all, why have business cards if you can just give somebody your telephone number? First, business cards rule out the possibility of a number scrawled on paper getting lost. They also represent professionalism at its best and remain one of the benchmarks to connecting with people.

For a potential employer or a potential funder, not having a business card screams unprepared! It also indicates a lack of professionalism as well as a lack of motivation to execute your business in a way that makes their one moment meeting with you memorable. Your business card may also be recalled a few months down the line.

Overall, business cards are a tried and tested way to get and keep clients. There is almost no excuse not to have them!

Guest Blogging

Having your articles on well known websites is a great way to get people to know about you without them realizing that they were even looking for you! Write a good article, or use something you previously wrote for your blog, and submit it to industry related websites. As you may have noticed, we have many guest bloggers who share their knowledge with you on a weekly basis. This is a tried and tested way to get your information out to people who may enjoy learning about what you have to offer and about your services.

Free Items

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Giving away free items is not as difficult as it sounds. You could always give away one of your designs, an e-book or almost anything that you can find online. This means that you could also give away multiple freebies throughout the year. One of the best tricks is to get website visitors to give their email, before they can download the freebie. This is a fantastic way to also build your database of potential clients.

Freebies offer the feel good sentiment that everybody needs. They also allow people to feel as though they have gained something worthy, therefore encouraging them to buy something on your website. Heck, they might just like you so much, that they will definitely buy something! If you want someone to remember your website, then having freebies is definitely the way to go!

Social Media

If you don’t have an online presence, then you can pretty much forget about your design career. It sounds harsh, but it is so true. For any business it remains essential to have a Google Plus account, Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and possibly Tumblr. If you have personal Facebook and Twitter accounts then it is highly recommended that you open one for your business.

There is really no excuse to stop you from grabbing the attention of people from all aspects of social media. What makes it even more critical is that Google is now evaluating the ranking of websites based purely on whether the website has social media links or not! If you wish to climb to the top of Google Search results, then you shouldn’t overlook social media.

When it comes to social media, it is also very important to remember that quality is always better than quantity. No one likes to be spammed, and no one likes to see irrelevant or annoying adverts on his or her news feed. You need to be able to offer people something valuable.

Newsletters

Newsletters are often underestimated in how effective they can be at capturing an audience. The great thing about a newsletter is that it allows the customer to go back at any time and read through it at their own time and leisure. In a fast paced world, this is ideal. It also allows you to present your work in a simple and eye-catching manner, as you can place images with a bit of text accompanying it.

This is a great way to do everything – from informing your potential customers of your latest designs to doing a flash sale. Of course it also gives the added benefit that at any point you stand a chance that the reader may enjoy the newsletter so much, that they are then eager to share it with a friend or family member. The main thing to remember with newsletters though is that no one likes spam. So it is a bit useless, if not over ambitious, to send them a newsletter everyday. Keep it down to once a month, and your readers will stay subscribed forever.

Have a Portfolio

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It remains absolutely critical that you have a portfolio based on your design work. The portfolio should be added to your website, and should also be available as a PDF document that can be downloaded and shared. A portfolio shows you have the experience necessary to provide quality services, as well as showing others that you can be trusted with creating the level of work that they expect. It is also shows that you have a work history and that they’re hiring someone who knows what he or she is doing. Just as a company might write a business proposal, your business proposal IS your portfolio.

Training Workshops

It may sound like an unusual way to market yourself, but providing training is an excellent way to build your reputation as an expert while you are also empowering others. It also creates another stream of income that will help along the way on the rainy days of design. Training also allows you to leverage partnerships, say with universities or companies,  which will then give you the added exposure you may need to get extra clients in the future. Training is a reliable method of showing that you have a business that cares about others, and that you are an established professional in your field.

Uphold Your Reputation

It is absolutely important to keep a good reputation. This all comes down to how you treat everyone around you, from your assistants, to your webhost, to the people who might have said something negative about you. The truth remains that bad news travels fast, and negative publicity can cause more harm to your brand than good.

It only takes one customer who never received the refund they were promised, or one person that you were rude to, to write a report about your services on a complaint site, and as you can imagine, this can cause serious harm. When someone googles your business name and finds more complaints than positive feedback, it can ruin your entire legacy in a day. Therefore keeping a friendly and positive attitude as well as giving professional service remains essential at all times!

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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