There is so much competition on the Internet, that it might be a little harder than it seems to find people to follow your work. That’s okay though, there are steps you can take to turn your business around and build a following that will increase your sales and get people talking, sharing, and absolutely loving your work. Today we will take a look at how you can grow your audience as a designer. You know your work is good, so should everyone else.
In any business, to be the best, you need to think you’re the best. Now, I’m not saying to go shouting from rooftops that your stick-figure is better than the next guys, but what you do need to do is believe in your product. People are attracted to businesses that give off an overall feeling of confidence, it makes people think that you know what you’re doing.
But even if know what you’re doing, you need to make sure that your audience and clientele realizes that you are familiar with the line of work that you’ve chosen. Before job interviews, your loved ones have probably always told you to not be nervous, and to just be confident. That’s true in the design community too.
If you talk to clients like you’re afraid, they won’t want to hire you and will just move on the next guy. Don’t get left in the dark for being shy, communicate effectively and leave your comfort aside! Some tips on this: make sure you breathe, I know that sounds a little silly, but when we get nervous, we tend to lock up. Make sure that you sit up straight when you’re talking to clients, even if it is over a VoIP.
One of the first things you should do to expand your audience is starting a blog. Not only should you start a blog, but you should also write on other people’s blogs. Beyond that, try to submit articles to freelance design websites, and start developing a small following. The more you write about what you do, what you represent and who you are as a person, the more people will begin to connect with you.
The more information that you share about your personal life, the more your audience will grow because they are seeing the face behind all the art. If you choose to talk about your experiences in design, both the good and the bad, more people will become curious. As you build curiosity, you will expand your customer base, and your overall audience as a whole.
Writing is vital to your success as a designer. Never saw that one coming, huh? Believe it or not, the is the most cost-effective form of advertising you can do as well, since the Internet is virtually free.
Always remember that at the end of the day, we are all human beings. Be real with people and they will be real with you.
Get involved in various design communities across the web. I’m not suggesting to overload yourself with every single forum or social networking website, but try to find the most relevant and activity community. Aim to connect with other designers on Quora, Reddit, Dribbble, Twitter, Facebook, and DesignerNews. Share your knowledge and show people you know your stuff.
Try to contribute to the design community at large by providing freebies people can use in their projects. This act of kindness is highly valued and actually makes the life of others easier. You can also share case studies. Show and tell people how you design, why you do it the way you do it, and share valuable insights that other designers will find useful.
Keep in Contact
This is one of the main struggles you must face. When building your audience, you’ll experience various conventions and collect dozens of business cards/e-mail addresses. You must from time to time reach out to people and try to stay in contact with them.
What was the point of collecting contact information, if you’re not going to use it? Try to reach out to people you have met, who were very interested in your work and wanted to talk about what you were doing professionally. It’s a wonderful way to build industry contacts and your audience all at once.
Give that professional, confident impression you need to build an audience and don’t be afraid to reach out, or keep in contact with people who you’ve met through various times in your profession career. Ensuring positive relationships with past clients is important as well. Even if they don’t have more work for you, see how they are doing, wish them well. This type of personal connection is all too rare, help bring it back!