Getting new clients can be a nightmare for many freelancers, especially in the design industry. With so many people offering cheap work out there, many business owners aren’t willing to pay what you’re worth. Not because they’re stingy, but because they don’t understand the value of your service.
If you want to land clients consistently, you must be strategic—you must position yourself as the solution to a real, tangible problem and prove you’re not just “another one of those.”
So, how do you stand out? How can you position your services in the marketplace and attract clients? Is there a secret way that breaks through the barriers and opens the gates to consistent cash flow?
There’s not one, but 8 ways.
In today’s article, I’ll guide you through each of them.
Let’s get straight into it.
1. Use Your Past Clients to Advertise Your Work
One of the best ways of proving what you’re worth is by showcasing what you’ve done for other people. When prospects see that you’ve already solved problems that are similar to what they’re experiencing, they’ll lower their defenses and be more open to you.
Besides, social proof is persuasive by nature. According to psychologist Robert B. Cialdini, “we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.” You can use this in your favor through client testimonials, case studies, and examples.
For instance, the web design company for the startup EarlyBird promotes their client on their own Facebook page. It’s a good way to gain goodwill with prospects and current clients while promoting your work.
Source: Agility IO
In addition to EarlyBird’s homepage example, make sure to showcase examples for blogs, landing pages, or any other page that not only look visually appealing but also have great UX. Some of your prospects might be savvy enough to understand the importance of readability, credibility, usability, and all the other UX factors.
Best Nursing Programs is also a great example:
Source: Best Nursing Programs
If you take a look at the page, you’ll notice it uses stats to back up their points, the bullet points improve readability, and the images separate each section to indicate a new university. By showcasing these kinds of examples, you’ll attract clients that really understand the value of your offer.
2. Solve a Real Problem
People don’t buy websites. Nor apps. Not even sales pages. They buy solutions to tangible problems. If you present your services as simply “web design,” your clients will see you as a commodity—and they’ll pay you accordingly.
You must ask yourself what your audience really wants. What are their real problems? And How can you solve them using your skills? By answering these questions, you’ll gain valuable insights on what makes your prospects “pull the trigger.”
Remember, they don’t want web design—they want online presence, the idea of being visible, and a way of getting clients. If you position yourself as a problem solver, someone who provides the results they’re looking for, getting clients will be much easier.
3. Pick a Niche
Have you ever heard the term “jack of all trades, master of none”? I guess you have. It’s a figure of speech that represents a person who’s tried to develop too many skills, but never focuses on something. Sadly, that’s what most web designers do. They offer their services to anyone with money. They don’t specialize, and that’s a recipe for disaster.
For example, let’s compare a general physician with a neurosurgeon. Which of them gets a higher salary, more reputation, and better quality of work? The neurosurgeon, of course. There’s less of them and, therefore, they’re in higher demand.
The same way, if you want to stand out as a freelancer, you must pick a niche and build a name around it. You must change your focus from being a generalist and becoming a specialist. It’s the best way to win in the long run.
4. Use Advertising (But Do It This Way)
This might sound a bit old-fashioned, but make no mistake. Advertising, when done right, is one of the easiest (and fastest) ways of getting new clients.
It’s like having a sports car for your business—if you want to grow faster, you just have to step on the gas (increase ad spend). So, the question is, how can you advertise the right way?
The secret lies in offering an “ethical bribe”—giving away something valuable for your audience in exchange for an opportunity to present your services.
For example, you could offer a free guide on “the four steps to hiring a web designer” and then introduce your offer at the end.
You could also simply offer a free consultation where you provide free insights to the prospect. The point is that you should structure your offer in a way that seems valuable to your audience.
Once you design your “ethical bribe”, the next step is creating an attractive ad. To speed up the process a bit, you can use an ad builder like Bannersnack. It allows you to design ads for any platform in minutes.
5. Optimize Your Website For Search Engines
One of the most common “deal breakers” for web designers is timing. Or better said, the wrong timing. If you approach a prospect who already has a website or someone who thinks his online presence isn’t a priority at the moment, closing the deal will be hard—not to say impossible.
Looking for prospects who are currently looking for your services is smarter and here’s where search engines come to the rescue.
For example, when someone heads over to Google and types “web designer in Chicago,” that person has a very specific intent—he’s much more likely to hire you than someone you contact out of the blue.
If you want more clients to find you, then making sure your website is optimized for search engines isn’t a luxury, but a necessity.
6. Leverage The Power of Video
Videos are a great way to connect with your prospects, regardless of their location. Even better, videos allow you to reach your potential clients at their specific level of awareness.
For example, you can create a video for people who visit your website for the first time and another one for repeat customers. Personalizing the experience will increase your likelihood of success.
Also, you can use corporate videos to communicate your goals, objectives and mission statement while answering standard business questions. It’s a great way of saving time while building trust with prospects.
7. Help People on Facebook Groups
Let’s say you own a hamburger stand. What would be the best way to sell the most hamburgers? Well, a starving crowd, of course. If you don’t have an audience of hungry people, no matter how good your meat is or how cheap your burgers are, you won’t sell that many.
In web design, you also need “starving” crowds of business owners who need your services. Facebook groups are great to find them.
Simply head over to Facebook, type in a keyword related to your niche (say “consulting”), select the option called “groups”, and voila! Facebook will show you dozens of groups to choose from.
Now, you shouldn’t just join these groups and start pitching your services like crazy. If you do it, you’ll get banned in less than a New York second. If you want to get results from this tactic, you must provide value—answer questions, share stories, and help people.
By becoming an active member of the community, people will start to trust you and, eventually, some of them will become valuable clients.
8. Get inspired by other markets
Landing a new business is always a hard path, so make sure to check out what other businesses are doing in other markets and get inspired by others. It’s a great strategy to find ideas that your competitors ignore, which will give you a competitive advantage.
For example, if you take a look at Excel Builders’ website, you’ll find that, to get more clients, they use a myriad of tactics, including customer reviews, online forms, examples of previous work, and many more.
Source: Excel Builders
They also put their phone number at the top of the page so that every visitor knows what to do in order to contact them and include logos from popular sites to boost credibility.
These are just a few examples of all the valuable things you can find by “spying” on brands in other markets. So, every time you buy something online, read a blog, or visit a website from a company you love, pay attention to what they’re doing. You’ll be surprised by the “golden nuggets” you find.
Ready to Become a Successful Freelance Web Designer?
Successful freelancing isn’t about getting hundreds of clients. It’s about landing the right ones—finding those people you can help the most and impact their businesses in a meaningful way.
If you focus on helping instead of just selling, you’ll skyrocket your results. And hopefully these strategies help you find people you can really help to.
The good news? You don’t have to apply all of these tips at once. Just pick one of them and apply it to your business. Start small and celebrate progress. By taking this approach, you’ll avoid procrastination and increase your likelihood of actually experiencing a change.
Alex Sloane is a freelance writer and content optimization specialist. He has worked with dozens of SaaS and B2B companies to capture more organic traffic from better content. Recently making the full-time jump to freelance work, Alex loves forming new partnerships.