No matter how long you’ve been in business, you’ll likely reach a point where you’re in search of more clients. You could be completely new and in search of your first client – or, maybe you’ve just lost a few long-term clients in your already successful business. Either way, finding those new, steady clients can provide the consistent income all business owners seek.
The good news is that there are lots of places you can find new web design clients – some just take more effort than others. I’m here to share some of the best methods from my own experience, to help you find the right strategy for your business.
8 Ways to Get More Web Design Clients
1. Prioritize Your Marketing
As simple as it may sound, the most important thing you can do to earn more web design clients is commit to your marketing plan, since that’s how they’ll find your services. Many web designers (and other creatives) put marketing at the bottom of their to-do lists. Anytime there’s an urgent deadline or pressing client issue, marketing gets pushed to the side.
Marketing should be just as important as client work. Make it part of your weekly schedule – choose a day and time to work on an aspect of your plan each week. If you’re not sure where to start, you should use that time for researching and creating a plan. No marketing task is too big or small to schedule into your week.
2. Adjust Your Foundations
There are a couple of common traps that you might fall into as a web designer when you first start that can affect your client base over time. The first is choosing a niche. Perhaps you started out working with anyone and everyone to get your name out there and gain experience. Eventually, you need to niche down.
It might seem counterintuitive since, by choosing a niche, you are effectively saying no to prospective clients outside of your chosen industry or category. However, having a niche allows you to be an expert and people want to work with the best of the best – not a jack of all trades. Plus, it can also make it easier to work faster, enabling you to take on more clients and earn more money.
The other snag you might hit as a web designer relates to your pricing. If you charge hourly, you’re likely missing out on money because you limit your income to the number of hours you work. When you charge by the project, you can earn more by working faster and more efficiently.
You can also draw in more customers by offering packages. Some clients may stop in the buying process because your prices don’t match what they’re prepared to pay. By offering a 3-tiered system, your clients can choose an option that fits their budget. You can charge more with the medium and high-level packages by including additional features like more subpages, enhanced statistics, and more.
3. Request Referrals
Although it might seem basic, asking for referrals is one of the easiest and fastest ways to gain more clients. Your existing and past clients have networks full of people who could use your services.
If you’ve done great work that excites the client (whether you’re in the middle or at the end of the project), leverage that enthusiasm. Express how much you value their feedback – then let them know that you’d appreciate it if they want to share your business with their professional network.
You can also maintain a referral system by keeping in touch with those you’ve worked with. Of course, every client may not be the most lucrative source of referrals, so be selective. Identify your most influential clients, then keep communication flowing. Not sure what to say? Just send a quick check-in and let them know about your own business updates every few months.
4. Improve Your Website’s SEO
As a web designer, you likely feel the pressure to have a perfect website. It can be tempting to agonize over every detail, which then takes time away from actually finding clients. Instead, it’s far more productive to have a clean, simple website and spend that time working on your SEO (search engine optimization).
When you improve your SEO, you boost organic traffic to your site. SEO uses over 200 factors set by Google. That’s a wide range of elements, but there are five that matter most:
- Website speed: Google won’t show people a website that takes a long time to load. Your website’s hosting platform, plugins, file sizes, coding, and traffic volume can all impact speed, so work on optimizing these areas.
- Mobile usability: Over half of all worldwide internet traffic comes from cell phones, and that number is rising. Google’s algorithm favors websites that provide a seamless experience on desktop and mobile.
- Readability: Websites that use big sans serif or bold serif fonts are easier to read and tend to rank higher. Likewise, well-structured website copy with heading tags is more likely to earn Google’s favor.
- Alt tags: Google returns images for about 25% of all searches. When you properly utilize image alt tags, you show up in more people’s searches. Google prefers alt tags that are complete sentences and describe the image.
- Image file names: You can include SEO keywords in your image file names to boost SEO. These names tell Google what the image shows, so Google sends more people who are searching that term to your website.
5. Submit Proposals
A fast, proactive way to get clients is to submit proposals. Even if you don’t have any prospective clients to send proposals to, there are websites where you can send a pitch to cold leads who are looking to hire. In fact, lots of businesses post RFPs (Requests for Proposals) online when they aren’t sure where to find a good web designer.
You can find these job opportunities on dedicated RFP sites. The RFP Database (RFPDB) is a free site where you can search RFPs for website development across multiple industries. There are also paid databases that charge a monthly subscription fee for guaranteed high-quality leads, like RFPMART and FindRFP.
6. Improve Your Payment System
These days, many clients prefer to use certain payment methods to pay for services. Pay.com lets you accept a wide variety of payment methods, so your clients can pay however they feel most comfortable.
When you log into your Pay Dashboard, you can create Pay Links to send to your clients via email or text message. When a client clicks the link, they’ll be taken to a personalized checkout page where they can select their preferred payment method and pay for your services right away.
Plus, Pay.com has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, which is the highest level of security. As an added layer of protection, the system tokenizes all credit card details in transit, so the numbers themselves are never stored on our servers.
7. Start a Blog
Once you’ve got the straightforward aspects of marketing down, you might move on to a more long-term strategy. Having a blog allows you to zero in on SEO keywords, which can help you rank higher in Google searches and drive organic traffic to your site.
There are several ways to get keywords. You can use Google Keyword Planner for free. Inside, you can search for words related to your business, then choose the related terms that have the highest search volume with the lowest amount of competition. You can also use sites that do more of the work for you but charge a fee, like SEMRush.
You can also use your blog to reinforce yourself as an expert in your chosen niche. Use this space to discuss the topics your ideal client is searching for. As you spend time addressing the pain points they’re facing in terms of web design, you’ll build an audience of potential clients.
8. Grow an Email List
Although time intensive, growing your email list and sending out regular check-ins can bring you the most lucrative leads. Businesses depend on email communication, so this is the best way to reach them and ensure they see your message. Plus, unlike social media, you don’t have to engage every day. Instead, you can send a monthly email and maintain visibility with prospective clients.
You can invite people to opt into your email list via your website, but the best way to gain a following is to offer a valuable piece of content. This could be an industry report or a self-guided website audit. Whatever you choose, create a simple digital download or email course that they can get only when they sign up for your email list.
Then, send out regular emails to your list. You might include updates on your business like new offerings, or industry insights into your niche. Eventually, your monthly emails will find clients right when they need your services, and they’ll reach out to you.
What's the Best Way to Accept Payments as a Web Designer?
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to improve your client base is to ensure there’s no friction at checkout. When your clients decide it’s time to purchase your services, it has to be easy and secure. This is exactly why Pay.com offers such a wide variety of payment methods – we never want you to miss out on some business because you can’t accept a certain credit type of card.
Pay.com also makes security a top priority. With tokenized credit card details in transit, Level 1 PCI DSS compliance, and a seamless checkout experience, your clients will feel safe and comfortable checking out with our payment system.
The Bottom Line: How Should You Market Yourself as a Web Designer?
Whether you’ve been in operation for five months or five years, marketing yourself and finding clients is an ongoing part of owning a web design business.
Once you have your foundational components down, like niche and packages, you can focus on bigger-picture marketing. Spend time each week on your SEO, referral system, blog, and email list, and you’ll soon have a list of clients waiting to work with you.
Of course, having an easy-to-use payment system is a key step to making sure you don’t lose those clients once it’s time to check out.
Pay.com makes the process easy from start to finish. Your clients will get a seamless payment experience and have their pick of payment methods. You can even send a payment request directly to your client via email or text, so the payment process is fast and painless for both you and the customer. Click here to get started now!