Let’s face it – you could be the best designer in the world. You could be working day and night, creating the most stunning presentations, websites or user interfaces; but if you don’t promote yourself, none of that matters. Your work will only speak for itself if you give it a voice by promoting it.
In the age of online marketing and social media, you need to build your reputation if you want to have any success. In this article, we’ll be looking at ways in which you can promote yourself to gain new clients and make yourself known.
Build and Perfect a Portfolio Website
You won’t be able to gain new clients if they can’t see your work. Your online portfolio is your business card, so it has to look accordingly – keep it simple, don’t overstuff it with information and showcase your work.
The best thing about a portfolio website is that you can curate and control what you show to the world – choose only your best work and write some study cases for the most complex projects.
Additionally, you can promote this online portfolio using ads or social media posts. Keep everyone updated on your work and push it whenever possible. There’s no such thing as over-promoting, so feel free to let everyone know that you’ve got a killer portfolio.
Start a Blog
This could be a great addition to your portfolio website. A blog is a great way to keep in touch with your audience while using it as a funnel for your social media traffic. You can also use it as a mini-portfolio where you can update your followers on your newest work.
In time, this blog can also become a great SEO tool, if optimized properly. You will have to do minimal keyword research to see what your potential clients are looking for and build your blog articles around those queries.
Collect Reviews and Testimonials
You don’t have to do all the promotional heavy lifting by yourself. Most artists and web designers get the fastest growth when other people are helping to build their reputation.
Dedicate an entire section of your website to testimonials and customer reviews. Ask them to write a few words on the experience they’ve had with you while illustrating the strongest assets.
This will act as social proof from third parties, which is almost as effective as a marketing campaign. Your new prospects will feel at ease knowing that other people had a great experience with you, and they won’t hesitate to hire you.
This might seem easier said than done but one of the best ways to improve your reputation and gain visibility is to be featured in relevant publications.
It doesn’t have to be an impossible task – you can start small and scale up as you build trust. You can start by writing small paragraphs about yourself and submitting them to local magazines and niche publications.
Once you get featured in one of these, you can start adding more features to your work and credentials so you can be published in bigger, national and even international works. This will be a huge help for your reputation and will attract bigger and better projects.
Networking is key when you want to establish a strong personal and professional brand. You should always look for opportunities to network and gain more relevant connections.
Start with your colleagues and clients and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there by going to events and meeting new people as often as you can.
However, networking doesn’t have to be limited to clients and colleagues. You can also collaborate with well-known influencers in the industry. This will give you a huge credibility boost, as well as expose you to a new segment of people.
Keep Your Social Media Updated
Your social media accounts can be a great marketing and networking tools if used properly. Post new content as often as possible, even daily if you can do that. Keep your followers active and engaged by providing them with snippets of your work or useful advice. You can even ask for their opinions from time to time, as this will help you improve your work in the long run.
An Instagram or TikTok account is especially useful if you’re a web designer. They’re heavy on the visual side, so you can surely see how they’ll help boost views and interactions on your content.
Respond Well to Criticism
When you put yourself and your work online to be seen by everyone, this will inevitably attract some criticism. Don’t let that get to you when it happens.
Be polite and considerate and most importantly, try to see if there’s anything to learn from that experience. Maybe the critique is valid and will help you improve your work.
Sometimes, there’s nothing to learn from it. And that’s fine – don’t escalate things as that will reflect poorly on yourself and your image. Ignore, block and move on.
Building a good reputation from the ground up is not an easy task. But don’t let that discourage you from finding your voice and building a strong network of people and followers.
Once word gets out about you and your accomplishments, you won’t ever need to chase clients again – your work will simply speak for itself.
Bottom line is, building a reputation is all about marketing yourself well. So the general advice here would be to just be yourself and present your best version to the world.
Be relatable and approachable and you’ll end up attracting new clients and followers like a magnet.