Being in the design industry allows you so much more marketing freedom because you are not playing with the same rules as everyone else. Your time and materials cost money (this goes without saying), but you have the ability to begin designing at the drop of a hat. You also do not have to rely as heavily on other people as you do in other industries. In most cases you are also able to put a lot more time into designing/working than you would (for example) if you ran dry-cleaners, lawyer or estate agents. The nature of your work is creative in itself, therefore it is good fortune that it leaves you free to be creative in your advertising whilst living in the greatest country on earth.
1 – Free Samples
Being in the design business is a little like being in the manufacturing industry, where your free giveaways are often of more value to your consumer than they are to you. If you are a retailer then any free samples are a loss of stock, and if you are an office based business then any free samples are an expense. If you are in the design industry then you are able to produce at such volume that free giveaways have little value to you. If your designs are not sold then they will sit in a drawer for years, to the point where giving them away free would not really have affected you negatively in any way.
Just like a manufacturing company, you are also able to give away samples that simply wet your customer’s appetite instead of quenching their thirst. Let’s say a company wants some graphic design for their office stationary, but are unsure of what style to take. You could give them 100 free business cards that have the graphic design style which you think suits their business perfectly. The business cards mean that they are going to look at your design for longer than if you just send a PDF attachment on an email, and the cost is negligible when you compare it to the far larger contract you are likely to pick up as a result.
2 – Rent a section on someone else’s newsletter
Instead of adding adverts to other people’s newsletters, why not rent a section of it each week. It need not be a large section, but every week you could rent 100 words and a bit of image space. You could add in thoughts for the day, designing tips or industry advice. The images and anchor text would link to your website, and you could even add a call to action inside it if you wish.
3 – Ask your customers for permission to email them in return for an instant discount
Many companies ask a user for permission to email them, but few of them offer a financial incentive at the checkout. As a designer you are more likely to have a more loyal customer base and a smaller customer base than an ecommerce shop. Therefore, you should offer an instant discount at the checkout if the use allows you to email them with marketing information. Doing this will benefit the customer because they get an unexpected discount, it will benefit you because you get the opportunity to email your clients with marketing messages, and it helps you to remain within the law concerning SPAM mail.
4 – Run adverts showing what life would be without your design company
If you are in a creative field then it is your duty to show people your creativity, and what better way to show it than by showing the world what life would be like without you. Here is an example of the advert you could run:
If you design patterns for shirts then you could show a street full of busy people, all wearing a plain white shirt. You can make the image a cartoon if you cannot afford to pay a group of people. Your tag line could be, “A world without … Shirt patterns.” Better still you could add an image of a shirt design in the corner of the advert, making sure it is bright and colorful to contrast against the bigger picture full of people in white shirts.
5 – Run a comic cartoon on a regular basis with your name and website in the last square
There is no need to stick with conventional advertising. Whenever a person sees a newspaper or website, he/she always reads the funny section. You can go one better and have people read your funny section and then see your website advertised at the end of it. People are going to read the funny section no matter what they think or feel, so you may as well get your name on it.
6 – Run a question and answer marketing system on your social media profile
People are going to be curious about what you do, how you do it, and why they should buy from you (or even care). If you set up a question and answer system then you’ll not only get an interaction with your potential customers, you will also expose them to record of answers. Users can look through your previous questions and answers (your record of conversations/timeline) and pick out the answers to the questions they may have.
7 – Run an exposé on your own industry and company
It doesn’t have to be “60 minutes” but the truth is that the general public knows very little about various industries, and there is bound to be something you expose that people do not know. It happens all the time, such as how people do not know that Worcester sauce is made from anchovies, or how politicians have to spend 70% of their time in their office because their job is mostly paperwork and administrative.
8 – Offer referral incentives
As a designer your stock is your designs, and your customer base consists of people who like your designs. People are not buying your product because they have a basic need, or even a commercial desire. People are buying your designs (specifically you) because they like your designs. This “Like” will be enough to cause a lot of people to refer to you their friends anyway, but if you can offer some incentive then it gives them a lot more reason to get actually push through and do it. The great thing is that the more loyal the customer is then the more likely they will take you up on your incentives for referrals.
9 – Hold design surgeries where people needing advice can come
As a designer you are an expert in your own creativity. There may be many other designers in the world, but only you are able to create in your specific manner. Whether your manner and your designs are any good is a matter of opinion, but your creations may only be created by you. Therefore, if people like your work and want to know more then you can tell them with design surgeries. Not only are you helping to satisfy the curiosity of others, you are showing off your work and cementing the idea that you are an expert.
10 – Answer the questions and comments of others on other sites and refer them to your site
There are things such as Yahoo answers and innumerate blogs that have questions and answers that you can participate within. Answer the comments and questions of others on alternative domains and refer them back to your website and services wherever possible (check to see if you are allowed though).
Promotion is very important in business; following the 10 guidelines mentioned on promoting your freelancer business will surely bring more interested costumers that will hire a freelancer.