When I first started Design Theory, it was in 2008. I remember my first client like it was yesterday. Yea, it was a client from hell. I’m being honest. Instead of backing down, I made self assessments and made sure to learn from mistakes and vulnerabilities right out of the gate. The ironic thing about that first client is that I never ended up doing something in that industry to date.
Target Tip #1 – Gathering more information on a clients industry. This is probably a basic marketing 1o1 tactic, but since I didn’t go to school for marketing, I learned it in the real world. Each client that you have is probably in business for a completely different industry than your other clients. One of our “theories” is to take time to understand our client and their business as if we work with them. We ask about your business, what makes your products special, understand your pricing models and workflow. Essentially we try to look at it the way you look at it, and then use that to offer great ideas to create or improve your website.
Target Tip #2 – Identifying the industries you understand best. If going through your portfolio you realize you have a few sites or designs that all are from a specific industry like models, industrial, real estate, etc; look for some similarities. Are the layouts similar? Are the fonts close in likeness? Is the content familiar? Chances are you have a good idea of this business. Maybe good enough that you could start your own business in it. That’s a good thing because it shows you really grasp the economics of the industry. So take that knowledge and create a package that speaks to prospective clients of that industry. Visualize yourself pitching them a sale, and use your experience and portfolio as your reputation.
Target Tip #3 – Use Linked In. At once considered the #2 social network, Linked In is still a powerhouse of networking opportunities for freelancers and job seekers. Chances are you may have a connect that is or directly connected to some franchise owners. Get a referral connection or reach out to them if you’re already connected and ask for a meeting. They’ll be a little less reluctant to talk to you if you’re somewhat familiar to them or have a warm introduction from a mutual friend or connection. Same rules apply here as in the second tip; express how familiar you are with their industry and tell them how you’d like to take their business to the next level of service. Do some homework and see if their website is on par with their parent company or other franchise owners. Nab this one, and you can go after the other franchise owners too. If you approach it the right way and deliver all that you promised, there’s no reason why you can’t have a large percentage of that franchise as your client.
Target Tip #4 – Rinse and Repeat. I don’t know that you’ll ever exhaust an industry dry, but in case you get bored or want to try something else, go back through all of your work and find another popular industry you’ve been working with and modify all of your marketing materials to speak to this new industry. The good thing is that you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Your first efforts can be redefined or “remixed” and be just as effective.
Target Tip #5 – Think big. At the risk of sounding cliché “You never know until you try.” It’s true. All you need is confidence in your work and a good number of clients who honestly appreciate your level of service. If you don’t have a marketing agent, hire one. Don’t have the right printed marketing materials, design them and get them printed professionally. Do your homework on the businesses you want to target and expose their weak points. Chances are they know them, so it won’t come as a surprise, but the fact that you noticed it will resonate on an appealing level for them in considering you for business. Shake some tall trees in your community and bid for their business.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it is to implement these tips in the month of June. I’d love to hear back from you on your progress in the comments below.