7 steps to landing dream clients
“I want to work with you and I don’t care how much you charge”
Ever happened to you? Unless a dream counts, it hasn’t happened to us either, but we are getting closer; in the past 2 years we have gone from begging for work (work that we didn’t even particularly want) to creating dream work for dream clients who will happily pay us to do so.
We are designers not marketers, which means, we had no idea what we were doing when it came to attracting clients, but after a bit of a zig and a zag, we found a process that worked. If you are struggling to attract dream clients without loosing your dignity, then pull up a chair and get ready to learn from our mistakes…
Setting up for success.
Build a brand that is a reputable and professional. Before you can even begin to attract the right people, you need to have a website to sell your business. If a client/customer is going to give you their $$$, they are going to want to check you out, and when they do, you need to make sure they see a reputation that can back their claims (make sure your site is easy to understand, you have clear CTA (call to action), a great landing page and you are super easy to contact), don’t give them any excuse to leave!!
Your portfolio needs to show the work you want to do; when we left our full time employment we had nothing that would attract our dream clients. Why? Because it was all corporate design that had nothing to do with Betsy & Francis’ values. Our portfolio could only prove that we could design but it failed to attract the style of work or clientele that we so desperately wanted.
So what do you do if you’re in that predicament? Create passion projects! Passion projects are such a brilliant way to show the work you want to create. It will demonstrate your style, skills and passion all in one. You will start to attract clients who love that particular style, meaning you get do to what you love and actually get paid to do it, how cool is that?!
2. What is your purpose?
We are a design agency, but like every successful business, we needed a why and so do you. The why in your business is the reason you do what you do (and it can’t be about making money), here’s an example of our ‘what’ compared to our ‘why’...
Our what - An ethical design agency, specialising in Branding, Web Design and Illustration
Our why - To cultivate a business, where through creativity we can make a difference in the world by supporting businesses who want to inspire a positive change.
In an extremely busy market place, people need to decide which brands to pay attention to and which to ignore; brands with a clear purpose, one that aligns with the individuals own values are more likely to stand out.
4. How do you figure out who your dream clients are?
Before you go ahead and start attracting your dream clients you need to figure out who they are; sometimes this takes trial and error, and that’s completely fine. The businesses we went for two years ago are completely different to the ones we attract today (thank goodness).
To figure out yours, you need to write down the specifics about your past clients and start to find a pattern; was it a particular niche, industry, mindset or product that they brought to you. Decide which clients made you jump up and down with excitement and which ones made you reach for the gin and you’ll soon realise who’s who.
4. Find them
Getting all creepy. Figure out where your dream clients are and go there… now! Whether you need to attend conventions, networking events or sit and trawl through google, find out where they hangout and be there, ready for them. Sooner or later they will need a service you provide and if you have been there liking, commenting and stalking them, the chances are they will think its a timely meeting (not a creep fest) and be more than happy to partner with you.
5. Getting in touch
Do not call them! Nobody likes to be called and smarmed to over the phone. Whatever you do, don’t do it! The best way for you to introduce yourself to them is either through email or if the majority of your clientele is on Instagram, like ours, then DM is by far the best way to do it. You won’t end up in junk, and the potential client has a quick and easy way to look at your work, click through to your website and do their research on you without too much effort.
DM has gotten us so many clients, especially because we appeal to people with the same values as us, which usually means we have the same style and taste and can hit it off straight away, this usually leads to a phone call and then fingers crossed, business.
6. Referrals - (PURE GOLD!)
This is without a doubt the best way to land more dream clients. The dreamy clients you have just done a fab job for can’t wait to shout your name from the rooftops. Think of it like trying to find that perfect hair dresser; one that understands your needs, doesn’t overcharge, doesn’t do a crap job, has great banter and chilled wine, hard to find, right? Same for design and pretty much everything else. I’m sure you know of many terrible businesses out there, so when your client has found a good one, you can be sure they will spread the word and do all they can to keep you going. Think of this as the best free marketing you can ever get, build a fanbase of past clients and they will bring back an even bigger crowd all excited to work with you.
7. Cast your net wide
If Instagram disappeared tomorrow would your business disappear too? If the answer is yes, then you need to get your business on as many platforms as possible. You need to be easy to find, basically, you need to be single and ready to mingle.
Some great examples:
Podcasts (host or guest)
The more you get yourself out there, the more people know about you and the more likely you are to attract your dream clients.
Example: You have started your own business. Would you be more successful if you just used 1 platform well or if you spent a little longer and got your business out there across various platforms by signing up to relevant forums, sending out newsletters, hosting a podcast, starting a Youtube channel, recording Instagram live Q&A’s, attending special events, talks and networking events?
“There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.”
– SIR RICHARD BRANSON
As soon as we started to follow our own advice, we began to see results almost immediately. These steps can be applied to any business, they will help you to build a brand that attracts the right people and always makes sure you are getting the most out of your business whilst doing something you love.
Notes to take away
Your business needs a reason why it exists
Show the work you want to create.
Make a list of your dream clients and approach them
Have a professional website
Get your name out there on as many platforms as possible.