10 Promotional Tips for Web Designers and Developers

Tara Hornor
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As a web designer, developer, or graphic designer (or maybe you are all of these rolled into one), you have to deal with clients, new technology, and growing your business. Often, once one project is complete, you’d better have the next one lined up or that rent check might bounce!

Instead of spinning your wheels and wasting your time scrambling for another new project, here are some tips for accelerating your promotional plan. There are a million ways to promote the right way, but there are just as many wrong ways, if not more. The following are just a few solid promotion methods that you can start with today, which is always a good time to start. Once you get these marketing techniques rolling, you can then move on to bigger, more intensive tasks.

Tip #1: Tweet Often

So, you’ve already set up a Twitter account for your business…great. Now make good use of it. Try to tweet consistently about recent projects, and let your followers know when you update your portfolio. The same goes for other sites like Facebook. Social networking is a great way to promote your business, but only if you use it consistently.

Tip #2: Use Words – Keywords, That Is

As a web designer, you specialize in smooth graphics and aesthetic appeal. But it’s also important to include plenty of significant keywords that lead clients to your website. Make sure that you have enough pages on your site for a search engine to effectively help clients find what they’re looking for. Use a blog on your site to write keyword-centric articles, like “How to find a totally awesome web designer!” Or any similar topic relevant to your target client base could work too.

Tip #3: Go Mobile

If you have the resources, consider setting up a mobile version of your website. Enabling simplified, streamlined access to your site on a smartphone or other mobile device could be the difference that transforms a potential client into a paying customer. Setting up a mobile site might require significant resources, but in many cases, it’s worth the investment. I like using WordPress and a mobile theme switcher. With a little tweaking, you can make the site look pretty darn good.

Tip #4: Make Maps Work For You

Websites like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing all have map functions that flag locations based on business type. By submitting your information to Google Maps, for example, your business can be included in these local search results—a great way to connect with clients in your area. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have a formal business space. Most clients won’t care. They’re just looking for solid talent.

Tip #5: Compete

You know you have the skills to succeed in the world of web designing and developing. All you need is a chance to prove yourself. While you’re waiting to build up a solid list of clientele, take the initiative to enter your work in a web design competition like the American Design Awards. It’s a great opportunity to hone your talent and perhaps gain some recognition in the process.

Tip #6: Hang Out Online

Make your presence known online by posting on web design blogs or forums. Swap questions and advice or just be funny. Obviously, you don’t want to give away all the tricks of the trade, but by engaging with other aspiring web designers (and linking to your website in your signature), you’ll soon build up a network of online friends who will be happy to support your business.

Tip #7: Branch Out

Another way to let others know about your talents in web designing and developing is to publish articles in online or local magazines. Whether you write a tutorial on one specific aspect of web design, or offer general advice to aspiring web designers, getting published will earn you more name recognition while helping you make a little extra on the side.

Tip #8: Cut A Deal

Win new clients by offering special promotions or discounts. Consider offering a percentage discount during the holiday season, or post a message on your website, Facebook page, or Twitter account that offers free consultations to the first 15 people who comment on the post. Taking a small risk up front often pays off in the end.

Tip #9: Do A Good Turn

Partner with a non-partisan charity by offering your services for free. Not only will you be able to help out a good cause that you care about, you’ll also be showcasing your talent and building a positive reputation in the web designing community.

Tip #10: Say Thanks

Even in the 21st century world of web design, sometimes old-fashioned manners are best: don’t forget to send a thank-you note to new clients, associates who have referred your work, or anyone else who deserves your thanks. Go the extra mile and write a hand-written note. Your good manners will help you stand out even more in your market.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your business?

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  • http://www.okaycool.com Colin Frost

    While I agree with most of these I do take issue with offering a discount.

    That always leads down a dark road with web design that I recommend people don’t travel. The ones jumping on deals/asking for pricing to be cinched back are the worst clients.

    Your work should merit clients on its own, if you’re going to have to dangle 15% off, you’ll hate life.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/117883511520701899763?rel=author Tara Hornor

      You may be right about this. I do not offer discounts very often, but now that I think about it, I’d say about half of the clients I obtain with discounts for the services I offer turn out to be great. The other half follow your predicted pattern. So, those who don’t want to even chance having clients who are always looking for cheap or free work probably should avoid this practice.

  • http://www.didoart.net Diana

    Definitely highlights the basic do’s! There can never be enough emphasis on how important frequent activity is online. This is something so many, including myself, struggle to keep up. I’d also add in there to get comfortable talking about what you do with new people you meet. Join activity and/or networking groups, extend your network outside of the office to keep word of mouth just as active as online promotion.

  • http://www.ingenious.com.au Jenny Cox

    Oh dear. I tell clients many of these ideas but haven’t gotten around to to doing it all for myself! Thanks for the nudge and the great suggestions.
    Hmm, I’d better update my online portfolio too….

  • http://www.morces.com Mobile website builder

    I would like to add on to tip #3.

    Building a mobile site is rather a tedious project especially when a company does not have a strong technical support team. Outsourcing can also be expensive for a small project like this.

    However, to meet up with the rising mobile consumers’ demand, it becomes mandatory to own one. Hence, I recommend the use of many available free mobile site builder such as Morces to you.

    You can build your mobile site in simple steps and you can go mobile in a couple of seconds.

  • http://kyokasuigetsu25.wordpress.com/ Wern Ancheta

    Thanks for the tips! I’ll make sure to follow those. I just want to add a few things though. Helping out people at Stackoverflow, hosting your projects at Github and creating a Facebook page, since everybody is on Facebook these days.

  • http://store.princeoliver.com Prince Oliver Store

    Nice collection of do’s :D

    Let’s not forget to blog often about your favorite niche…whether it’s front-end, back-end or seo.

    This is going to bring highly convertable traffic at your front-door!

    Many thanks!