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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

Find local design clients to grow your business.

If you want to grow your design business, your best chance is to find local design clients to work with. After all, it’s much easier to find a client among the people who know you.

Of course, as your design business grows, you’ll want to expand your reach and acquire clients farther and farther away until you have a global range, that’s the dream. But never forget where you started, because, in a pinch, your local client market is where you’ll find the most help and the most work.

When I first started my design business, all of my clients were within 20 kilometres from me. As my business grew, so did the radius of my client base. 20 kb became 100 km, then 200 km and soon it was all of Canada. Then I started acquiring clients across the USA. Now, I work with people around the globe.

But even with that wide-spanning net of clients, my closest connections and best relationships are with my local design clients in my area. And I’m not alone. Ask any successful designer, and they’ll tell you there’s something special about working with local clients.

For one thing, it’s easier. When working with distant clients, there’s so much you need to learn about them and their environment.

  • Where are they located?
  • Where are their target market located?
  • What’s their local environment like?
  • What’s their local competition like?
  • And so forth.

But with local design clients, you have the inside scoop. There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with where the client is located. If not, it’s easy for you to become familiar. You know the local environment. You know or can quickly determine their competition.

All of this “inside knowledge” of your local area gives you an advantage over designers from outside your local area.

Plus, you can sit down and talk face-to-face with local design clients, which can only deepen that oh-so-important designer-client relationship.

From a local client’s perspective, I’m sure they would prefer to work with a local designer rather than someone they can only interact with over the phone or the internet. Not to mention, most people feel good when they support local businesses.

Focusing locally is more important now than ever.

It’s now more important than ever to embrace a Shop Local mentality. COVID-19 has taken its toll on businesses everywhere. I’m sure your local economy took a hit. Nobody knows how long this will go on, but as companies start opening up again, it’s essential to support them however you can.

Those business clients think the same way. If they need the help of a graphic or web designer, their first thought will be to focus locally for someone before looking elsewhere. That designer should be you.

Make it easier for local design clients to find you.

Here are some tips to help you get noticed in your local area.

1) Your marketing should have a local presence.

Make sure your website prominently displays your address. Clients searching locally for a designer will look for your address to confirm you’re local. Clients who are not searching locally won’t care what your address is and won’t bother looking at it.

Carry business cards with you everywhere you go and leave one or two behind at opportune moments.

2) Join local organizations.

Organizations such as your local Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are great ways to spread the word about your design services.

You can also get involved with local charities. Join their board of directors to committees. Your child school might have a parent committee you can join as well.

Business networking groups are another excellent opportunity to get your name out there.

Remember, It’s not who you know, but who knows you.

3) Submit your business to local directories.

A great way to be discovered is to be listed in as many local directors as possible. Local municipalities, chamber of commerce, business groups, newspapers, etc. often host directories of local businesses. Find out how your business can be included.

Make sure you are listed in Google My Business so you can be found in local online searches.

4) Do local SEO

You know the importance of SEO. However, not everyone knows the importance of local SEO. Local SEO requires a different strategy to ensure you’re not only found by local searchers but that you show up as close to the top as possible.

5) Pay for locally targetted ads.

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google all offer a way to target ads to your local area. Take advantage of this feature and promote your business to those around you who can benefit from your services.

Local design clients are there if you look.

There are many local design clients and local businesses in your area that can use someone like you. And even though it’s great to work with clients around the globe, you shouldn’t neglect the ones in your own backyard. When it comes down to it, they’re the ones that are more likely to remain loyal when times get tough. They’re more likely to refer you to others. And they’re most likely to support a fellow local business.

Make sure you’re doing everything you can to get yourself and your services in front of local design clients and businesses.

How much effort do you put into finding local design clients?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Resource of the week LBGT+ Chamber of Commerce

LBGT+ entrepreneurs and business owners have a great resource in the LBGT+ Chamber of Commerce. Similar to all Chamber of Commerces, these ones aim to help businesses run by LBGT+ community members. 

There are many LBGT+ Chamber of Commerces around the world. Check your local area to see if there’s one nearby. Here are links to the Canadian and American national branches.

Canada’s LBGT+ Chamber of Commerce

National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Contact me

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

My Voice-Over Guy.

Resourceful Designer podcast intros are performed by the amazing Wayne Henderson of MediaVoiceOvers.com. Wayne is available to help you with any voice-over work you require.