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One of the biggest mistakes I see designers make in their own self-promotion is talking only about themselves and their work.
That may not make sense, but stay with me.
It’s not that your clients don’t care about you or your work—indeed, they do, especially when they need your design expertise.
But they care even more about their own problems. That’s where you come in. You can help them solve those problems with design.
That’s why the easiest way to get the attention of your ideal clients is to focus first on their problems. Then you present your services as the solution.
In other words, to get your ideal clients to respond, you need to know what keeps them up at night.
That’s right. Your self-promotion should be rooted in the needs, problems and pain points of your ideal clients.
When you know that, you can position your design and creative services as a way to satisfy those needs, solve those problems and cure that pain.
By identifying and addressing the issues they care most about, they are much more likely to respond to your self-promotional efforts, whether by accepting your LinkedIn invitation or by signing up for your email newsletter.
What Kinds of Pain Points to Address
Your ideal clients suffer from many different types of “pain,” so you have a wide range to choose from. Your design and marketing services can help to solve:
1. Basic Needs
The most common and easily understandable pain points are less dramatically referred to as “needs” and are directly related to design. For example, no matter the niche or industry, all types of companies need an updated website. In fact, an outdated website can cause the minor pain of embarrassment because it looks stale, while the more severe pain of not being responsive and viewable across all screens is more serious. You will get their attention by speaking to the pain of an outdated website and offering the cure of an updated website.
2. Lack of Expertise/Specialty
Other pain points are related to expertise (or a lack thereof). In another example, a marketing director for a financial services company may not know any designers who are familiar with the compliance issues inherent in financial services. If you have a history or knowledge of the financial services market, then you can speak to that lack of expertise and position your services as the solution to that problem.
3. Lack of Professionalism/Flakiness
Sometimes, the pain your ideal client is experiencing has almost nothing at all to do with design. A very common example of this for marketers across a wide range of niches (or vertical industries) is flaky freelancers: designers who don’t follow through or, worst of all, miss deadlines.
Therefore, if you promote yourself as a reliable designer who is good at time management and never misses a deadline, then you will be the cure for that very common pain, not to mention their hero.
The bottom line is that once you know what keeps your clients up at night, all you have to do is identify those pain points, address them in your self-promotion and present your services as the cure.
Not sure how to find those pain points? Check out part 2 in this series!
Graphic Design Proposals 101: A HOW Design University course
In Graphic Design Proposals 101, instructor Ilise Benun will teach you how to write a proposal, how to weed out bad prospects, and get to know the good ones better before you work with them.
Learn how to use the process to your advantage—developing strong connections, so that even if you don’t get the job in question, you’ll have managed to build a relationship with a future.