How to Focus and Get Better Clients This Year (Part 2 of 8)

“I need to figure out where to focus.”

That’s something I hear a lot from creative professionals who feel like they’re all over the place, because they are!

Are you too? If so, one thing I can tell you from almost 30 years of experience advising creative professionals: when you focus, you get better clients. Is that something you want in 2017?

Well read on, because this is the second in a series of posts that will give you the simple formula and tools to find your focus and make it easier for better clients to find you.

Each post in this series goes into detail about a different strategy you can easily implement today. (Read Post #1 here.)

This “formula” is also the schedule of topics for the Get Better Clients Bootcamp, May 2, 2017 in Chicago, a half day intensive hosted by HOW Design Live and presented by Marketing Mentor. (Details here:

Here’s the first step: Step 1: Decide Where to Focus.

Focus is the key to success, no matter how you define success, whether it means having fewer clients paying more money or just getting better projects with higher quality people.

Focusing is the way to get there. You may resist the idea or maybe you embrace it but just don’t know where to focus.

Start with 2 points of focus:

  1. Focus on what is different about you and convey that in all your messaging.
  2. Then focus on the market to whom that one thing is important, essential, will make a difference to them – that’s your market.

There are many different — and often creative — ways to focus on a market. Here are 10 to consider:

  1. Vertical
  2. Horizontal
  3. Vertical + Horizontal
  4. Technology
  5. Umbrella idea
  6. Related industries
  7. “We understand your customer”
  8. The way you work
  9. Company size/need
  10. Issue-driven

Watch this video to learn more and see examples of each niche.

I know it’s stressful to choose where to focus because you think you have to choose 1 thing, one area, one vertical or industry, one service to focus on and you just can’t decide which (or simply don’t want to).

But focus is not a light switch you flip on and, voila, you’re focused.

It takes time and it’s an evolution, so you have to be patient and stay the course. And it’s a dialogue with your clients—not something you “decide” in a vacuum then implement. Through the back and forth between you and the market, your focus will be a response to those who respond positively to you. The more positively they respond, the easier it is to commit to a focus.

The more you focus, the clearer your message will be to better clients and the easier it will be for them to say, “This is exactly who we need.”

Here is the rest of the formula to get better clients:

  1. Cultivate The Right Mindset. Debbie Millman speaks movingly about this in her new CreativeLive course, A Brand Called You, and she will be sharing the highlights at the Get Better Clients Bootcamp.
  2. Use Your Creativity To Pursue Your Dream Clients. Former agency owner, Jake Jorgovan, observes that most creatives leave their creativity at the door when they do their own business development. Through his company, Outbound Creative, he and his team implement the most creative, eye-catching, mind-blowing strategies to get the attention of dream clients – and it works! (Read how here.) He will be sharing actual examples as part of the Get Better Clients Bootcamp.
  3. Get Attention with Compelling Visual and Written Content. Ryan Robinson says most creatives aren’t using compelling content marketing to sell their strengths and expertise as well as they could. In our recent podcast interview, he explains how he has done it for himself – and got 200K monthly visitors to his blog as a byproduct. He will be sharing the highlights as part of the Get Better Clients Bootcamp.
  4. Position Yourself as The Expert. Julia Reich Of Stone Soup Creative decided public speaking would be the best way to promote her design firm to the non profit world. So she learned how to become a public speaker, got lots of practice, added graphic recording to her toolbox and now she presents at events like The Non Profit Technology Conference. Julia will be sharing the highlights of how she did that at the Get Better Clients Bootcamp.
  5. Become A Media Magnet. How do you know you’re ready for TV (or media in general)? You probably think you need: a bestselling book; a regular column; a PhD; a TED talk, earned your first million. It’s none of that. Terri Trespicio outlines the 5 signs you are ready here. And she’ll be sharing more of what it takes at The Get Better Clients Bootcamp.
  6. Stay on The Radar/Visible with Email Marketing. Timing is everything when it comes to getting the work you want from your dream clients. If you’re not on their radar, they will forget you exist – out of sight, out of mind! So stay in touch with relevant content that demonstrates why you are exactly who they need when they’re ready.

This is the formula. You can go ahead and start using it. But if you want to see these tactics in action and hear about how real creative professionals are actually using them to get better clients, come to the Get Better Clients Bootcamp. We’ve priced it very affordably. Come for the day then get back to work, or come for all 5 days of HOW Design Live and soak it all in.

Whether you work independently or run your own agency, the strategies to get better clients are essentially the same. And it’s not complicated, it just takes effort and attention and focus, of course.

For 2017, if you really want to up your game and say “thanks but no thanks” to the clients who don’t value your creativity and can’t afford to pay what you need to charge, join us on May 2, 2017 in Chicago. Register now and we’ll see you there!