Want to get clients but now sure how? Want to avoid the No. 1 marketing mistake? Hate cold-calling? Want to reach clients in a language they understand? Put these top 10 tips into practice to find your ideal clients and still be yourself.

1. Avoid the No. 1 marketing mistake many organisations and people make

Jumping straight to the “What marketing tasks shall we do?” stage! You need to know about your business & your clients first. This ensures your marketing sets you apart, gets seen by the right potential clients, and says the right things to them.

2. Know yourself

List the strengths, skills, experience & qualities that you have, which set you apart from other design companies or freelancers. Note the types of work you do/want to do.

3. Know your ideal client

If you have ideal clients, think of them – if you don’t, make use of your imagination and also do some research.) List what they do and what they’re like. Write own their top three concerns or business challenges. Describe what sort of language (visual & verbal) they use. Note where they are (online & offline).

4. Know what you want the marketing to achieve

What do you want to happen, and by when? What’s the budget?

5. If you’re going to do your own marketing, use methods that suit your strengths

For instance, if you enjoy writing, online articles and eZines might appeal, if you enjoy presenting, giving talks to local business organisations could be good. List what you enjoy doing & decide how can it be channelled into raising awareness of your business.

6. Use marketing methods that suit your ideal client

You could have the best social media strategy ever, but if your clients aren’t into social media, it won’t work. Refer to your answers in numbers 3 & 5 – what’s the intersection between the two? That could be your marketing sweet-spot. Now you’re ready to ask what marketing tasks to do! Whatever methods you choose, ensure that you’re addressing your ideal clients’ concerns and showing how you provide solutions to them.

7. Make use of “secret” marketing tools

Your pricing / how you speak, or the wording you use / how you present yourself / how you relate to your clients & suppliers. If a designer’s pricing is bargain basement, their wording is up-market, their self-presentation is utterly casual and their business relationships are overly-formal – it will confuse people! Ensure you’ve got consistency across all these methods of communication.

8. Be ready to act on your marketing success

For example, if your marketing goal is to bring-in five new clients, ensure you’ve got the capacity to do their work, as well as attending to current clients and the rest of your business. If your goal is to have 200 potential customers call you over the next month, ensure your studio is set-up to handle the calls and that all relevant people have been briefed.

9. Reflect on each bit of marketing once it’s finished

Did it achieve what you wanted? What did you learn and how could things be done even better next time?

10. Marketing never stops

Always ensure there’s time set-aside to plan and carry-out the next bit of marketing. Don’t do what I did in my first six months in business – I worked so much on client projects, that I didn’t have time to find any more and one day, they all finished, leaving me with no work and no income, woops!