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Graphic Design Business 101: Client Attraction & Retention Do’s and Don’ts

Branding & Marketing, Design Business 101, Finding Clients, Pricing & Services | 0 comments

Client generating is a constant battle in today’s competitive economy. Your day is already filled with too many distractions, getting all your tasks done, and spending enough time on social media. There’s simply not enough hours left in a day to do some prospecting, and this leaves you frustrated.

You need to find your ideal client to work with you on multiple projects and recognize that you’re the only graphic design expert that they want to work with. That means that you have to make the time to get everything done, which sounds easier than it really is.

There are a few Do’s and Don’ts that you need to know to attract and keep clients,  for their business, branding, and marketing related goals.

Let’s get stuck into the DO’s to client retention:

Listen to your customer

This requires one-on-one candid conversations with your blog readers, mailing list subscribers, social media followers, and target prospects. Gone are the days when cold-calling was worth the effort and beneficial to ROI.

Social media monitoring tools and social listening apps make it easy for you to understand your prospects and clients. Which means that you’re able to serve their particular needs. You’ll gain a competitive advantage by using these tools in a simple and efficient way.

Advise (if necessary)

You see, prospects will listen to you i when they see that you care about their business. If they’re convinced that you want to see their business scale, they want you in their corner for a long time.

This means that they’ll rehire you if they recognize your expertise is tailored to their particular problems, their goals, values, wants, and the needs identified (together or on their own).

Share your opinion/ advice via email, blog content and social media engagement to gain trust and build relationships.

But to do this correctly, you need to share with authenticity in providing value and inspiring your audience. Actively engaging with your audience and answering their questions (without anything in return) builds trust.

Understand their business goals

The skills that you need to get to know your prospects are; research, listening skills, and attention to detail.

You’ll need these in order to audit their website content, along with their advertising and marketing materials. This way you can provide a concrete diagnosis and the right solution.

This is where you present them with your custom package offers. Not only do you show that you care, but you also put their mind at ease that you’re not just aiming for payment.

Present your best solutions to achieve the client’s goals

Once they see that you listen to their needs, then more often, prospects ask for pricing/quotes.

Your objective is to customize your service to their particular needs and offer multiple payment options such as special rates or installment plans. The transaction runs smoother and eases the deal.

This way you also building a relationship over time and have the opportunity to upsell any other options that your client might be interested in.

Provide incredible customer service

You know the saying, “the customer is king”. But always remember that a king needs a queen… and that’s you! You’re not only in the graphic design business but also in the customer satisfaction industry.

Most often, the way you treat customers will decide if they return and refer their contacts or clients to you. Being diligent in delivery, follow-ups and willingness to improve all the time; makes working with you worthwhile.

Listen to feedback carefully

In most cases, if not all, clients require original and custom graphic design and branding packages. Listening to their feedback is important as it helps you to improve your tailored services. This vastly improves communication and results in a win-win transaction.

Having impeccable listening skills allows you to provide high-quality service that more often surpasses the capabilities of other graphic designers.  

Communicate clearly and often

Always strive for simple, effective, and crystal-clear communication. Communication barriers result in misunderstandings, resulting in you losing your clients. Remind them that you want to see their business grow and that you want to see them achieve their goals.

Keeping in touch with your prospects and clients is paramount. Incorporate the Pareto principle in your daily business activities. Spend 80% of your time serving actual clients, and 20% prospecting new opportunities and clients.  This way your business grows as an influx of new clients brings a favorable cash flow.

Sadly, a majority of graphic designers do the opposite, and their results show. Our next step is to discuss the DON’Ts of running a graphic design business. Knowing what not to do allows you to attract and keep clients working with you, to help solve their problems and reach their business, branding and marketing goals.


Act like you know everything

“Experts” who claim to know all, or do everything, cheap or low cost, are usually just “talking the talk”. They often lack a proven track record of past clients and testimonials to back up their claims.

An expert in any industry knows that you cannot be everything to everybody and that specializing is the best way to be an industry leader. For example, a graphic designer who specializes in social media graphics will attract clients looking specifically for that type of design work.

Whereas as a graphic designer who does general graphics often cannot improve on specific areas in graphic design as their projects are scattered due to not spending enough time on improving certain areas.  

Because of specializing; you can position yourself as the go-to guy for YouTube graphics and more dream clients will want to work with you. There are millions of “generalists” online. So, when you “specialize”, you gain a competitive advantage.

Ignore your client’s desires

Yes, you are the expert, but that doesn’t mean that you have to ignore what the client wants for their brand. After all, it is their brand and it is an extension of them.

Often we’re too trapped into our needs, goals and financial outcomes, that we focus on the service that we offer, and forget about the needs and wants of customers that we serve.

The ideas or vision that your client has for the business is why they came to you in the first place. Not acknowledging their desires for their graphic design work could lead to your client going elsewhere.

Ignore customer feedback

Not responding to feedback regarding your work and making the necessary changes hinders your relationship. And refusing to make the changes according to what your client wants, is far worse.

The best way to handle feedback from your client is to tell them why you’ve created it that way, yet adjusting the design to what your client wants.

Keep your version and show the client a comparison of the two, in case your client decides that yours probably works the best. If not, always remember that your customer’s desires come first.

Be afraid to ask questions

The only way that you’ll provide a service so profound is by understanding exactly what the client needs. This means asking questions to understand what is required of you. 

Yet, this also extends to when you do understand what your client needs.

Asking the client to confirm that what you understand is correct, is paramount. This is even more important when it’s a new client or new project. Asking fewer questions once you’ve become used to what the preferences are, normally occurs. It’s vital that delays are avoided because of not understanding the task at hand.

The key to running a successful graphic design business is effective communication, consistency, and a proven strategy to keep positive cash flow. Using the 80/20 rule as set out in the Pareto principle means that you have contingency plans in place if clients do leave. Specialization in your industry shows you as an authority in your industry which builds trust in your ability. This in itself attracts your dream clients to your business.

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