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How to Find Your First Web Design Client

When it comes to starting your web design business, finding your first client is typically the hardest. Your reputation isn’t there, you may be inexperienced in some aspects of the business, but you know you’re ready to go above and beyond for your first project. The good news is that every successful web design agency has been in this position. The even better news is that if you do some things right it won’t be nearly as difficult as you think.

Potential web design clients are everywhere you look. In fact, many are out there with their hands up saying “help me, I need a website designed!”. You just need to know where to look.

1. Are you ready?

The first step to getting your first web design client is ensuring that you are a person someone would want to hire. Know your capabilities and shortcomings, and continue to learn as you grow. In this space, technology and design are constantly changing so it’s important to stay in tune with what’s new.

This should go without saying, but make sure that your website is complete. Portfolios (even if they are mock websites) are a must. Make yourself stand out of the crowd and be professional. Just because you are trying to get your first client doesn’t mean they need to know it.

Are your phone lines and email addresses ready? It’s advised to keep your work and personal methods of contact separate from each other. Having a @yourdomain.com is a must, and makes your business look much more professional. A service as simple as Sideline can provide you with a phone number you can keep separate from your personal cell phone, allowing you to turn off work calls when necessary.

Financials and business structures are a whole different subject and requirements will vary depending on where you’re located. Make sure that you have established everything necessary to do business in your state and monitor your financials for tax and business purposes. Speaking with an attorney and accountant is highly recommended whenever starting a business.

Every business that engages in sales should have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, even if it’s basic. It will help you stay organized and diligent with your sales cycle and lead nurturing. Best of all, there are plenty of free options to get you started. We highly recommend Hubspot CRM because it’s free and great at what it does.

2. Prospect

Use your personal network to see if you can connect with someone who is looking to have a website designed. It’s okay to discount your services for your first few clients if it gets you working and helps build your reputation. Word of mouth is the most trustworthy way of advertising and can quickly turn your business from dead to the phone ringing off the hook.

After your personal network has been exhausted it’s time to start prospecting. We always recommend hitting the phones first to get some initial connections going. It puts you out of your comfort zone and gets you used to sales. Plus, it will be a sure way to get you some good conversations with business owners looking to have a website designed. Cold calling is a numbers game, and with the right amount of work and persistence, you will have your first client in no time.

Learn more about our recommended methods of outbound marketing.

3. Marketing

Expenses come with any business, and outbound marketing should be one of them. While budgets might be thin when you first start out, you should allocate some funds to market your business. Whether it’s PPC ads on Google, growing your social network accounts, content creation, or just handing out business cards at your local Chamber of Commerce – marketing is how you get your business in front of your potential customers.

4. Web Design Leads

Whether you’re already established or just getting started, purchasing web design leads is a great way to connect with business owners looking for your services. Our team here at Lead Smirk communicates directly with business owners, finding those that show a motivated interest in hiring a web design agency. Learn more about our web design leads and chat with one of our specialists today!

5. Prove Yourself

Your first clients are the foundation of your business. If you exceed your client’s expectations you will continue to see returned business and word of mouth of your services will spread. With that said, there are some things you can do to further grow your business and increase the number of clients coming in.

After every project is complete request feedback. Testimonials go a long way in helping your reputation and prove to future prospects that you can provide a satisfactory service. Also, ask if they know of anyone else looking for a website designer. Business owners often have a large network – which poses the perfect opportunity for you to spread the word.