Ask Emily: How Do You Cultivate New (Ideal) Clients?
Question: "How do you cultivate new clients? Particularly finding the right clients for you. Most of my clients are word of mouth, and they aren’t always the type of clients that best fits my business." - Lisa
Answer: Thank you so much for this question, Lisa! I'd love to answer your question by sharing part of my story, because I know exactly how you feel.
When I first started my business, I said yes to every job that came my way. I was getting my name out there as a graphic designer, which can mean lots of different things! I did wedding invitations, posters for construction companies, worked with non-profits, and even hand-illustrated t-shirts for fundraisers. One of my most interesting clients was a scrap metal yard, where my job was to make actual trash look appealing- not an easy task!
After getting a little bit burned out on this roller coaster of all these different jobs and clients, that's when I decided to streamline and brand my business. It seems like an oxymoron that a graphic designer wouldn't have a solid brand for herself, but I was stuck the middle of trying to appeal to brides, as well as construction companies, which are (obviously) two vastly different clients. I was known as a graphic designer, and to visit my website or social media, you wouldn't know the work that I was best at, the clients I loved working with, or even anything about me personally.
These platforms were simply a conglomeration of everything I had said yes to as a designer.
I decided to get really clear on who I wanted to work with, and the type of work I wanted to do, which ultimately was also the work that I was best at. I did a lot of soul searching work about why I wanted to start this business in the first place, and did a whole lot of pinning on Pinterest in search of what truly inspired me.
I then removed all of the projects off of my website that didn’t fit with this new brand, I started only promoting work on my social media that was in line with my brand, and I streamlined my packages and offerings.
This took a lot of initial work, but the cool thing is, once this new brand was in place, my ideal clients began to find me, because everything I was sharing spoke to them. This wasn’t effortless by any means, because I had to do a lot of work to get there.
BUT once my brand started to make sense to my ideal clients, they started to fill my inbox.
Now, if a construction company were to visit my website, or instagram, they would know right off that we aren’t a good fit simply by perusing my work. I have on my front page, I am a brand designer and educator for growing businesses. This says right off the bat, that my specialty isn’t wedding invitations, so everyone already knows to look for that somewhere else.
You’ll hear me talk about the 3 C’s of branding a lot, but I first had to find CLARITY, second, I got really really CONSISTENT with everything I was showing, and this in turn gave me so much CONFIDENCE in my business and brand, and all of this work is what started attracting my perfect clients.
I hope my story helps to answer your question, Lisa!