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What Websites Do People Go To Who Want A Web/graphic Designer?
Posted 01 March 2011 - 11:53 AM
I'm a graphic designer looking to advertise my services by putting a flash ad on Google Adwords' Display Network. I wanted to use an image ad rather than a text ad, as it gives me a little opportunity to demonstrate my design style and thus attract clients who want that kind of thing and similarly detract those who don't. I didn't bother SEOing my site too much as I figured that there is so much competition for keywords such as "graphic designer" "web designer" etc. it wasn't even worth trying to compete on a non PPC level.
I tried using Adwords' Contextual Targeting Tool to find websites to place my ad on with keywords such as "web designer" "graphic designer" etc. but all the sites that the tool suggested were those showcasing cool graphic design from around the world that I know from experience are (in the main) just popular with other graphic designers looking for inspiration rather than people actually looking to employ a graphic designer.
Any ideas for keywords/sites I should try to find clients?
Many, many thanks,
Posted 01 March 2011 - 07:06 PM
Posted 08 July 2011 - 04:58 PM
Posted 10 September 2011 - 12:17 PM
First, my gut feeling is that Adwords wouldn't be a good source of work for you as it could end up costing a lot and not yielding any work.
While the rest of my answer isn't specific to your question, I hope you'll find it useful and will factor it into your long range strategic planning. I've been doing graphic design for over 30 years and have repeatedly found that a vertical marketing strategy works quite well. (Google 'vertical marketing strategy' to learn more.)
The basic idea is that you look at your past experience and past clients to see where you've gained the most expertise and experience. Then market yourself as a specialist in the industries where you've had the most experience. You don't have to narrowly confine yourself to one type of business. You can, for example, market yourself to hotel communications directors as a specialist in hotel marketing while at the same time marketing yourself to banks as a specialist in design for banks.
People who buy design are always looking for someone they perceive to have special expertise in their field, so if you position yourself as an expert in certain fields, you'll have a much better chance of getting work in that field. And if you're advertising online, your ads will be most effective if they target graphic design buyers within those fields.
Example: In the mid-80s, I was operating a very small design studio. I had done some minor print design project work for communications directors of several hospitals. So we put together a very low budget direct mail campaign positioning my company as specialists in hospital marketing and within a few months picked up over $8MIL in new business including print advertising, collateral design and TV/radio advertising.
For a couple of years in the late '90s and again for the past 4-5 years, I've been doing real estate website design almost exclusively, in affiliation with several developers of real estate agent site systems. Currently my expertise is in design of sites for Wordpress as well as for clients of two major real estate site systems, and I am able to differentiate myself because I know both design and SEO and thus know what's required to make a successful real estate website. I don't do SEO myself, but I know what's needed and can refer my clients to the SEO people whose help they need.
I stay booked out from 6-12 months even though my work is priced quite a lot more than some of my competitors. I require payment of 50% in advance with the balance paid before a site design is installed on the site, so I never have to worry about getting paid even though I work for clients from all over the U.S. and Canada. I avoid local clients because they want to do time-wasting meetings. People often find me by searching more specific keywords than just "website design." They find me by searching "[developer] real estate site design."
I don't advertise anywhere. In fact, I don't even bother with printing business cards. However, I do have a social media strategy. I participate in Facebook and Google Plus, where I have some 1500 Realtors following me. I don't try to sell myself on either forum but instead, I post informative articles on my blog, then occasionally announce them and provide links to them on Facebook and Google Plus. The purpose of my blog posts is generally to convey the idea that I know how all the pieces fit together to make a real estate site work well. For example, I have a couple of popular articles on choosing real estate domain names, including one that lets Realtors know that the National Association of Realtors won't allow them to use "MLS" in their domain names. This approach is helpful to Realtors, usually only have a superficial understanding of how things work. Most have heard rumors such as "Wordpress is good for SEO" or "Flash is bad for SEO" but don't haven't a clue what either of these statements really mean (or that each can be untrue).
When I have time and sufficient experience, I plan to begin including design for Facebook and Google Plus business pages in my offerings. (For info on social media marketing, I recommend the book "Likeable Social Media," available on Amazon.)
Finally, the only site I've personally used to find creative talent is the job bank on the Communication Arts magazine's website. This site attracts "real" professionally trained designers, copywriters, etc. You might also search "graphic designer" on Twitter to find people who are looking for designers. I've found that people who are looking for real estate site designers via Twitter have ridiculously low budgets, but you might find exceptions.
There are also several sites where people post jobs that you can bid on. Again, they are typically low budget. And you can Google 'graphic design job bank' to find more places to find work.
Forgive me for going on so long, but I hope that sharing my experiences proves helpful to you.
Posted 23 September 2011 - 05:59 PM
O/T - have you got a sense yet as to whether Google+ will work in your situation? I have stayed a way from FB simply because I did not want the tire-kickers coming in droves. I prefer being approached by someone who has made the first step of commitment by actually seeking to find me. Are you getting a more qualified contact out of G+ ??
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