How To Get Your First Web Design Client

Web design is the process of creating a webpage or websites using various visual elements, such as graphics, text, and colors. The term web design is commonly used to refer to the process of designing a website for the World Wide Web.

The design of a website is an integral component of the online presence of an organization. It represents an organization in a manner that is attractive to users and enhances user experiences.

Web designers typically need to have a firm understanding of page structure, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and graphic design software. It’s also important to understand the target audience, its needs, and requirements.

Let’s say you’re a freelance designer and you want to turn that passion for visual communication into a sustainable career. One of the first steps you’ll want to take is to identify the right kind of clients to work with. Clients are the people who pay you money so they can use the services you provide. Clients range from individuals to businesses and sometimes include both.

Clients come in many forms. Some are simply interested in paying you to create something cool for their business or blog. Others are in need of a service that’s outside of your core expertise and would rather work with someone who specializes in the task. These clients, who you might call customers, are looking for someone else to take on a particular problem for them.

How to Get Your First Client – Web Design

When you’re just starting out, you can’t afford to spend money on advertising and marketing. You may not even have a business yet. But getting a first client can be the hardest thing about starting a freelance business. And the thing you need to get started.

The web design business is a tough one, especially for newbies. Even the most seasoned veteran can find themselves wondering “how to get clients?” or, even worse, wondering if they’ll ever get a client.

If you’re starting out as a web designer, chances are you’re wondering if you’re going to be able to make a living at what you love doing. If you’re looking for the best way to get clients, then read on!

You’ll find that your first clients are the easiest ones to find (not to sell), and that your first clients will also teach you valuable lessons that you can carry into other projects.

Your first client will most likely be someone you know or already work with. Whether you are working with an existing client or creating new client relationships from the ground up, you’ll have to start somewhere. And the best place to start is with people who have money.

Find Website Issues Before Your Customers Do

Peace-of-mind website scanning with results shown in plain English for those who don't speak nerd and have other things to do.

Scan My Website. Free!

First and foremost, get to know your target market. What types of businesses are they in? What type of products and services does their business sell? Knowing this information will give you context to your work. If you are working on a project for a financial institution, your audience may be other financial institutions. If you’re working for a startup, your audience may be small business owners. Understanding your client base will give you insight into what the market might need.

Secondly, use social media. You can reach out to your current and potential clients via social media. Start with LinkedIn and Twitter. Use these platforms to start networking with your target market.

Once you’ve established yourself, you can then start to make cold outreach to people in your target market.

The third step is to create something amazing and unique. The best way to get your first client is to create something amazing and unique. You don’t have to have worked on a project before to do this. You can use one of many online tools to create a logo and a simple landing page for your business.

The Pitch Process

A pitch is a tool to show your prospective client why you’re the best fit for the project.

A pitch needs to be concise, to the point, and to demonstrate how you’ll solve their problem. It needs to be persuasive, yet professional and businesslike. It also needs to be interesting enough to pique their interest. And it should be short.

If you have a well-written pitch that hits all of these points, you may be surprised at how far your project can go. Remember:

If you want to do it right, it starts with a proper pitch.

There are three key components to a successful pitch:

1. The Pitch

2. The Pitch Script

3. A clear deliverable

The first step is to have a solid pitch. A pitch is a statement of what you can do for your clients. It’s your elevator pitch. In short, you need to define your value proposition in 3 minutes or less.

A pitch must be convincing. You have to show your value. You need to convince your audience. To do so, you need to show why you’re different.

To get the ball rolling, you need to clearly articulate what you can bring to the table. A good pitch is simple and to the point.

You should always make sure to have an actual, real pitch script. It helps you stay on topic. It allows you to remain on-point. And it ensures you don’t ramble.

Here’s a pitch script template:

1. I’m here to tell you a story.

2. This is the part where I tell you why you need me.

3. Let’s start with a quote.

4. This is where I connect you to my process.

5. How long will this project take?

6. This is where I ask you to book a call with me.

7. A bit of context.

8. And here’s some proof of my skills.

9. Now, I’d like to ask you a few questions.

10. So, here’s a challenge.

11. I’ll close by asking you to think about how this can benefit your business.

12. Thank you for your time.

13. My name is [insert your name]

14. My email address is [insert your email].

15. I look forward to talking to you soon.

16. Best, [insert your name]

Communicating Value

During the process of getting your first client, be sure to clearly communicate what you bring to the table. Don’t just assume they know, and don’t assume that you know. If you’re not sure, ask them.

By explaining your value proposition, you’ll make sure that the client sees the value of working with you, and you’ll avoid creating an uphill battle.

Here’s how to put your value proposition into words.

What you will create

As a web designer, I know that good websites are a team effort. A successful site is a result of well-written code, clear and clean design, appropriate color choices, and effective navigation.

My goal is to create something for you that looks beautiful and is easy to use. I want to make it so that the user doesn’t have to think.

In short, I want to make your site easy to use and attractive.

Who will benefit

When I approach the design and build of a website, my primary goal is to create a space that works for both the user and the business.

I understand that your business needs to promote itself on the web in order to reach its customers. But, I want to create a site that makes it easier for users to find you, engage with you, and stay in touch with you. I want to create a site that creates value for you, not just sells you.

You see, every page of your site should have a goal. What do you want people to do after they’ve left your site? How will you measure whether your site was successful? These questions are at the heart of everything you should be thinking about when you create your web presence.

Why will the site succeed

When you’re building your web presence, you need to know why your site will succeed. You need to know what value your visitors will get from interacting with your site. You need to know the pain points and challenges that your users face on a daily basis, and you need to know how your site can help them solve those problems.

If you can answer these questions, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should be doing on your site. You’ll be able to design your site around the answers you come up with, and you’ll be able to put together a strategy for promoting your site that’s based on your goals, not just your budget.

What you’ll deliver

Now that you know the value you’ll provide, you need to figure out what you’ll actually be delivering. In other words, you need to be able to show your client exactly what you mean when you say you’ll “create a website.”

Your job is to take your client’s ideas, present them in the best possible way, and then walk away from the process with a final set of files for them to review. This includes things like content, colors, images, fonts, and overall feel. If you’re not sure where to start, try looking at the best-performing sites in your space, or ask a friend who has a good eye for design.

Pricing Strategies

So, what kind of pricing strategies should you try if you want to get your first client?

There is no set answer. The answer is going to depend on your situation. What type of project are you working on? How much money are you bringing in? What’s the scope of the project? The amount of time you have to complete it?

For instance, let’s say you’re a freelancer who’s just starting out and wants to land your first client. In this case, your price should be extremely low and flexible. Maybe you charge $50/hour with a minimum $250 budget. This is where you’ll see the highest level of flexibility. This also allows you to determine the scope of the project. If your first client is asking you to design a website for a small startup, they probably don’t have a ton of money and the project isn’t going to be very expensive.

If your first client is a large corporation, your pricing strategy will be completely different. You’ll need to determine how much you’re worth in your market. For instance, you might charge around $250-500/hour to cover your time costs and a little bit more to cover your expenses. In this case, you’ll be working on the highest-value projects with larger budgets.

Now that you know what your typical pricing strategies are, you can figure out which one is the best fit for you. You’ll be in a better position to determine your ideal pricing strategies.

Here are a few strategies to keep in mind while you’re building your portfolio and learning about pricing:

  1. Start low. You may not know your rates, so you can start by setting your prices at a level you think you can charge, but lower than you might charge.
  2. Be honest. Clients will see right through someone who tries to take advantage of them. Make sure your prices are fair, and don’t try to hide them.
  3. Give yourself a buffer. You want to have room for any changes that come up in your rate structure. That way, when you’re making decisions about whether or not to raise your rates, you won’t feel rushed.
  4. Understand your costs. If you are charging a lot more than what your competitors are, your competition is probably charging you a lot less. Find out how they are getting the deals.
  5. Offer freebies. This will give you the chance to test the waters and see how people react to your services.
  6. Have a plan. There is a lot to take into account when it comes to pricing. Once you understand the ins and outs of the pricing side of the equation, you’ll have a better idea of where your business should be.
  7. Set your expectations. When you start out, you might have the mistaken idea that you can charge whatever you want. You will quickly realize, however, that clients will expect to pay for what they get. You’ll want to set your expectations accordingly.
  8. Know your market. This can be a very difficult task. It’s a tough sell to go into business with the knowledge that your product or service is the only one available.

The First Meeting

When you first meet with a potential client, you should be armed with a lot of information. You should know who the decision-makers are, who the stakeholders are, who the influencers are, etc. Having this kind of information is the key to having a good meeting and to being prepared for the next steps.

You’ll want to talk about what you’ve done in the past, what you do now, what you can do for them, and what you’d need to deliver. Your goal is to convince the client that they should hire you. To do this, you need to find out what they want. This is where the discovery stage of the process comes in.

The goal is to demonstrate the value of your services. It’s easy to talk about the features of your website in the abstract, but in order to be successful, your web design must actually solve the customer’s pain points.

Some example things of what you should ask during your first meeting:

  • Who are you?
  • What is your business?
  • What are your goals?
  • What problems are you having?
  • Why did you come to us?
  • What are your expectations of our work?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What do you need?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What is your budget?
  • What are your deadlines?
  • How long are you looking to hire us for?
  • Where would you like us to work?
  • What are your references?
  • Who are your clients?
  • What is your logo?
  • What is your mission statement?
  • What is your vision?
  • What is your target audience?
  • Who are your competitors?

Avoiding Clients That Are Unreasonable

The first step to getting a client is to avoid clients that are unreasonable. There are plenty of clients to choose from. The trick is to avoid ones that are unreasonable, irresponsible, and will only waste your time.

The design process is always an exercise in negotiation and compromise. In fact, that’s the point. It’s all about getting what you need from the client.

But sometimes, the client can be unreasonable.

Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your game and avoid clients who are too demanding:

  • Be prepared. Designers usually don’t get paid for a project until the client signs the agreement, so make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you start working on the project. Make sure you know what you’re being paid for, how long the project is going to take, and what the scope of the project is.
  • Make sure you know the scope. If you don’t know how long the project will take or if it will include certain deliverables, you won’t be able to charge accordingly.
  • Don’t start work without a contract. If you are starting the project without a signed agreement, you can’t really deliver anything.
  • Make a timeline for yourself. Don’t just take on any project that comes your way. Think about what you need to finish in order to meet your deadlines and make sure that everything you’ll be doing will be completed on time.
  • Never, ever start work on a client’s project until you get a signed agreement. Not even a verbal agreement will work.
  • Always charge enough. Don’t fall into the trap of underestimating how much you’ll need to charge or you may end up with more work than you can handle.
  • Avoid taking on a client who insists on using a specific template. You don’t want to spend half your time fighting with a client over design decisions. It will be more work for you and there’s a good chance you’ll lose them.

Know that some clients are unreasonable. Don’t let it discourage you.

In the end, it’s always better to know what you’re getting into and how much it’s going to cost you rather than being taken advantage of.

How to Handle Difficult Clients

A lot of designers struggle with difficult clients. This is often due to poor communication skills on behalf of the client. Some clients are very good communicators and other clients are not. Some clients simply don’t know how to communicate their needs and requirements. Many clients have very vague ideas in mind about what they want and often times these vague ideas come across as unprofessional and lack direction.

Your clients are the lifeblood of your business. And that goes double if you are a freelance designer, illustrator, or any other type of professional service provider.

When you begin working with new clients, you want to make sure you don’t end up in an uncomfortable position where you feel bad for your services or feel the need to try and turn a bad situation into a good one.

Here are 4 ways to handle difficult clients:

  1. Be honest and upfront about any limitations. If you’re not skilled at a particular area of web design, tell them up front. Don’t hide it behind some vague statement like, “I’m really busy this week.” A potential client needs to know what you can and cannot do for them, and they deserve to know it upfront.
  2. Explain your pricing structure and ask for permission to put it in writing. When you explain your pricing structure to a potential client, give them a breakdown of the rates and then ask them if you can put it in writing. When it comes time to charge them, show them the written agreement and let them review it.
  3. Always be on time. It’s important to keep clients in the loop and be as responsive as possible. Clients expect you to show up at your scheduled meeting on time, so make sure you always do.
  4. Be professional. This includes dressing appropriately for a business meeting and making sure you leave a clean and tidy workspace. Showing up for your meeting in a wrinkled suit may seem like a quick way to earn points with your client, but it’s really just a way to create an unpleasant impression on your future clients.

How to Keep Clients Happy

It’s easy to get clients – but keeping them happy is another story.

To be sure, I’m not talking about being nice to clients. I mean keeping them happy because you want their business. And clients are human – they crave positive feedback.

You may have already heard this before, but it bears repeating. Clients want to feel appreciated. As business owners, we appreciate our staff, so why not do the same for our clients? Show them how valuable they are to us. Let them know you appreciate their efforts by following up with a thank you letter or e-mail. This will help your clients feel valued and appreciated. It will also give you a chance to show your appreciation for their business.

So here are the top ten things you should do in order to keep clients happy:

  • Keep them informed.
  • Listen to what they say.
  • Make sure that you are up to date on the latest web technologies.
  • Have clear documentation.
  • Do not underestimate the power of social media.
  • Have a good web analytics strategy.
  • Set deadlines.
  • Check the site regularly.
  • Provide regular feedback.
  • Keep them updated.
Find Website Issues Before Your Customers Do

Peace-of-mind website scanning with results shown in plain English for those who don't speak nerd and have other things to do.

Scan My Website. Free!

Author:
I've been making websites since I was a kid and now have over 20 years of experience building them for myself and my agency. I noticed patterns of problems that all business owners experience with their websites. Problems that most business owners don’t even know matter, let alone how to address. I built Pagemend to help people stay on top of their websites.

Leave a Reply

Enquire now

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.