Do you have a head full of ideas, but a client database that’s not big enough to make them come true? Time to get new clients. A bit more specific: new clients that are a great match for you and will sign a web design contract.
Why not say yes to every job that comes along? Because if you aren’t feeling the project, it will most likely reflect in the end result. And that is ultimately what you as a web designer will be judged on and hired for.
That being said, if you're a web designer who is just starting out or if you've been in the game for a while and want to freshen up your client database, these tips are for you.
Connecting with the competition might sound counterproductive, but hear us out: there will always be web designers who are fully booked and looking to outsource work. Or who won't take on a project because it does not match their style.
Whatever their reasons might be, chances are that if they know they can connect their client with another great web designer, they’ll do it. Because it will keep their relationship with their client strong: even if they can't help their usual clients themselves, they still remain helpful to them.
Where can you connect with other web designers? On basically every social media platform. Join Clubhouse and listen in on interesting rooms and connect. Engage in web designer groups on LinkedIn. Find Facebook groups for web designers (there are plenty!) and show other web designers some love on Instagram.
Having a website with a portfolio and keeping it at that is wishful thinking: it means you’re waiting for clients to randomly find you and decide to work with you based on only what they see there.
But clients will choose to work with you for more than just your track record: are you knowledgeable? Are you up to speed on the latest trends? Does your vision align with theirs? And last but not least: are you a nice person to work with?
That might sound like a lot of information to convey in just some pieces of content, but there are relatively easy ways to do it. For instance, you could write articles on design-related topics and spread those on LinkedIn or Medium.
This will help you build the status of an expert and authority in your field. It shows you're really dedicated to your craft and up to date on the latest trends and topics. Plus: you can show off some of your personality in your writing. Or video, if you choose that format.
As you can’t expect people to engage with your content out of the blue, make sure to return the favor to your network as well. Take a few minutes every day to read and comment on other people’s work as well. Engagement works both ways.
If you want to step things up a notch, you could turn this content into a lead magnet as well. Write a weekly newsletter, or make an e-book or guide that people can download on your website. All they need to do is leave their email, filling up your funnel with leads.
Make sure to keep pushing out great content to stay top of mind, and your clients might find you—instead of the other way around.
Are you looking at the market and projects out there and feel overwhelmed? Don’t even know where to start? Let’s break it up: you don’t have to take over the entire world. Just a few paying clients will do. And wouldn’t it also be much easier if they were somewhat alike?
Choosing a niche makes virtually all your marketing effort so much simpler and effective. You can dive right in and really get to know your target group and what they need from a web designer.
Is there an industry that you have experience with, or feel drawn to? Or is there an industry that is booming right now, and are you willing to dedicate yourself to that? Think about it before you commit, but keep in mind that one-size-fits-all usually never fits anyone at all.
Picking a niche might sound scary: if done right, it also means you would sometimes say no to projects that are simply out of your usual scope. But if you want to build up a reputation in a certain industry for the long run, it will certainly pay off.
Cold acquisition, really? Yes, really. Because there are better ways to go about that than sending out one and the same pitch to everyone.
First of all, determine who you want to contact and if needed, who in the organization is the best to reach out to. That way, you can make your message even more personal.
Because that’s how you make cold acquisition a success: by warming it up. By making it as specific and relevant to them as you can. And by starting a conversation, instead of just sending an offer.
The second step is crafting your message. People can be skeptical when receiving a LinkedIn message from a stranger, so you might want to connect first and engage with some of their posts before you reach out.
Then you can dive into why you are contacting them specifically, asking about their needs and mentioning how you specifically can help them. Really focus on your unique selling points and why you think those would make you a great match for them.
Keep it short and snappy. And last but not least: leave it up to them how they get back to you. Don’t ask them to send you an email in case they’re interested. Just leave it below your message, as well as your phone number. And if this person likes staying in the chat to talk, go with that.
When people come to your website, what answers are you giving them? Many freelancers are guilty of focusing on what they do, instead of what they do for you. Of course, you’ll want a sleek looking portfolio, but you want people to interact with you, not merely look at you.
A smart way to do this is to add a direct chat option to your website. Not to have some bot repeat answers, but to start a genuine conversation. This is the moment where you start building a relationship with your future client.
This way of interacting with your website visitors is called conversational marketing, and it’s a must for specific services and products, such as web design. It’s part of the experience you deliver. And to 84% of customers, this is as important as your services and products.
How does this help you get clients? Because you will be able to send much better-tailored invoices and proposals that will help you seal the deal. And because clients get the feeling that you are trying everything to understand their needs. That’s something a generic contact form just can’t give you.
Many freelancers immediately hop online when they are looking for new clients—and there’s enough to be said for that. After all, you could get clients from all over the world, and the bigger the market the better, right?
Right, sometimes. But if you are just getting started or are looking for a specific project, why not start local? There might be businesses in your city or town that could do with a new web design. So start looking around and reach out to them directly.
Your benefit will be that there’s immediately a link—after all, you know the area, what the people in it are like, and what that means for their target group. And hey, maybe you’ll even find a familiar face in there.
Just like we mentioned in #4, this gives you an opportunity to reach out with a detailed offer and present the parts of your work that are relevant to the potential client. Instead of a generic pitch that, frankly, most people won’t fall for anymore these days.
And there you have it, six ways to build or reshape your client base. There’s no universal cure for a dry-spell in your web design work, but by combining the tips that match your style most you could get a long way. Change won’t happen overnight, so stay on top of it.
Are things getting busier? Great! Reach out to us to see how we can help you focus on your talents.
Vicky Frissen is a freelance copywriter based in Barcelona. She helps brands and businesses stand out from the crowd by putting some personality in each piece of copy she writes—whether it’s a 1,000-word blog post or a short and snappy Instagram caption.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?