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How to Market Yourself as a Freelance Graphic Designer

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1. Look For Referrals

Referrals are the best way to get low-cost leads for your graphic design business. It costs nothing to chat up with a random person at your local park or ask your friend for an introduction with one of their coworkers or friends who might need your services. Once you secure a referral and you are able to convert it into a paying client, you’ll want to ask that client for more referrals, and the cycle continues. To guarantee a referral from your client, make sure he/she is satisfied with your work. A quick search online will reveal several statistics that attest to the power of referrals for B2B work. For instance, according to a recent study by HBR.org, 84 percent of B2B sales happen through referrals.

2. Get a Website Up and Running

As much as 45 percent of small businesses in the U.S. still don’t have a website. But with consumers moving from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to eCommerce platforms, a website is nowadays a necessity rather than a luxury. You can either build a website on your own by writing code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript or use a CMS platform to build it for you. Either way, you’ll need to secure a domain name and a hosting service, both of which will cost you under $100. Once you have a website, you’ll need to optimize its content format and design to place high on search engine result pages.

3. Build Your Professional Network

In a book called “The Defining Decade”, author Meg Jay talks about establishing weak ties as a way to improve both personal and professional prospects. Essentially, weak ties refer to people you know but aren’t exactly within your social circle of family and friends. This can be a neighbor you say “hi” to every day on your way to work or a stranger you strike an interesting conversation with at the park. While these people don’t necessarily have any impact on your day-to-day, they may open up opportunities for you, particularly in terms of work. It only takes one weak tie to score a big graphic design project or find yourself a business partner.

4. Be on Social Media

With billions of users on these platforms every day, it makes practical sense to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social networking sites if you want to promote your brand and business. Social media helps you reach a wider audience with minimal resources consumed. As a freelance graphic designer, it makes even more sense to use social media to market yourself. Anyone in the world could be searching for trending wall art designs at any given time. Social media does not have the geographic restrictions that conventional advertising tools do.

5. Have a Portfolio of Past Projects

Consumers want proof of what they are buying. You can have the most rousing sales pitch, but a portfolio speaks more than words. Add graphic design projects and client websites you worked on to your own blog or business site. Avoid adding projects that are no longer working or contain only the source code. Your prospective clients want to see the end products that you were able to create rather than simply the lines of code you wrote that supposedly render it.

6. Send Cold Emails

Search for business owners on LinkedIn, Reddit, social media, and other platforms. You can easily find a dozen of email addresses you can send a cold email. It’s completely free and does not take up too much of your time. Be concise with your message. It should list the reasons why they can benefit from your product or service and what your business’s value proposition is.


Marketing yourself as a freelance graphic designer takes time and persistence. Use the aforementioned tips to divide your time and effort more efficiently. Over time, you will see your following grow and your number of clients increasing.

Eve Anderson is a marketing specialist turned blogger. Interested in sports and exciting travel destinations. Love to share content that can inform people.