The Industry Has Completely Changed. So How Do I Find Clients Now?

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Dear Alycia,

I started my business 20 years ago and let me tell you the times have changed! It's so hard for me to find clients. Back in the day, I got clients via referrals.

Today? Ugh, I can't find them anywhere. I love working with bachelors, who are also executives, with big budgets.

How do I find these dream clients? Help!!

Signed,

Barbara*

*Name and wording of the email has been changed, but the gist of the message is the same. 


Dear Barbara,

Yeah, the times have changed. When I started my design business the iPad wasn't even invented and Jon and Kate Gosselin's marriage was falling apart. Ahhhhh, the good ol' days. 

Before that, I worked for companies and didn't have to look for my own clients, so learning how to get clients was brand new to me when I started my business. 

I was always focused on primarily getting clients online and that is still my focus today. I used to go to the shitty ASID meetings or the local Chamber meetings and that wasn't my scene. It was far easier to get clients online, so that is why I share these strategies with designers. 

You can always go the local marketing route, but I don't think the ROI is measurable or as effective as marketing online where you can see what's working for you in real time. That ad in the back of a Golf magazine? Good luck measuring that ROI.

So, I took a quick peek at your website Barbara and there's some work to be done there. (I have seen way too many websites like this so know that this advice applies to a LOT of designers).

 

I'm now going to assume the personality of 'Bachelor Brad The Baller Executive' as he discovers Barbara's website for the first time:

Brad: I go to your website and I have no idea that you work with people like me. I see a picture of a living room that looks like something my mom would love and there is no text to tell me that I am in the right place.

I'm a bachelor and I need to know you get me. That is something I'm not sure of at the moment. So I'll dig in a little more....

After I scroll past the living room photo, the only button I see on your homepage is for me to read reviews. I'm just starting my search for a designer, I don't really give a crap what your clients love about you. It's still all about me. Tell me more about myself. Seriously.

I click on your About page and you talk about what you do. How you create beautiful spaces in Dallas. But you don't say you do it for Bachelors nor do you address my concerns about decorating my pad. I feel like you say you decorate for everyone and I'm not like everyone. I'm Bachelor Brad the Baller Executive.

I'm a business executive and I'm also looking to bring some chicks back to my place. Tell me that you get me. 

And get rid of that picture of the kid's pink bedroom. I don't want a kid's bedroom, much less a pink one. 

I click on your portfolio and again, I see that you're not focused on only working with bachelors... you show lots of pictures that look great. If I was a mom. Where are the spaces that I want to look at? Pictures of craft rooms don't really appeal to me. 

The blog? There are 900 categories on the sidebar of your blog and none of them appeal to me. It's like your blog has become your press room. Sharing that time you were at some store speaking about eco-friendly design (which again, I don't care about). 

I'm sorry Barbara, you're not speaking to me. I don't think you even know who I am. And for that reason, I'm out.

 

Sorry, I was channeling a little "Shark Tank" there at the end, but that's the type of guy I picture when I'm thinking a bachelor, executive type. They don't have time to get out the Ouija board to figure out what the hell is going on with your website. 

If you want to really reach this type of client, start to think like them and make sure your website speaks to only them.

Yes, that may mean that the mom with 6 kids and a baller budget may not want to hire you, but I think it's very important to be a specialist and not a generalist. That's where the money is. So go all in and work on making your website for this guy. 

After you complete the work on your website, then go to work on how to market to this guy. Where can you show up online that he will also be? Or maybe where will his assistant be? He may very well assign this task of finding a designer to his assistant and you need to make it easy to find you. 

What questions can you answer that a man like Brad will have? That is where you can provide immense value and prove that you are the only one he needs to hire. 

Take some time to go into research mode, learn about your dream client and make a plan to reach him. With that in place, this becomes easier to attract clients that are perfect!


Wanna a free checklist of all the steps to grow your design empire online, the easy peasy way?

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