A couple years ago, I was stuck – big time.
Maybe you’re familiar with it. You’ve been designing for a while, finding clients, fulfilling their needs, rinse and repeat.
But my client pool was starting to grow thin (PS – “3 Simple Tips to Keep Your Client Pool Full“) and I was getting worried.
No clients = no cash
It’s obvious. Without any clients, it’s hard to make money as a designer (unless you work hard at passive income).
So I had to think of a new marketing tactic and I had to think it up quick.
How could I…
How could I find a bunch of potential new clients? How could I convince them they needed my services? And how could I convince them I was the best choice for redesigning their web site?
I was also reading a really interesting book at the time titled FREE: The future of a radical price by Chris Anderson. Actually I had read an ebook version that was free and found this particular book on a discount shelf in some collector’s store while on vacation. I was stoked!
Anyway, the whole premise of Chris’s book is that the future of successful business is in giving things away.
So I decided that’s what I would do:
Give something away
But, what can you give to potential clients? A free logo?
A free consultation?
A free candy bar.
Uh, I guess. But then you’re probably just out a candy bar and still don’t have any new clients.
So after thinking through it for a long time, I came up with, what I thought, was the perfect solution:
Free help and a free book
I decided I needed something that would build my credibility and helpfulness status with potential clients.
So I wrote a short book titled “10 elements all web sites should have” and I started mailing and hand-delivering these little booklets out to small businesses all over my small town.
The results were amazing!
Before I new it, I was getting new calls every day from potential clients who wanted to talk about their web site design needs. They would ask me questions and I would answer and then pitch my services and I landed probably a little more than half the clients that called in.
So why did they call me? Because I established my credibility by writing a book and then offered help by writing something they actually cared about.
I created a void within them that I then offered to fill.
The booklet taught them why their business web site was missing the mark in multiple places and what they needed to do to fix it.
They could have called any designer, but they called the guy who wrote the book.
I became a trusted designer and source of online promotion information.
What are you going to give away for free?
While there are at least 3 reasons to think twice before offering your actual design services for free, offering a freebie to clients in order to establish credibility can be a great way to build business quickly. What are you going to offer potential clients for free? Leave a comment and let me know.
PS. The links to the book FREE in this post are affiliate links. I have personally read this book twice and highly recommend it, but I thought you might like to know that a portion of the money you pay when you buy it will go to me. If you do click through and buy, tell me so I can personally thank you and talk with you about the book. Enjoy!