Last updated on September 1st, 2020
As a graphic designer, you may be busy with obtaining and retaining clients or doing what you can do best – being creative. The idea of marketing yourself, meanwhile, might not seem as glamorous as creating. Be that as it may, being able to position yourself and stand out from the competition is essential. Especially in a field where everyone thinks that they can be a designer and the competition is fierce, to say the least.
How will people know you exist?
A great way to design a brand experience, based around your values is to consider all of your customers’ touchpoints. In other words, you need to carefully examine the places your brand and the customer (or clients) meet and interact.
So, to start implementing a consistent brand strategy and scale up your business, you need to be able to reflect your core values in each of your touchpoint with your clients.
Planning a detailed touchpoint strategy that reflects your customers’ needs, your brand values, and being able to translate that within each of your touch points with your clients is an important step towards consistently scaling up your brand.
The best graphics identities are the ones that transfer to a wide variety of customer touchpoints.
This is something large firms with up to a thousand touchpoints have mastered well. The brand image must be preserved as it can be applied to any physical object and can become a tangible presence.
Smaller firms and even mere freelancers, meanwhile, may not have as many requirements. Therefore, it necessitates them to carefully examine a few touchpoints they have with clients and consider how they can reflect their brand accordingly.
No need to reinvent the wheel, stick to proven concepts of branding yourself within each touchpoint you have with your clients, and you’ll be well on your way of increasing your brand awareness and online presence.
Here’s How To Do That
01. Examine Your Interaction Channels
A touchpoint is defined as “any interaction (including encounters where there is no physical interaction) that might alter the way that your customer feels about your product, brand, business or service”
In other words, it’s simply a channel where your interaction with your customers takes place.
Each stage your clients come in contact with your logo design or brand, you need to stand out and get them to remember you.
[Image Source: HubSpot]
From the awareness stage to the decision stage (and even afterward – the post-purchase experience), you need to clearly display your brand and core values.
The customer touchpoints share their perception of your brand. These customer perceptions shape brand identity.
So, let’s consider some of the practical touch points you might have with your client as a graphic designer and how to establish your brand in each.
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02. The Email
It all begins with an email pitch.
If you’re looking for new clients and sending out email pitches, you need to ensure that your email is fully optimized. Here are some elements of using branding yourself within an email touchpoint:
i. Your Email Avatar (Or Logo)
Many people still decide to go with the default email avatar. This is simply unacceptable (especially as a graphic designer) as people are more likely to trust someone using their professional headshot than the default email icon. So, it’s imperative to create a logo to win their trust.
ii. Your Email Signature
While creating a graphic design such as your email signature, consider adding your title, logo, company, contact information, and more. Every time you interact with a client, you’re proudly displaying your brand on your sleeve.
iii. Website, Social Media, And More
Naturally, your website and your social media should reflect your brand (in addition to your portfolio and more). Other, smaller and more subtle touchpoints where you interact with your customers may include your actual portfolio (which is why you should have a recognizable yet unique style), your invoice (make sure it includes your logo) and other smaller channels. Don’t forget to use logo on your social media account. If it’s irrelevant or dull, your get a professional looking log using a logo maker tool without denting big in your budget.
03. If You Build It, They Will Come
Building an audience base takes time.
The best time to start was yesterday, the 2nd best time is now.
Freelance designers know that in most cases, simply building a place for your portfolio and throwing all your pieces there will hardly get you anywhere.
Everyone starts with zero website visitors and followers, and without any promotion, it’s likely to stay this way. Instead, when you first start your marketing journey, you’ll have to actively focus on building your connection.
This involves quite a bit of give-and-take, as far as social media is concerned.
Once you have your brand down and have an idea of who your target client is (and where they hang out), make sure you’re actively focusing on that specific channel.
Choose the most appropriate online channel to establish an online presence and reach the right people. Otherwise, it might be a waste of time.
Popular social media channels are an obvious place to start. Instagram is a very creative and visual platform, while LinkedIn primarily focuses on the B2B aspect.
04. Which one is better?
The answer is – it depends. It depends on your brand values, your target market, and more.
If it’s LinkedIn, make sure to optimize your profile and search for and connect with your ideal clients. And if it’s Instagram, follow the people you admire and invite your peers to follow your page.
Though, here is where the “give” part comes in.
In addition to regularly sharing your own artwork and updates, make sure you’re generous with your likes and support. If you’re already following people you truly connect with, make sure you’re consistently interacting with them.
This is an easy way to get on their radar and shows that you care.
Consistency is the key here, of course. With a little bit of patience, you’ll start to see your audience grow and so will your brand reach and awareness.
Until now, we’ve been talking about your touchpoint, where, in one way or another, you’re placing something in front of your customers’ eyes.
If you want to truly stand out with your brand and be remembered for the long-term though, you need to start building authentic and real long-term relationships as you scale up.
Consider your brand communications and how you interact with your customers directly in your business.
When it comes to approaching people, it helps to have some common ground and ease into the conversation naturally – as opposed to jumping into pitching.
Be yourself, keep the conversation authentic, yet direct, and act like a human being – they’ll appreciate it.
If you take the time to have a proper dialogue before you get to the pitch, your pitch won’t sound like a pitch at all!
When it comes to moving the conversation onto your services, look at things from your client’s sides.
05. What are their needs? How do they communicate? What do you have in common?
Many freelancers make the mistake of acting like a robot and only interacting with their client when it’s about work.
Something as simple as providing updates along the way, asking them questions to better understand the goal of the project, and how you can bring them further value to over deliver can help you stand out from the rest.
And all of this can be done by a few additional back-and-forth emails.
Even if they don’t hire you today, they’ll be impressed enough to remember you. They might even recommend you to someone else or come back to you in the future.
Word-of-mouth references don’t come only from hard work. Focus on the long-term and being authentic, and not on the quick sale. Your clients are most likely to get a lot of pitch decks daily.
A simple “thank you”, follow-up and proper communication etiquette goes a long way.
All in all, if you want to scale up your brand and take your branding to the next level – you need to be thinking about your brand awareness and values with each step of your customer touch points. If you focus on establishing authentic relationships in which everyone benefits, you’ll go far. As good as it is to cover your online interaction channels with your branding; you also need to extend it to your smaller and less subtle channels. Any channel where you directly or indirectly interact with your customer is a way to be remembered. Make sure you’re utilizing your branding to the fullest and that it is reflected in each step of the way. You never know who in your network could refer you to your dream client. So, treat everyone kindly and help when you can.