The World is Your Market
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How can I reach prospective clients in faraway places?
Whether you're in Manhattan or Montana, the Internet allows you to reach potential clients anywhere. Especially if you don't live in a major design hub such as New York, it's vital to put a little extra effort into your Web site. Here are some ideas.
- Familiarize yourself with search-engine optimization (SEO) and make sure your site contains proper code and keywords to be visible on Google and other search engines.
- List all the services you can provide, not just the ones you've been hired for lately.
- Consider a formal or informal creative consortium with friends who are freelancers. For instance, if you are primarily a designer, but you know someone who's a great writer or sharp proofreader, let your clients know that you can arrange these services as well.
- Categorize your portfolio offerings in an easy-to-understand way, with navigation links so that someone who wants to know about your point-of-sale display work doesn't have to wade through pages of print ads.
- Don't rely on clients' IT departments to be able to receive large files. Set up your own FTP server or other system for making your work available reliably.
- Use well-designed and well-written postcards to target potential clients, then follow up with individual e-mails to decision-makers. Yes, this requires a lot of research. Yes, it's still worth doing.
- Design a clear, attractive business card and order a lot of them. Give them to everyone you know. Even in a small town, there is freelance work to be had -- if people know you're there.