Tired of blending in? When you’re a small design business in a crowded space, it’s vital to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Whether it’s via search engine results or traditional printed advertising, attracting great clients is the name of the game.

So how do you differentiate your small business from regional, or even national, competitors? Here just nine ways to distinguish your brand and boost your marketing results.

1. Carve out a niche within your market

Becoming a specialist within a certain field is a great way to attract new clients, especially for new and upcoming businesses. When there are already a large number of competitors fighting for clients, carving out a niche within that field can make you stand out as an expert and an intriguing proposition.

By doing so, you can raise your rates and also benefit from stronger search engine optimisation, based on a more targeted selection of keywords.

For example, a new interior design firm, rather than targeting anyone and everyone, can focus exclusively on marketing luxury design services to high-income residential homeowners.

2. Invest in distinctive brand and web design

Appearance matters a lot when it comes to business marketing, especially online. It’s important to invest in the development of a distinctive brand identity, together with a strong website. A good logo and brand will catch the eye of potential clients and quickly build confidence in your skills and abilities.

Brand design includes the creation of a logo, colour scheme, and accompanying graphics. These are used for all marketing materials including a website, social media profiles, brochures, letterheads, proposals, invoices, leaflets, and a whole lot more.

3. Invest in strong marketing copy

Just as important as good design, is good copy. It’s the words on the page that ultimately convince prospects to make contact and hire your design services. You can have a wonderful looking website but if the wording is weak or shoddy, then people will leave.

Good copywriting (including SEO) can dramatically increase the number of leads you receive from the search engines, as well as the frequency of successful conversions you enjoy. Strong copy inspires and persuades. It builds trust. It compels people to buy.

Never leave the copy until the last moment. It should be written either before or during the design process, so it can influence the layout of a website, brochure, or leaflet.

4. Answer the most pressing concerns of your audience

Research what common problems and worries your target audience has. Then develop answers and solutions to these problems and desires, both in your marketing and of course in the services you provide. You’ll then be doing something most of your competitors won’t be.

When it comes to marketing, a blog section on your website is a great place to answer common questions clients have. A blog not only builds a relationship with potential clients but also saves you time by providing information they might otherwise ask you on the phone.

A frequently updated blog is also a magnet for search engine spiders who adore regularly published content. Well-written and search engine optimised (SEO) blog posts can work in attracting new clients for years and years to come.

5. Provide exceptional services

This could go without saying, but providing exceptional design services is vital. When one client loves what you do for them and the results/lifestyle they go on to achieve, then they’re going to be a wonderful source of referrals for you.

However, merely working hard and being skilled and talented, is not always enough. Exceptional services can be aided even more by creating intelligent packaged options, which become like products in themselves. From the potential client’s point of view, your selection of services suddenly becomes a lot more attractive than a competitor with similar skills but poor advertised services.

For example, a small web design team might develop strong exclusive relationships with talented developers, copywriters, and marketers. They can then create packages of services combining web design, web development, copywriting, and marketing, all in one.

Clients then have an enticing one-stop-shop for all their needs and requirements, rather than seeking out themselves different professionals for different services.

6. Always be looking to innovate

As a small creative design business, you are in a great position to practice innovative marketing methods and techniques. The natural creativity that forms your ethos and work, can be transferred to the marketing of your services and business as well.

You also have an advantage over larger competitors who might be a little slower to respond to new marketing trends and developments. Always be on the lookout for new and exciting ways to attract your perfect type of client.

Study your competitors and see where there are gaps in the market your services can fill. Think of new ways to deliver your marketing messages and improve how you connect and cultivate a relationship with both new and existing clients.

7. Take advantage of your unique values and passions

A great advantage you have, as a small design business, is the scope and ability to really showcase your values, passions and personalities on your website and in your marketing. This is something many other types of businesses in other industries can’t really do in the same way.

Designers are creative and passionate people. Prospects expect this – in fact, they demand this. Share what makes your team tick as well as what inspires, informs and intrigues you about your work, your clients, and your industry.

Be personal. Share stories. Show you truly care.

People will quickly warm to your design firm and will either become clients or act as brand ambassadors, sharing your content far and wide.

8. Maintain momentum and consistency

When it comes to marketing, momentum and consistency are key to success. Many small businesses begin a blog or create a number of social media profiles but after a few weeks, the updates and posts stop. Go to any design business website and you’re more likely than not to see a blog gathering dust with the last blog post update from months ago.

It’s understandable. Business owners are busy and when marketing results take time to materialise it’s all too easy to give up. But what differentiates the successful design businesses from the struggling majority, is the marketing momentum they build. This includes regular blog post publishing, the development of new marketing documents (case studies, brochures, white papers), frequent social media updates, and ongoing networking.

Push through the initial radio silence when you first begin a marketing strategy. Content marketing can take time but brings huge rewards when the momentum builds.

9. Smile!

No, this isn’t a call to wear an inane grin on your face all day.

But it is important to publish friendly-looking headshots of you and your team on your website and in various marketing materials. Many design businesses leave the potential client wondering what the designers look like, which hinders trust and likeability.

If everything else is equal, people will spend time and money with the designers who look warm and friendly. It really does make a difference.

Include these nice headshots throughout your website, in social media profiles or updates, in your marketing materials, and anywhere else where a friendly face will potentially make a difference.

Design Business Content Marketing Help

Need help developing a content marketing strategy for your design business? Whether you’re a web designer, graphic design firm, interior design studio, architecture practice, product design agency, or something else, then I can help you.

From marketing plans and blog posts to website copy, case studies, and white papers, as a specialist design industry copywriter, I have you covered.

Get in touch today to discuss your project details.

Web Designer - Copywriter Collaborations - White Paper by Edward Beaman

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Web Designer - Copywriter Collaborations

Speeding Ahead of Your Competition - Why Your Design Firm Needs a Copywriter on its Team, from the Start of Every Project​

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