How to Market Yourself in a Competitive Design Field
Marketing yourself within a slew of competition in the design field can be a challenge. Savvy designers understand that it takes more than working hard and hoping someone recognizes them for new opportunities or work. Marketing can help you meet the right people, at the right time – a successful positioning strategy that will help you get ahead faster. It is important, especially as a young designers, to position yourself appropriately within the design industry. Marketing takes great planning about how you want to be viewed by others, in order to have a clear position within a competitive landscape.
Obviously you want to position yourself in a desirable position within the market to appeal to potential clients. Positioning is all about how clients view you within the industry – attempting to clearly differentiate yourself from competition. In a competitive market, you can’t be everything to everyone (you could come off as desperate for business). Targeting new markets is a good way to diversify your service offerings.
In order to begin positioning yourself, you need a one or two sentence blurb about what you do and what makes you different. For example:
“I am a [job title] providing [services] to [type of clients you work with]. Our [USP] provides clients with [these benefits].”
This automatically positions yourself within a sector of the market. Your core competencies will provide for most of your paid work, so this statement should reflect that. Define your goals and the benefits you offer to the marketplace:
- Your natural talents and abilities, interests and positive personality traits
- Are you a generalist or specialization (or a combination of both)?
- What do I have to offer to prospective clients or future employers?
Have a Unique Selling Point
What will make clients choose you over someone else? What’s something that you’re really good at? Your USP should be clearly defined and highlighted. If you don’t have a factor that sets you apart from others, you’re already at a disadvantage. Having a unique selling point is part of knowing yourself as a person. You need to have a clear distinction between you and others – something that will attract the right type of clients. This could be, for example, your many years of experience, your track record of proven results with businesses you have worked with or your superior skills within a specialty.
Marketing Provides You With More Opportunities
One of the main goals of marketing yourself is to establish yourself as a perceived expert in your field, and have others recognize your talents. In marketing, you have to think of yourself as the”product” and your talents as your “service.” It’s your responsibility to decide which services you have to market to your customers.
Marketing is an aspect of a designers career that should remain consistent. As a beginner, even starting with the basics of marketing can push you in the right direction of exposing yourself to new opportunities and connections. Even if you are a talented individual, it won’t guarantee you a job. Marketing not only makes you more attractive to clients and employers, it reaps benefits such as credibility, visibility (being seen by the right people) and establishes you as competent and professional.
One of the most effective ways a young designers can market themselves is through sites like Twitter or Dribbble, that have a high number of scouts always looking for fresh talent. Blog, post new work, interact with other designers and participate in activities in your community. Talent alone won’t make you a success, you have to be prepared to market yourself in a competitive field.