May 23, 2023
Pssst…Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the episode, we wanted to let you know we have a new facebook group for this podcast! 🤗
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We are SO excited to share a step-by-step roadmap from early client touchpoints to the end of a project and beyond. An effective design process will help to make your work more profitable and fulfilling.
Let’s dive right in…
The first step to finding your dream client is to establish your purpose and create a vision of the life you want to live, doing the work you love.
Once you have a clear purpose, you can identify and define with vivid clarity your target audience…the type of person and business that needs your help and is seeking a transformation.
To attract your dream client, you need to discover a way to authentically and meaningfully speak to them in a unique and compelling way, so they feel seen, heard, and understood.
Create a brand voice that aligns with your values and resonates with your dream clients.
When a client comes across your message and feels like it was created just for them, they will want to reach out. Make it easy for them, create clear steps on all of your platforms for how they can speak to you.
We recommend an initial touchpoint form as the very first port of call…even if a potential client meets you at a party or a networking event—direct them to your form, located on your website. All roads lead to this form. This powerful little form is the perfect introduction to who they are and what their needs are, as well as establishing who you are for them. Your questions will indicate how you work and could even provide some insight into where your prices start (a lovely gate keeper).
After you review their form and check for any red flags, you book a discovery call to get a better understanding of their needs and expectations.
During the discovery call, you can run through ballpark costings with the client, indicating whether the pricing range sounds reasonable.
If you decide that the client is a good fit, you can prepare a cost estimate and send a design cost proposal and contract.
Once the client approves the design cost proposal, signs the contract, and pays a 50% deposit, you can send a link to Trello (or another project management system) with instructions, a welcome guide, and a link to book a 1-2 hr brand strategy session.
You’re now officially on the books! It’s time for conceptual work.
We highly recommend a brand strategy session. This deep dive session will inform your creative direction.
From here you’ll create a vision for the brand and share a Brand Strategy Board which demonstrates your initial vision for the brand.
Once the client approves the vision, you have the green light to proceed with realising the final concept.
It’s time to present your concept (Note we are saying concept singular—we have a one-concept rule). For more about this check out podcast Episode 8_How to present one concept with confidence.
You’ll then lead a presentation meeting to present your concept and get the client’s signed approval.
The reality is there may be final tweaks to your design. Make sure any changes or additions are as per your contract.
If there are more than expected changes or additions, refer to your contract and provide your client with a sub-contract.
All going to plan, you’ll receive a full body yes with signed approval to proceed to production.
At this point you should also have received your final 50% payment.
Now it’s time for production — you’ll be creating a brand manual, and preparing print-ready files.
If your service allows, this is where you manage any production quotes for printed collateral.
This is also the time when you would populate the website and roll out the brand onto any additional collateral pieces.
Only once you have received the final payment will you hand over the final design files.
Don’t give them the keys to the castle until this is done!
Archiving the project is the next step. Hopefully, you have been using best practices with your file creation and file management.
Then what? You are now at the end of the project, but for us, it’s not a wrap just yet!
It’s important throughout your entire process to not only focus on the design work but also on building a strong and lasting relationship with your existing clients.
Follow-up, referrals, and ongoing work are crucial to sustaining your business.
Here are some things you can do:
Provide quotes for any additional items presented or discussed that weren’t included in the first round, such as a brand manual or print production.
After completing a project for a client, show your appreciation by sending a thank-you gift and a link to a feedback questionnaire.
Once the client fills in the questionnaire, you should take the time to go through the feedback and put together a testimonial. You can then ask the client if you can use it for marketing across ALL of the platforms you use. Additionally, you can ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing a lovely photo for extra credibility. If you need a little inspiration on how to get testimonials, check out Episode 65 How to get testimonials for your graphic design business.
It’s also important to put together a schedule for ongoing touchpoints with clients once a project has launched.
These touchpoints could be automated using a workflow within Dubsado, which is our fav client management system.
When a client refers a new client to you, acknowledge the referral and send a surprise thank-you gift.
You can also consider offering the referring client a referral partnership, where they would receive a commission for every referral over a certain amount. Make it official – send them a Referral Partner agreement as a sub-contract.
If the client requests further quotes for more items, you can send them a design proposal or recommend a monthly retainer plan.
By having a solid, reliable roadmap where your clients know what’s going to happen next you will build a strong and lasting relationship with them, resulting in ongoing work and referralsfor years to come.
Establishing a clear design process is key to making your work more fulfilling and profitable.
If you feel like you have many missing pieces when it comes to your client journey—we’ve got you.
The Academy leaves no stone unturned—the complete business school for graphic, web and brand designers who want to gain confidence, secure dream clients and make more money!
Our roadmap can be all yours to adapt and implement. Your business, your way.
Check out The Academy’s full curriculum and next dates here.
Here’s to your beautifully run, thriving design business!
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