February 9, 2022
A beautiful member of our community reached out to ask us to cover this topic.
They asked: “How do I find my first clients? The usual ways that people say work, don’t work for me 😩”
This really pulled at our hearts because we remember all too well what it was like in the early days of establishing our design businesses with little to no contacts.
We were once running businesses where we had to actively search for clients. In the beginning stages of our businesses, we didn’t have a consistent stream of work coming our way.
We had to take action.
Did these actions require a big budget? No
Did these actions require a lot of time? No
Did these actions require complicated steps? No
Did these actions require courage? Oooh, yes.
We now live in a pretty complicated world where there are so many possibilities — seemingly infinite promotional opportunities to pursue. Whereas, back when we started our business in the late 90s, the options we had to promote our business were quite limited. There was no Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn etc.
In hindsight, we can see that this may have worked to our advantage because we weren’t splitting our focus into so many different promotional directions like we see designers doing today. No wonder designers are feeling confused and exhausted.
We’re going to give you some ideas on what to do when you’re just starting out, based on what worked for us. And we recommend that you start with baby steps. Choose one idea, and go all-in on this for a set period of time, say 2 months. Track your efforts and measure the effectiveness of each method you try.
Step 1: Commit to your goal — write it down!
Step 2: Track and measure – this can be as simple as a piece of paper or a spreadsheet (note, we have a full system we teach in the Design & Prosper Academy!)
Step 3: Analyse your results. Ask yourself:
– How many potential leads did I have?
– How many of those leads converted?
– Where did my leads come from?
– What can I do differently next month?
Although we are big fans of intuitive business decisions and actions, one of our favourite business ideas is “What can be measured can be managed”, and we feel it is certainly one of the success factors in getting new clients.
Who do you know? Who do THEY know? What would happen if you mentioned to everybody you knew that you have started a design business and you are helping people with x, y and z?
Imagine if you had the courage to reach out and send a personalised message to every one of your facebook followers “Hey, I wanted to let know I’ve started a graphic design business! If you know anyone who needs a beautifully designed x, y and z, be sure to send them my way. Here’s where you can find out more”. Find the ambassadors that will tell your story for you.
Don’t make assumptions about who people know and the connections they may have. One of Kris’s first clients came from a quick chat over the fence with a neighbour, whose wife just happened to work in the marketing department of a blue-chip company. If Kris hadn’t mentioned she had started a graphic design business, this result would never have happened. Securing this client helped to leverage more and more work. This is how it goes!
Join the dots of all the people you know in your world…we suspect it might be bigger than you think. It could be your dance teacher’s sister who is going to be your next wonderful client! Stay open to the possibilities.
Where experience is lacking, infuse positivity and enthusiasm…it will be contagious.
We believe direct mail is greatly underutilised these days – it’s almost becoming a lost art. Other than a coupon for a local pizza place or a bit of boring government mail, we are not getting many exciting things landing in our physical mail boxes these days.
When Donna started her design career, one of her first jobs was for a high-end advertising agency in Sydney that specialised in direct mail—so she learned early about the power of this medium.
The idea is to directly target people you want to work with. Drive around your local area — who looks like a cool business that needs your help? Search on socials – who are the businesses that have great products or are doing great things but could do with an injection of beautiful, elevated design? Start making your wish list!
One of Kris’s first promos was a series of simple postcards sent to businesses that were on her wish list. This list included a restaurant, a landscape company, a hairdresser, an accounting firm etc. The postcards were fun and super cute. They were designed to catch attention amongst the big pile of mail that businesses would get each day. If there was no response, the business was followed up with a phone call to see if they would like to chat further. If they weren’t interested? Next!
Note: Kris shares these exact postcards in the behind the scenes of the Academy. So fun 🙂
We used to go to in-person networking events. We’d have a set number of events we committed to each month, and we honoured that commitment to ourselves. These can be things like business breakfasts and talks. If you are running a solo business and this feels hella intimidating, see if you can find a business buddy to go with you.
Where is your ideal customer hanging out? It could be in a facebook group, for example. What if you made a commitment to spend 20 mins each day providing helpful solutions and answers to problems in a facebook group that is full of your ideal clients?
Another idea is to follow people on socials that you would love to work with it. Engage—genuinely. Respond to stories, build a relationship. And then you could write a message about how much you would love to help them with your x, y z service and would you be interested in hopping on a zoom call to chat?
Our theme for 2022 is “Attraction” – but note that the word Attraction has the word ACTION in it.
In order to attract the people you want to help and serve with your beautiful creative services, you need to take inspired action.
A beautifully curated Instagram feed, (while helpful) may not cut it. A big following on Instagram does not necessarily translate to quality leads and actual dollars coming regularly into your door. So be sure about it and track those numbers!
You have a world of resources we didn’t have when we started out in business. Keep things simple, and don’t forget about the old-school techniques, because they still work.
Finally, don’t forget to track your efforts! This is so important because then you can really gauge the effectiveness of your activities. Say you haven’t gotten a new client from instagram and you’ve been plugging away at it for months? Well, maybe your time may be better served elsewhere.
Be courageous. You can do this…let’s get some projects in the door!!
Kris & Donna xo
P.S Be sure to let us know if you have any more podcast topic suggestions because we just might cover it in a podcast soon!
[00:00:00] Donna: Hello
[00:00:00] Kris: hello everybody.
[00:00:02] Donna: Okay. So a beautiful member of our community reached out to us to cover this topic for her.
She said, how do I find my first client, the usual ways are just not working for me. So I’m guessing that that is happening for a lot of you out there. And maybe it’s not your first client, maybe it’s the second and third and fourth client and the usual ways aren’t working for you. So today we wanted to share with you what has worked for us way back when, and even how maybe then to repurpose some of those ideas for this current landscape that we find ourselves.
[00:00:36] Kris: So even if you’ve been in business for a while, and you’ve got a bit of a consistent hum of clients, stick around, because there might be something new that you haven’t considered.
[00:00:45] Donna: Yeah, absolutely. And, and the thing is the older ways that, that we were using can be repurposed. We can think about them. We can twist them around in little ways to, to make them work in today’s current landscape. So we want to share those with you.
[00:00:59] Kris: Yeah. And we both, once upon a time had fledgling design businesses that didn’t have a consistent stream of income coming our way. We didn’t have people knocking on the door. You know, there wasn’t, there was nobody really, we didn’t really know that many people. We had to go out and get it. We had to go and find people who wanted to work with us.
[00:01:24] Donna: Absolutely. And we didn’t have the current landscape We didn’t have Instagram and we didn’t have half of what is happening right now for graphic design businesses. We, we are so excited by the opportunity that graphic design businesses have today because we didn’t have any of that. It was literally, um, we work with our backyard or maybe we’ll extend to the next capital city or the capital city in the next state, because we were willing to go that far, but it was wherever our legs were willing to walk, which really was where we would find our clients. So there’s so much more opportunity now.
[00:02:01] Kris: Mm, and the theme that you’ll hear today is that we had to take action. We had to actually take action and the word attraction has action in it. And that’s our business theme for the year, you may have heard us talk about that already or seen it on Instagram, but we suspect that where some designers are going wrong is they.
First of all are putting all their eggs in one basket. So they’re putting a lot of time and effort into something like Instagram, for example, it’s, you know, a designer’s playground because it’s visual and beautiful. And think if I actually share, share, share, and build my audience or build up my numbers there, then the people will come.
The people will come, it will translate into actual projects, but the followers might come, but are they actually the right people? That’s what you need to consider as well. You might have a following, but we’ve noticed that a lot of designers have a lot of other designers following them. Is that your ideal client audience?
Then it seems to be closely followed by content creators. So designers get a lot of content creators following them that the social media people, the marketing people, so that they can grab beautiful ideas so that they can grab beautiful little quotes or things that they can repost.So are they the sort of people who are going to be knocking on your door, you know, emailing you, reaching out.
[00:03:20] Donna: Yep. Not necessarily, especially if they are in the same industry as you and wanting to do the same things as you, or just wanting to create that beautiful content like, or snatch that beautiful content like Kris was just saying. So they then quickly become the wrong audience. It’s wonderful to have all of those followers, but if they aren’t the right audience, then we’re not speaking directly to the people who want to work with us. They just want to admire us and follow us and, and be our fans, which is lovely. It’s wonderful. But we want people who are actually wanting to work with us. So we have to actually slightly shift the messaging and really make sure we understand who we’re talking to when we’re on those platforms.
[00:04:01] Kris: So it’s really important that you look at who your ideal audience is, focus on them. How are they going to find out about you? This is the kind of work that we do in the academy. We have several modules just dedicated to unpacking who your ideal audience is and how are you going to find them and also about tracking them. Because you know, if you’re not tracking your efforts and you’re just throwing everything at Instagram, but you’re not seeing results, then that is not time well spent, is it? But it, could be Instagram, right. But if you’re not tracking it, you don’t know.
[00:04:33] Donna: Yeah, absolutely. So what we thought we’d do today is share with you some of the ways that we attracted clients in our early businesses, and let’s maybe unpack them a little bit and work out ways that we can twist them into being really helpful tools for right now.
[00:04:52] Kris: Yeah, so. A lot of you have heard my story and that I started my business straight out of uni straight after I finished my degree. I went into business and I really have to reiterate here that I was really unconnected with business. I didn’t have business connections. I didn’t have even a short list of people I could target.It was all brand new, starting from scratch and feeling very inexperienced going into that. So what we did, and it was just a really simple, simple, first thing that we did was we mentioned to everybody we knew that we’d started business. So it was myself and another business partner. We just let everybody know we’ve started business. And we weren’t even on Facebook back then there was no social media then I don’t know if Facebook existed in 1999. That’s when I started my business anyway.
[00:05:52] Donna: Hmm. Well, we went on there. I certainly wasn’t either at that, at that time either. So, no.
[00:05:58] Kris: Yeah. We just spread the word, let people know this is what I’m doing. And that was scary in itself because people. Yeah. Are they taking me seriously as a business owner? Well, perhaps not, but I’m just going to tell them anyway, I’m doing design services. If you know of anybody who needs business cards, if you know of anybody who needs signage or a logo or stationery, this is what I do. This is what we can do. So we’ve just let people know. And I was having a conversation with my neighbor, and it turns out that his partner worked at a very big company and he said, she works in marketing. She works in marketing there. Do you want to speak to her about this? I think she needs people like you. And I said, yes, yes, please. So I, I went in and had a little chat with her. I hadn’t really talked to her much before, but it was just about having the conversation in
[00:06:47] Kris: the yard, you know, watering the plants or whatever I was doing at the time the conversation started, he said, what are you up to now? You finished your degree? What’s what’s going on? You know, like putting the bins out, whatever it was. And then the conversation unfulred because I was brave enough to say I’m doing this and we’re looking for this particular kind of client. So that was our first big client. And it was a blue chip kind of client. It was a well-known client in our area. So it got us off the ground running. And I can tell you now the kind of work we did there was so basic. It was so ridiculously basic work, but just having that name on our books really helped. And we worked our way up. It was like, we did a little in-house newsletter. I think that was the first thing that we did, you know, it was just really simple stuff. We weren’t getting the serious stuff, you know, a marketing agency or a bigger just like they were testing us.
[00:07:35] Donna: They were testing yeah, can these, what can these girls do? Let’s just have a play for a little while, and then you proved yourself, right? And it just exploded. Yeah.
[00:07:44] Kris: That’s right. So, there’s other things that we did, which we’ll get into, but how would that apply to you today? How would that apply? So it was still the word of mouth and talking to your neighbor
[00:07:54] Donna: yeah. over the fence.
[00:07:55] Kris: over the
[00:07:56] Donna: through, through the cracks, wherever. Yeah.
[00:08:00] Kris: Also, you’ve got Facebook, you’ve got other social platforms where you can spread the word and let everybody know, Hey, I’m doing this now. Do you know anybody who needs design work? I’m available. I’d love to help. I’m so passionate about this. Infuse your passion, where experience is lacking infuse passion, passion, passion, passion for design, passion for service. That’s how you start.
[00:08:26] Donna: Absolutely passion for the type of work that you want to attract. So when you’re talking about your work, it’s really clear. You need to have a really clear vision on the type of work that you want. So we, we really believe in attracting the right work is worth as much as attracting clients. So when you talking about it, make sure that you give enough information and enough of a, an overview so people can match you to the right people so they can go, oh, that’s the type of work that would suit this business or that business. And I’ll let them know. Because you want to be able to manage, the influx of, you know, people knocking on your door.
Let’s be really optimistic, um, and go, that’s the type of work I want. Yes, you can come in and no, that’s not quite the right fit for me. So make sure you set it up from the get go. So when you’re starting to talk about your business, talk about the type of work you do, the type of work you’re passionate about. So that, that translates to whoever you’re talking to. And it lands. Yeah, you want it to land. So they, they get it. They get the type of work that you do. So they’re not just recommending anybody.
[00:09:28] Kris: Mm, so imagine sending a message, a personalized message to everybody in your Facebook contacts list. Does that scare you? Does that scare the absolute pants off you right now? It’s like, what? How could I do that? Imagine telling everybody what you’re doing and to follow your journey. And do they know anybody? Because who do they know? You don’t know who they know, but who do they know? You just never know. It’s like this neighbor I was talking to. Their partner was in marketing. I had no idea, no idea that they had that role. So don’t make assumptions.
[00:10:11] Donna: don’t make assumptions. That’s it. And also be because you never know who people know, my mum taught me, um, be kind and caring always because you never know how that person’s going to come back into your life later down the track. So always be, putting your best foot forward and putting the right message forward. Whenever you’re talking about business, because you never know someone might go, I knew you as a 12 year old. Oh, hello. Now you’re doing this. And there’s that teeny tiny connection that they had when you were a 12 year old. And now all of a sudden it’s come full circle and you’re potentially could be doing their design work for them. So, yeah, that’s just a karmic thing that I like to think about. So. You never know. And even, even if you’re telling your story to a whole heap of people and nothing happens initially, and it’s slow going, you never know when that might come back again. So you might have a conversation at coffee shop today, but you might not actually get contacted for eight months because it was such an engaging, beautiful conversation. And it triggers a thought when that person’s having a conversation with their marketing manager. Ah, I know. And they’ll make the match. So yeah, always be prepared to tell your story.
[00:11:21] Kris: Mm, having an elevator pitch is really important too, so that you know, that barbecue pitch, you know, you’re, you’re somewhere, you’re social, you run into somebody at a cafe that you haven’t seen for a long time and they ask you what you’re up to and what do you do. And that’s something we help designers with in the academy as well, making sure you’ve got all those scripts ready to go and they can just roll off the tongue and you’re not put on the spot and you can be effective in those moments when you do have an unexpected situation pop up.
[00:11:49] Donna: I love that, Kris, that’s it. It’s effective communication about what you do. That’s the key it’s it’s making sure it really does land. So yeah, that’s it.
[00:11:57] Kris: So don’t make assumptions. Don’t think I know nobody. You don’t know your, your dance teacher who you may be Facebook friends with may have a parent or a sibling who has a multi seven figure business with a team of 50, who knows, who knows what’s going on with people’s families and their friends and their connections. And they might go, wow, that’s really cool. I love that you’re doing that. I, I actually do know somebody.
[00:12:26] Donna: yeah,
[00:12:26] Kris: So be brave. It’s a brave action step.
[00:12:29] Donna: Yep. Yep. Absolutely. There’s so much courage that you had speaking over the back fence, kris, that day to get that first client. That’s very courageous. Love it. Okay. And the other things that you can do, I came from, you would also know my story if you’ve been listening in from the get-go with our podcast. I came from advertising. So I came from, um, a Sydney, uh, advertising agency. And I was unlike Kris. It was a fledgling business, but had already been going for about a year, in the very early stages of my business, there were two other partners and myself. We were trying different ways to get the business off the ground. And at that time where we all said, let’s do this, I wasn’t in a financial position to do it straight away. I had to give it another year before I could leave my job and then go to them. But what that did, which was wonderful was gave me lots more experience with regard to the structure of business and advertising and targeting audiences and things like that. So when I arrived, to my business, we were three young girls going, oh my gosh, how do we get clients? My strength was direct mail advertising. And so we, we got to it, we got to targeting people specifically. We looked at the businesses that we wanted to work with. We found out the people who were in a position of power at those businesses, the people who could make decisions, the people who would want to talk to us and who would be able to sign off on a contract to work with us. So we found out who they were and then we went about working out ways that we could actually work with them. So we were like, okay, what could we offer them? And so we specifically told them a story of how we’ll work with them. So we directly targeted them, spoke to the person. So they felt really seen. And back in the day, that was really important to get a package that was to that person hand delivered to that person, here it is. This is the type of work we do. This is the passions that we have for the work that we do. This is how we see us elevating your business. And almost nine out of 10 times, we got a phone call because it was so strategically targeted that we were like, yes, we want to work with you. And they were seen, they were really seen. So how could we do that today in today’s environment? There’s a lot of social media and a lot of people are depending on the social media platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn and Pinterest and things like that, how can we target our audience and make them feel seen and make them feel special?
[00:15:08] Kris: Mm, that’s exactly right. And direct mail is not used that much anymore because it was just the main way that creatives, creative service providers will get work prior to social media. So we would send out postcards. That was our first little promo was, a little postcard series and we couldn’t afford to do it right upfront. We had to do things like go to networking functions. Can you imagine back in the day, going to networking functions like any kind of business function we, we slotted them in, you know, we, we measured it, we went, okay. We are committing to doing X amount of functions every single month. And we’d cross them off when we’d done them. You know, like, Hey, we’ve done our three. Okay. We we’ve done done our duty. Um, Until we had a little bit of money coming in to the business. We couldn’t afford printing because we didn’t really have digital printing back then, unless we did it on our own laser or in jet printer. And so we were waiting, waiting, waiting so we could get our business cards and all our things. And we’ve got it all printed on the one sheet all together. We got these little postcards done and they were really powerful. There are really effective little postcards and they weren’t, you know, jaw-dropping creativity. We actually share them in the academy. It’s like something behind the scenes that we sharing the academy, those postcards that Kris used to get clients which actually worked, and what they said. And we will like, um, like Don said, We didn’t want to send them to everybody, and we wanted to make sure they were the kind of people we wanted to work with. So we went on little hunting expeditions, you know, we’d go around in the car and we’d make a little day of it. Maybe get some lunch or something. And we drive around areas and go, Ooh, that business and that business, and we get their details and address. And we’d get excited about it and think about what we’d love to do, we’d visualize it. We’d love to do their signage. We’d love to do, um, their business cards or whatever it was because there was a lot of stationery happening back in the day when we were doing it was brochures, business cards and that sort of thing.
[00:17:14] Donna: It was print, it was all print.
[00:17:16] Kris: Yeah.
[00:17:17] Donna: print. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:17:19] Kris: So it was very uplifting to go around and do these little journeys to see who could we help? Who could we serve? And then target them. And we, we took it a step further because maybe our promotion wasn’t as successful as yours Don because we had to follow up with a phone call, which was scary as anything. And we’d take a deep breath and okay, let’s do this. Let’s um, let’s follow up. Did you receive the postcard that we sent? This is Kris I’m from, you know, X design studio. We’d love to work with you. We do this, this, and this, and make that phone call. And that was really scary. And sometimes we would get a really dismissive response, even a rude response, but sometimes it was like they were opening the door right up, and they were excited and they were like, yes, I did get that now. Where did I put that? And, they were excited and they wanted to meet, so that was the next step. Make a meeting, go and talk to them, show them our portfolio, because we lugged this big thing around this big portfolio around.
[00:18:17] Donna: Remember the portfolio? Oh my gosh. That’s so brings back memories flooding in where you’re trying to look the part, you got your good gear on and you know, your heels and the big portfolio. Oh, that’s so funny, but Kris’s right. You do have to follow up with a phone call. Whether they responded to us or we called them first, it would have been either or, but because there’s that connection, they were excited to, to come on board and work with you. So you do have to be courageous and you do have to, to follow through. It’s not just, Ooh, we’ve got this gorgeous thing. We’re going to drop it off and hope for the best and hope they call you because that’s not always going to be the case. The other thing is you’ve got to be really careful if you are going to be doing this. There will be gatekeepers. There will be beautiful staff that are there to support the decision-maker so they come in the form of receptionist or PA or whatever. And that’s the person’s gatekeeper. So if a beautiful direct marketing piece lands with the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper then makes a decision whether or not it gets through to the, to the person, that’s when it’s really critical that there’s this element of, of it being that next level personal. So that it’s almost like remiss if it doesn’t make it through to the intended person, because if you get it through to the intended person, then you really have got a good shot of talking to them when you need to call them, when you need to get that courage to call them, or hopefully they’ll call you. So, it’s important that you do do your homework. You do do your recky like Kris was saying, she’s driving around doing the research, knowing what she wanted to do, then finding out the people’s names. We did all of those things as well. And so it’s really important to just make sure you do know the person that a direct mail piece needs to arrive to. That’s really, really important. You’ve got to try and weave around the gatekeepers to make sure it gets, gets to them.
[00:20:11] Kris: That’s really important when you’re targeting larger businesses. And I think we were too intimidated to target large businesses when we first started out in business. So we targeted the more moms and dads businesses, the sole trader type businesses.So we actually just put the name of the business in there and just hope that it got through to the right person. And it did, it did, oftentimes it did. And it was successful. That, that first two years of business, really that postcard campaign was what brought in the most business for us. Simple little postcards, people, that’s, it it’s a no-brainer really?
[00:20:48] Donna: yeah,
[00:20:50] Kris: so, how would that apply it today? How would that apply in today’s landscape?
[00:20:57] Donna: I was thinking the research would be so much easier today because people really love to tell an about story for their business. So if you’re going to jump onto their website and find out a little bit about business, it’s actually really easy to do. It’s really easy to see in their Instagram what’s going on for them.And this is how I get so excited about the real close match, the niche and the real target that you can have, because you really do understand who the potential client is, what their mission is, what their values are, what their ethos is, and you can really speak to that and really understand it. And the person’s usually there front and center. This is who I am. This is my business, and this is my team. And then you’ve got a beautiful access into the person’s team. So it can be a little bit easier, I feel now, to find that out. so that’s great. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with postcard campaign. Today right here today. Right now, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s beautiful because that’s a bit of a lost art. So I think, I think a lot of clients will be excited about receiving something that has been sent directly to them and that it is a printed thing that they can touch and feel and turn over. Because that’s not happening as much in the landscape today.So you will stand out just because you’re doing something that nobody else is doing. Really. Not, not that we, believe anyway, we’re seeing a lot of marketing, that’s digital marketing, but we’re not seeing a lot of direct mail printed marketing. And we think that that’s something that’s really underestimated in today’s landscape.
[00:22:35] Kris: And it’s funny, there’s something really human about getting a tactical. beautiful paper, beautiful paper stock, or whatever it is and feeling it. And even if you hand write their details, their name, that humanistic touch is there. And it’s a really beautiful thing.Don’t underestimate the power of that as well. And you’ve got LinkedIn as well. That was another thing. Like you can find people’s details and their actual position descriptions in LinkedIn. That’s wonderful. Another way that you could do it. If you’re really starting out in your budget is super, super low. Like mine was for marketing. Like you’re thinking, how am I even going to afford to get some postcards done, start developing beautiful relationships with people through your socials. So in Instagram, you know you want to work with them, right? You’ve seen this business and you’re interacting with them in a very genuine way. And then something comes up in one of their stories and you respond to it and then you’ve got a little conversation going and then it’s like, I would love to help you with your branding. I would love to help you with your social media presence. I would love to help you with your website. I have so many ideas and I would love to hop on a call with you or I’d love for you to see my work, here it is like, even if they’re not following you, just you can reach out that way as well in a very genuine non sleazy kind of way. It’s meaningful.
[00:23:56] Donna: It is so meaningful. So beautiful. I love that ability that we don’t have to get too deep and too detailed, but we just need to be a really great listener and really observant and be able to see those opportunities where we can engage in an authentic way. So that’s definitely a big part of what we believe a marketing strategy should be today. On the, um, not being able to afford print, one of the things that we used to do in our business a lot , we had a relationship with our printer, where whenever we did a client project, we would actually speak to our client and our printer and say, can we piggy back on this run. And so we would actually get a piggyback, so we would get whatever was going to be cut off. So usually a sheet will have some excess and we’d say, what’s the excess on this job? And our printer became really, really good at knowing, um, whenever there’s a decent excess that we could probably piggyback on and he’d say, there’s going to be an excess of this size. What can you do with that? And we’d like, oh, we can, we could do a little, a little brochure with that, we could do a little book with that. We could do this with that. And we’d always get permission from our client and then we’d play. And we’d had this excess that we would get pretty much for free, because. It was going to be thrown away. It was going to literally land cut off on the floor at the printers. So we were always thinking, how can we maximize our ability to be able to speak to our clients? And where can we have really beautifully printed work? And our printers started to become a bit of a, a collaborator with us on that. So great relationships with your printers, if you are doing print based work, great relationships with your clients, because they get excited for you. It’s like, absolutely. So it’s, that’s something that I’d really like you to consider if you are a print based design business.
[00:25:43] Kris: Mm, cause if you are a print based design business, it makes sense to use print based promotion, right? To promote, so that you can really show off and you have the luxury of beautiful quality digital printing these days as well, which probably came into our careers about five years into our businesses. And it was very exciting, but it was very limited. It was like, yeah, you got your glossy gloss or your glossy gloss, which can be really fun.
[00:26:13] Donna: Yeah.
[00:26:14] Kris: can be fun, you know, to use a bit of gloss sometimes, but it was not always what we had in mind. But nowadays, there’s just so many options with very short runs, small runs. So you could actually do five or 10 of these things and just get them printed,
[00:26:27] Donna: Absolutely. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be expensive. And, and if you could just do one at a time, you could go, I’m going after that person, that business that’s the client that I want. So I’m just going to do that one thing and you could really tailor it and make it a smaller investment. So yeah, absolutely make sure that you’re not cutting yourself short and things like that, but there are always ways around reaching out to people in a really intimate way, where they can be really seen. And it’s not just a, you know, a great big group thing, a great big group email or whatever. Yeah.
[00:27:00] Kris: yeah. So have you ever done that, you know, have you ever actually reached out to somebody direct reach out or you’re always waiting for people to reach out to you, like even in the DMS? Like, are you saying, you know, I, I would just love to help you. That’s a beautiful thing to say, to offer, and these are the ways I can help you. I’m so excited about your business. I think there’s so much potential there for this beautiful brand or this beautiful image or whatever it is that you do or this beautiful website, whatever it is that you do.
[00:27:29] Donna: And be courageous. That’s the key be courageous. You’ve got so much to share and it’s okay to say here I am. And this is what I’d like to share with you. Just do it. Just be courageous.
[00:27:42] Kris: Yeah. And infuse your passion for them and their business and for what you can do infuse it. Yeah. So, after the little postcard campaign, we used that for a couple of years, we were able to level up and do some other kinds of promotions. And eventually we had a very expensive to produce company profile. Um, it was like a portfolio slash about us. You know, it was really, a story that it told, and we had a custom envelope done and it was very fancy printing. And I actually thought it was like a couple of dollars per unit. And so that’s why we held back, sending it to that many people, because we’d be very selective about who received this, but I was having coffee with my old business partner. And she said, no, it was like $15 per unit. And I was like, ah, okay. Yeah,
[00:28:34] Donna: I, I believe that Kris I’m like, that was it’s so beautiful. I still have one of your beautiful. Uh, promotional pieces. It was next level stunning because of the stitch. It was sewn and it was just absolutely beautiful. It was embossed. It had all the bells and the whistles as well as telling the story and really reiterating that you are an authority in this area and it showed that you were really highly capable of transforming the clients you were targeting. So it was really beautiful, really effective piece of communications. And it did cost you a little bit, but, but, that’s okay. You, you waited until you had the funds in the business to be able to do that. So, you know, it’s about small steps, you know, do what you can afford and build up to that later down the track.
[00:29:26] Kris: Hmm. Yeah. Before we go to our custom envelopes, we did custom wrapping paper and we wrap up the profile and send it like that. And that was really beautiful and fun too, so have fun with it as well. That’s really important. Let your personality shine through, let your design aesthetic shine through and really showcase what you can do with it.
[00:29:44] Donna: Yeah, absolutely. Um, and then before long you have people who will become ambassadors for you and they will be telling your story for you. And you know, our first port of call for ambassadors is our moms and dads, our aunties, our family and our friends. And we, again, want to reiterate. Make sure that your story is clear that you are communicating the type of client you want to work with and the type of work you want to do, and make sure you have these conversations regularly with the people who are your ambassadors, so that when they are really confidently, happily telling your story, and you’re not there, they’re telling the right story. So just make sure that you get them to pass on the right information. And they will, because I know I’ve done it for many of my friends. I will tell their story and it’ll gush from me and I don’t require confidence because I’m being an ambassador for somebody else. I can confidently tell it without any emotion or any connection to the outcome. So that’s what an ambassador will do for you. They will tell your story hopefully eloquently and hopefully passionately and hopefully accurately. So that then that will land and the type of people that you do want will come to you.
[00:31:01] Kris: Yeah. So you’re creating something, start small, measure it, track it. Don’t just like throw it out into the universe and then hope for the best and close your eyes and, you know, ignore it. It’s like you’ve got to follow up. So track it as well. Um, we have systems for that, that we share in the design and prosper academy. it’s very important that you can measure it because what can be measured can be managed. There’s so much truth in that you’ve got to measure it.
[00:31:29] Donna: So much truth. Absolutely. And when we are measuring things, we are taking out assumptions because we might assume that Instagram is the best platform for us. then when we actually start measuring, we see, oh my goodness, LinkedIn was phenomenal for conversions for me. Or that direct mail piece that I did. It’s a hundred percent conversion. Wow. That’s where my energies need to go. So measuring enables you to be really, really clear and throw assumption out the window. You will know, you’ll be able to look at it and you’ll know.
[00:32:05] Kris: And then when you’ve got this humming thriving design business ecosystem happening, and you’ve got a really healthy client base, then like Donna was saying, the repeat business happens. You’re not having to reach out to as many new prospects as before, because you’ve got that repeat business and then you can start doing official referral programs as well, which is another thing we cover in the academy or how to do that and how to reach out to people and things to say, to make it happen. And the different kinds of models you can have within that. So there’s so many options, but it is about baby steps and just being brave and putting yourself out there and yeah.
[00:32:43] Donna: Yes. Be brave. You can do this and make sure that you let us know if you have any more podcast topics that you’d like us to unpack because this has been fun and you never know. It might be very, very soon. We get excited when we get a podcast topic recommendation, and we’re like, does it fit in our schedule? We’re so excited. We’ll squeeze it in straight away. So you never know. So send those into us. We’re really keen to hear about it.
[00:33:07] Kris: Yes. Absolutely. All right. You’ve got this. Be courageous. It’s scary. We all feel it. We all feel that fear. We talked about that last podcast. It can feel scary. That’s ok. All right. And if you need a little bit of a boost about, you know, feeling more courageous, go and listen to that episode, that’s episode 53. All right, everybody.
[00:33:28] Donna: Okay.
[00:33:29] Kris: Bye
Have a beautiful week. Bye.
[00:33:31] Donna: bye.
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