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For those who work at a design studio, how do you think your company usually gets new work?
It seems like at the one I'm at, it's like 85% personal relationships, referrals, or past clients. Only once in a while will get a random request for a proposal.
It is usually 95% relationship unless you are really well known.
Reputation and referrals.
word of mouth
At my last gig, their were two sales/new biz people. They did a lot of cold calling and following up on warm leads. Lot of work with little reward, but it had its benefits. Filled in some gaps where they lacked relationships.
Speaking as the owner, design director, and coffee bitch at my studio, at least 90% of my work to date has come through referrals, word-of-mouth, etc. I spent a chunk of change on some printed, perfect-bound copies of my portfolio, with tailored letters to send out for each recipient. Granted I've been so busy with client work in recent months that I've only had time to send out about 20 books, but to date the response has been nil. I thought the packages were pretty neat and slick with the black bubble mailers and all, but it's useless if there's no response.
I'm working on developing the social media stuff—i.e., studio blog, Facebook page, making better use of Twitter for my business, etc. Stuff I kinda hate (Twitter especially), but I think there are cheaper yet effective ways of marketing oneself than spending $3k on some shelf-warmers. Also planning to start sending out monthly e-newsletters.
Next step after that is to create a much more user-friendly website for myself. Got a lot of new work that I can't wait to show. Plus I really need a CMS so I can make regular updates. I might even forsake Flash (gasp).
And after all that, I'mm sure 90% of my work will still come through word-of-mouth.
- Our email newsletter is easily one of our best marketing tools. We get at least one new job every time it goes out.blaw
- Hmm, that's encouraging to hear, Brian. What sort of list do you have?gramme
- Previous clients, people we've spoken with that wish to be added and those that signed up on their own on our site.blaw
- So it's a very qualified list, but that's why it works.blaw
- Seems simple enough. Thx for the tips my friend. :)gramme
- Email newsletters to clients, family and friends are golden too! I've gotten work every time I've sent one out.boobs
I'm wondering now if the books are perhaps overwhelming and wasteful as a cold-calling device. Perhaps I should save them and only give them to warm leads, or upon request. (I suppose it would also help to have somewhere online where I let the public know that these books are available, and free for potential clients).
personally i wouldn't give a book to someone whose hand i hadn't shaken
- hmmm, good call, had we met in person at least, sure ;)version3
- good call - especially on a one-man studio budgetidentity
- You could shake an amputee's cock though, as a gesture of conviviality.Horp
- "Nice to meet you...Don't mind me, I'm just being convivial and lets be honest, you have no arms"Horp
if you are overloaded with work, you know what my email address is..
I think you're right, v3. Especially given the fact that I'll probably incur more expense on these books when I hire another printer to tear off the covers on my current batch of books and replace them. The reason: the books were printed on an Indigo press, which uses inks that almost cure immediately, and we ended up having to laminate the covers. The covers were printed with very heavy coverage (mostly rich black) on Mohawk Superfine. The printer used an offline UV coat to protect them, but the covers still scratched and cracked very easily. This is because the Indigo ink just sits on an uncoated page, and dries before it can sink it, unlike litho inks. Useful information to know early in the process while there's still time for me to change the design, not AFTER everything's been printed.
So with all these covers already printed and coated, the only viable option was to coat them again with a matte laminate. The problem there is that it no longer felt like Superfine, and the lamination collects fingerprints like nobody's business. Looks cheap. And on top of that, the hand-binding was really sloppy. Had a big thick lip on either side of the spine.
The printer gave me a discount in light of all that, but it was a small favor since I was left with books that are kind of embarrassing.
it's about 80% sucking cock here.
the other 20% is licking something else...
My last job was nearly all referrals/past clients/friends. Occasionally a new client through the web.
Now that I'm out on my own, everything is coming in through referrals of friends, family, and past coworkers/employers. I'm thinking of doing something soon to bump up my client base and expand. Maybe so I can outsource some of the web work.
I never know where work is going to come from. A surprising amount of it comes from these meetings of a local marketing group that I attend, where everyone is allowed to introduce themselves at the end. But sometimes the phone rings from someone I've met through golf, sometimes people I've met through tennis, sometimes a friend of a client. Anywhere you can meet people from the business world, and make a good impression on them, is a place where you can make a client.
Plus, if there are businesses you deal with regularly, (like the local coffee shop, or the place you get your cleaning done) after they've become familiar with you, introduce yourself and tell them what you do. Anywhere you're dealing with people, and not coming across as a total oaf, is a place to let people know what you do.
Also, keep in touch with people you went to school with. Especially if you went to art school. Some of the people you went to school with move up the ladder in the creative fields, and its nice if they remember you when they do.
gah, I tried local Chamber of Commerce events. Hated it. Bunch of ninnies selling miracle juice and crappy t-shirts. Or finance guys. Now there's an industry I really want to not break into.
I know, I know. It's not about picking up clients, it's about connecting with people. Nevertheless. Bleurgh.
I'm pretty awful at networking, so hence I rarely find new clients. Hell, I can't even get a web portfolio up. Lame.
yes... we're in the .. marketing and advertising business... but our own business is sales-and-personality driven, not, uh, marketing and advertising driven... strange how we don't eat our own dog food....
warm, golden, liquid leads
at my last studio it was all referral from existing clients, save for two gigs that came through our website.. that said, the jobs weren't flying in the door, so after a year or so of pushing, my boss finally hired a new business development person for just one day a week, small salary but good commission... within the first month she had already set up more introductory meetings than I'd seen in the entire 3 years prior... unfortunately it was all too little, too late, a few things were coming through but it was on the eve of the company going bust...
Point is, if you can find someone who's very well connected to either other large agencies that farm out work or to an existing client base, it's a worth while expense to bring someone on, even for a couple days a month...