This one is close to our hearts because some of our dearest referral partners are graphic designers. Research we’ve done on and off over the years to augment their marketing strategy has yielded some fairly unique scenarios.

For starters, SEO is not nearly as straightforward in graphic design as for other industries.

That’s primarily because most of the searches related to graphic design are people inquiring about:

  • how to become a graphic designer
  • how much money they can make being one
  • what school or training they need to become a graphic designer

Even sticking the word “services” or similar ideas at the end of the search doesn’t really change that much, so what becomes obvious is that it’s not viable for a graphic designer to optimize directly for their core service.

It’s not, after all, potential customers doing those searches. (As opposed to a business like “plumbing services” that is much more straightforward.)

The way around that primarily is to focus on answering specific questions related to graphical services, such as print, logos, web design, signs, business cards, etc.

That’s particularly valuable in cases where there’s a real sense of urgency, such as where a customer is under a deadline to get something printed (like a big promotion) and they realize they don’t have vector art.

If your content shows up for that kind of frantic search and you provide a good answer — without a lot of fluff — you’ll immediately have built valuable rapport. And if they notice that you also provide the service that solves that problem while on your site, calling you is a natural next step.

Once you’ve proven your value that way, you have a shot at keeping them as an ongoing customer.

Partnering With Associations That Need Graphic Design Services Regularly

Another solid idea for sidestepping the search and social media hurdles in graphic design is to seek out relationships with associations, such as restaurant and hotel associations.

These groups usually represent a number of businesses, all of which routinely use graphical services for menus, signage, table tents, etc.

For them, having ready access to a trusted resource recommended by their association is a win and can lead to a lot of repeat business for you when you do a good job.

The advantage of these partnerships for graphic designers is that restaurants will routinely need those services again. It’s not like a sign above the entryway that may stay the same for many years.

Food and drink specials change, menus wear out, and restaurants fluctuate with other marketing they want to promote, such as text campaigns etc. There’s often a need for new printed materials, which ends up meaning a new round of graphical design.

Packaging Graphic Design Services With Other Professionals

This is a tactic we have used for SEO and writing over the years to great success. Clients don’t always want to buy just copywriting services, but they do see value in having their website redesigned that happens to feature professionally written content.

When we’ve made solid partnerships with web developers, it’s a win-win. We can leverage their sales funnels, and they can promote that their websites feature pro content and SEO, which makes them more valuable than going it alone.

The same is true for graphic designers — whether you will be the one also building the site or if you’ll be partnering with someone else. It’s a great way to package your design skills in something in frequent demand.

Unlike we mentioned above about most graphic design-related searches not being relevant for a designer to get clients, searches for web design services are indeed pretty sales-motivated. There’s a lot of straightforward SEO opportunity for web developers, so those alliances are another workaround.

Much like with writing, most web developers are great at the technical end of things but aren’t necessary savvy with the creative and graphical bits, and they can sell a much higher end website if they have someone like you providing customized visuals.

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