Implementing an effective marketing strategy for graphic designers is more accessible than ever before. But it’s essential that you avoid the common mistakes that many businesses and entrepreneurs make.
The information here will serve as a valuable guide for avoiding these mistakes and adopting an effective marketing protocol.
As I’m providing a lot of detailed information, I’ve decided to break this topic into a series of posts. This article is therefore part 2 of my free marketing strategy for graphic designers.
If you’d like to first read part 1 of this series – where I discuss choosing your objectives, target audience and the correct platform – then please follow this link here!
Otherwise, let’s have a look at the topics discussed in this post!
- Summary Of Steps 1 & 2
- Step 3: Decide On A Marketing Strategy
- Step 4: Craft An Enticing Offer & Message
- Conclusion: Looking Ahead To Part 3
Summary Of Steps 1 & 2
In part 1, we reviewed how to narrow in on your objective(s) and your audience and how to subsequently choose the right platform for your marketing strategy.
A large portion of the discussion focused on how the customer’s mindset, or state-of-mind, varies between different platforms and the importance of this fact when creating any marketing campaign or content strategy.
This concept will be mentioned again in this post as well.
So let’s move on to step 3 of this guide’s marketing strategy for graphic designers!
Step 3: Decide On A Marketing Strategy
This section examines how to Choose your content strategy and how you want to reach your target audience.
Although you should start off by using just one or two of these methods, you ideally want to expand your strategy as you grow, develop and improve your marketing.
Also, many of these strategies can work off of each other in a synergistic way.
For example, creating content and using an SEO strategy for Google ranking perfectly supports a Pinterest SEO/Paid ad strategy (since you’ll be linking your Pinterest pins directly back to your blog for traffic).
Also remember from step 2 of part 1 (Choosing the Right Advertising Platform), it’s essential that you keep in mind the user’s state-of-mind across different platforms.
So while visitors on Pinterest are likely searching for inspiration, shopping and to have questions answered, people on Facebook (or Instagram) are probably looking to be entertained and/or engage with friends and family (i.e., they’re not in a buyer’s state-of-mind).
So be sure to match your marketing strategy, content and objectives with your prospect’s state-of-mind depending on the platform that they’re visiting.
Similar to search engine marketing, you can approach social media from two angles: free or paid.
Each have their benefits and drawbacks but I recommend considering both for a truly well-rounded strategy.
In fact, starting with free methods is my preferred method.
A free social media strategy for business and marketing involves consistent content creation, brand building, interaction and engagement.
Ultimately, you’ll be working towards growing an engaged following and a recognizable brand image.
Actually, brand building is an often overlooked – but very effective – function of a well executed social media strategy.
Especially as a graphic designer, using highly visual platforms (such as Instagram, Pinterest or even TikTok) are fantastic opportunities to build brand through your work, content style and profile design.
The key is to be consistent and interact with your following as well as your industry and profiles or communities relevant to yours.
Since this is not paid advertising, you want to focus on adding value and not selling too much (except on Pinterest, which has more users in a buyer’s mindset).
Here are 4 general content strategies for social media:
- Entertaining Content
- Educational Content
- Inspiring Content
- Insteresting or Shareable Content
Here are some tips for a free social media strategy that builds brand and supports engagement:
- Invite people to comment and/or interact with your posts (by asking questions for example)
- Always respond to comments
- Engage with and comment on other people’s posts (not selling, but genuinely interacting with people and not asking for anything in return)
- Post daily (at least)
- Post interesting, educational or inspiring content (do what fits your brand, expertise, audience and personal preferences)
- Brand each post and image/video by using similar colors, fonts and designs (this is after all your specialty!)
- Run contests, challenges and giveaways to increase engagement (such as picking random winners from the comments)
- IDEA: Run contests offering to do a professional graphic design for your followers (suited to the type of content they share, whether that’s selfies or travel photos, create something cool for people for free as a way to interact with and build trust and emotional connections with people)
- Offer exclusive deals and discounts only to your followers (enticing people to follow you)
- Remember, people use social media to be, well, social
- So create content that’s suitable for this state-of-mind and your target audience
Recommended Read: How To Use Social Media To Grow & Promote Your Business
Search Engine Marketing: Free & Paid Strategies
A free search engine marketing strategy really comes down to content marketing and ranking for certain keywords in your niche.
This strategy is my personal favorite and one of the best ways to guarantee long-term, sustainable traffic that will continue to grow with minimal upkeep or maintenance (compared to other methods).
However, it does require proper keyword research, competitive analysis, SEO (search engine optimization), upfront work (with little to no return) and patience.
But again, once implemented, it’s essentially an automated traffic-generating system that runs on auto-pilot.
This opens up various monetization opportunities beyond your graphic design services – such as ad placements, consulting, selling design templates, affiliate marketing, merchandising or selling your own digital products like online courses or eBooks.
Since I won’t go into a full tutorial on SEO strategies and ranking in Google, here is a link to a powerful free training from the HubSpot Academy on how to find the best SEO strategy for your business!
Briefly however, here is a list of some top tips for search engine marketing and ranking using an SEO strategy:
- Create High Quality, Value-Adding, Long-Form (1,500+ words) Content
- As A First Milestone, Aim To Create 30+ Articles
- Target Keywords That Have Decently High Search Volume But Low Competition
- Use Google’s Autosuggest Feature To Do Keyword Research & Brainstorming
- You can also use a free tool like Ubersuggest to do keyword research
- Analize the Competition For Particular Keywords
- Are all the websites ranking on page 1 for a particular keyword well-established with high domain authority? If so, you’re not likely to rank for this phrase
- Check how long their content is
- If you notice a lot of weak, personal blogs ranking (especially with posts that are old), that can be a good sign for opportunity
- Go Niche & Target Long-Tail Keywords (which will have less traffic volume but also less competition)
- Add the Keyword In Your Title & At the Beginning Of Your Post
- Use Headings & Organize Your Post Neatly
- Use Images & Videos Within Your Posts
- Break Up Your Text & Avoid Long Running Paragraphs
- Edit & Design With A Mobile-First Strategy (such as shorter paragraphs and centered images on their own line)
Recommended Read: Step-by-Step Guide For How To Write A BlogPost (+ Free Templates)
Since SEO and ranking in Google takes time (potentially up to 35 weeks or more), there is a different way to capture that high-quality search traffic (who are in a buyer’s state-of-mind): Paid Google Ads.
This is an extremely powerful paid marketing strategy since you’re targeting people at the exact moment they are searching for solutions to specific problems based on specific keywords.
Compared to social media marketing (where people are not actively searching for solutions to problems), Google ads can potentially give you higher conversions and may require less retargeting and marketing gymnastics.
This is not to discredit social media marketing, which offers more flexibility, opportunity for brand building, ad testing and customization, customer engagement and affordability.
But for social media ads, you may need to pay closer attention to interruption marketing tactics, who you’re targeting and where they are within the sales funnel matrix (i.e., cold traffic versus warm traffic versus hot leads or existing customers).
If you’d like to learn more about using Google ads, check out their free Skillshop resources and training here!
Otherwise, let’s talk about a quicker way to generate free organic traffic using SEO: Pinterest Marketing.
Pinterest Marketing: Free & Paid Strategies
Google ranking takes a long time. So is there a quicker way to generate free, organic traffic? Luckily, there is. And it’s called Pinterest marketing.
In fact, Pinterest is actually closer to a search engine than a social media platform and it’s a powerful tool for bloggers and website owners hoping to reach new customers and generate high volumes of traffic quickly.
Similar to Google, users on this platform are closer to a buyer’s state-of-mind.
Actually, as reported by Social Media Today, one Pinterest study showed that its users tend to be higher income earners and over 90% used the platform to plan or make purchases.
So as you can imagine, reaching this audience with your content is absolutely worth investing time into. You’ll first want to think about why people are on Pinterest and the type of client you could potentially target.
For example, you could create a pin targeting bloggers (which there are many on Pinterest), which would link to a post on how they can improve their branding, professional feel and website conversions by implementing your simple and affordable graphic design techniques.
This would drive targeted traffic interested in using graphic design to improve their online business to your website content.
As people begin visiting your website, you’ll not only be establishing and building trust, but you’ll also be collecting visitor data, which you can use to send retargeting social media ads to.
Do take note that this would require installing the Facebook pixel code onto your website (which is actually quick and painless) so you can track and gather visitor data.
Furthermore, driving visitors to value-adding content also means you can more easily grow your email list.
Once people are on your website, you can simply offer links and menu tabs that direct people to a contact page for anyone interested in working directly with you.
Finally, if you’re creating quality content and generating high volumes of visitors (from Pinterest or Google) you can easily monetize that traffic by simply adding ads to your posts (such as using Google’s AdSense network).
Similar to Google SEO, Pinterest marketing requires that you create pins and content targeting keywords that people are searching for on Pinterest.
However, ranking for competitive keywords is easier here compared to Google.
If implementing a Pinterest strategy sounds like something you’d like to try, then check out the free resources by Anastasia Blogger. She has an expansive YouTube channel, a ton of free content and a paid course to learn all the ins and outs for Pinterest marketing.
Finally, although the free Pinterest marketing strategy is fantastic for generating massive amounts of traffic to a website, you can also consider using the platform’s ad network.
Compared to other ad networks, such as Facebook or Instagram, Pinterest is often overlooked by businesses and entrepreneurs.
However, the opportunity for reaching new customers and making conversions is impressive.
Remember the stats from above on Pinterest’s user spending behavior. As such, advertising to this type of traffic can really support a positive ROI and high ROAS (return on ad spend).
Regardless if you use free or paid Pinterest marketing, you’ll first want to create a (free) Pinterest Business account.
From there, you’ll want to optimize your pins, boards, profile and name towards the specific keywords, niche and industry you’ll be curating content for.
YouTube: Free & Paid Strategies
YouTube is the second largest search engine (to Google). And creating content for this platform is an excellent opportunity for graphic designers looking to generate momentum.
Of course, the content strategy here is video. But you want to think about why people are on YouTube.
Among other things, people are searching for entertainment, to have questions answered and for solutions to problems.
As a graphic designer, you should think about how you can create video content that is either entertaining, educational, interesting/shareable, inspiring, documenting some process or is some combination of these themes.
This could be in the form of DIY tutorials, graphic design tricks and hacks for some specific niche group or as simple as documenting your process and then providing inspiring before and after cases for how your designs improved someone’s business, social media or online presence.
Similar to Google and Pinterest, YouTube also has its own SEO best practices to optimize your videos for ranking and organic traffic results.
Check out YouTube’s Creator Academy as a free resource on how to build a successful YouTube channel!
But just remember, as with any of these marketing strategies, you must remain consistent, patient and value-adding.
You’ll hear many YouTubers claim their channel didn’t gain any real traction until after they upload 100 videos!
Now that’s not to say you won’t have any success until after you upload 100 videos, but still, it’s a fantastic opportunity that can generate impressive long-term traffic, business growth and monetization opportunities.
Email Marketing & List Building
Since there’s a chance you may not have an existing email list, this section is more of a result or culmination of implementing the above traffic-generating techniques.
For example, running a paid social media ad campaign that directs visitors to your website (or blog) where you’ll have free valuable information, an enticing free offer or some type of lead magnet (in exchange for someone’s email) would be a fantastic marketing strategy.
I talk more about crafting an enticing offer below in step 4 below, but building an email list is a whole topic in itself.
So if you’d like to read more about this method, I’ve written a whole post on the subject here!
Otherwise, just know that email marketing is a free and very effective way to communicate directly with warmed up prospects while maintaining a strong relationship existing customers.
And as with any marketing strategy, just remember that you’re always adding value to your audience.
This is especially true for marketing inside someone’s inbox. They’ll be semi-frequently seeing you pop up as a new email notification, so you want to be sure that you’re providing valuable, meaningful and/or interesting information – otherwise they’ll just get annoyed and unsubscribe!
Always give first and only ask (i.e., sell) occasionally.
Other Marketing Platforms
- More business and professional focused
- Great for content marketing and free traffic or running ads on
- Yelp Ads
- Of course, could be useful for local marketing
- Arguably becoming less relevant and less effective compared to other digital marketing solutions (source)
- Google AdSense Network
- This means your business and graphic design offer will show up on other people’s websites and blog as banner ads
- Reddit advertising or joining the community and providing valuable answers to user questions and gently redirecting to your blog content or website
Step 4: Craft An Enticing Offer & Message
After you’ve identified your audience, objective and the correct platform (from Step 1) and once you find your marketing and/or content strategy, you can really double down on crafting an enticing, irresistible offer.
So what is an enticing, irresistible offer?
Here are some tips to make sure you’ve got a great offer that will resonate with people!
- Make It Specific
- Talk About The Emotional Or Life-Improving Transformation Your Customer Experience From Your Offer
- People buy on emotion, not logic
- Be Clear & Stay On-Message
- Have Big, Clear Call-to-Actions
- Use A Landing Page To Promote Specific Offers
- Make Sure You’re Giving A Real Solution Or Solving A Real Problem For People
- What’s Your Unique Angle
- Add Credibility By Using Case Studies Or Social Proof
- Give Away Something For Free First
- Use A Lead Magnet Strategy
- Add Timelines & Exclusivity
Recommended Read: How To Craft An Enticing, Irresistible Offer Using Facebook Ads
Conclusion: Looking Ahead To Part 3
This post has taken a comprehensive look at the various marketing strategies available to graphic designers.
Choosing the best platform ultimately depends on your content strategy, audience, objectives and personal preferences.
However, heavy focus was placed on the opportunities associated with Google SEO, Pinterest marketing and creating long-form, high-quality blog content.
Moving on to part 3, we’ll be exploring the actual implementation of your marketing strategy as well as fundamental marketing concepts like retargeting, followup communication and A/B split testing.
So thanks again for stopping by today, I hope this post has been value adding for you and your marketing goals!
Let me know in the comments which marketing strategy you think sounds best for graphic designers!