This article was written by Maddie Keogh in February 2019 and updated with our latest content in September 2023.
I think we can all agree on one thing: one of the most stressful things about running your own business is finding new clients. Running a web design business means you need to routinely bring in brand new web design clients. Straightforward, right? Well, once you get started, you're going to find that it's a little bit more complicated than you might think. To make life a little bit easier for web designers everywhere, we've compiled 20 creative ways to find WordPress web design clients. Let's jump right into it!
We polled 640 WordPress consultants to get their top tips on how to find WordPress web design clients.
For personalized business advice, contact the team at Agency Mavericks today.
How To Get Web Design Clients
Ever look around at the competition and wonder how they're getting so many clients? It's easy for any freelance web designer to feel defeated as they stress over their search for new web design clients. To help you on your business journey, we took a poll within our Agency Mavericks Facebook community to find out how web designers are bringing in new potential clients. You're going to love these tips! Without further adieu, here are 20 out-of-the-box tips from freelance designers about how to get web design clients fast, effectively, and creatively.
You can probably guess what some of the most common answers were:
Referrals and word of mouth
Trade associations, Chamber of Commerce, BNI, networking events, joining local networking groups
Blogging and podcasting
However, we're looking for something a little more imaginative for our solutions. So, let's hear from members of the Agency Mavericks community:
Agency Mavericks polled 640 members to discover how they find WordPress clients. Did Tinder make the list?
Tip #1 – Make Connections Everywhere You Go!
One member, Andy, seeks out bricks and mortar shops to buy products. While there, he engages with shop owners in conversation and becomes friendly with the staff. By doing this, he found multiple prospective web design clients and brought on his first three e-commerce stores!
Lisa had a similar experience, with two past clients approaching her after overhearing a phone call in the supermarket. Jasmine gave a similar sentiment, explaining that finding new web design clients is a state of mind. Just think to yourself that potential clients are all around you, wherever you go.
So, have a think — do you pick up the kids at school and chat with the other parents? Do you go to church? Do you know the people in your local café? It doesn’t need to be a hard sell. Just tell them about your business and be honest about how hard it is starting out. And don't be surprised if the mere mention that you're a web designer lands you work. As a freelance web designer, you need to consider every situation an opportunity to find new work. Word-of-mouth marketing works wonders!
Esther says this happened with a visit to the doctor:
“Walked into a specialist doctor's surgery and when told I had to have a small procedure, said I have my own design agency so can take the day off. She said ‘Website designer, I need you!' Of course, she does after checking out her website in the waiting room. I have now booked appointments with a dentist, accountant, and naturopath.”
You may be surprised how many people want to help!
Tip #2 – Find Web Design Clients In Agency Directory Listings
Every niche has relevant business directories. Weddings, designers, plumbers, nonprofits — the list is endless. When you have a niche, start Googling and see which directories you can be listed on.
All niche services have relevant business directories, and these should be your best friends! Weddings, designers, plumbers, nonprofits… Everyone has a directory for their industry. Instead of asking yourself how to get web design clients, let the web design clients find you!
You may need to pay for access to premium listings, but the ROI will balance out the overhead cost. Get your name in amongst other trusted web designers, and your success will boom.
Tip #3 – Thought Leadership
As a freelance web designer, you're probably so used to being a “doer” that you might not even realize the power of your words and the value of your knowledge itself can bring you new clients. Agency Mavericks Facebook member Matt explains:
“My podcast has been a big lead generator for me. Also, I've gotten a few great clients through teaching local WordPress classes.”
Both Michael and Lisa say that clients have found them because of a speaking gig they did at a conference or workshop. The more you put your knowledge and expertise out into the word, the more new web design clients will start coming your way!
Tip #4 – Position Yourself In The Right Physical Place
Sitting at home Googling ‘How to get web design clients fast' is only going to get you so far. Web designer Geoff had some great advice to offer:
“I ‘positioned' myself back in 2013 by renting a desk from a business consultancy / PR firm in my local hometown, right next door to one of the leading design agencies in Scotland. As a result, I get a constant stream of qualified leads with decent budgets.”
Matt and his agency landed a web design client first and then relocated nearby to ensure they remained the go-to design resource:
“Partnered with a trade show exhibit company to be their go-to agency specifically for website, graphic design and collateral projects… We set up shop in their offices making it easy for their sales team to collaborate and hand us work.”
Tip #5 – Go Above And Beyond
Past client work is often your best resource for fresh web design clients. There are plenty of web designers out there fighting to compete, so you need to set yourself apart. For starters, create a reason to retain their business over the long term (like selling WordPress maintenance plans). Demonstrate your value as their trusted partner. Then, watch and see how that appreciation and loyalty translate into a new referral business. Existing clients can lead to new clients— simple as that!
Geoff says that he goes above and beyond the call of duty, always making himself available for his web design clients. Now he is the web designer that clients always turn to.
Tip #6 – Use Craigslist To Expand Your Web Design Business
“I know, right?! I advertised WordPress services on Craigslist about 4-5 years ago for a few months and while I did get a few cheap-o's, I was able to filter them out quickly and 3 of my most lucrative long-term clients came from there. In fact, I'm working on finishing up a $7k website redesign for a client I built a $1k website for back when they found me on Craigslist.”
Chances are, by making your services easy to find, you'll be able to bring in more potential clients. If someone is searching for web design, you want them to come across your business before they stumble across other web designers. Craigslist is an easy and effective way to do just that!
Tip #7 – How Co-working Spaces Can Help A Web Designer
Whether the space and privacy are lacking in your home office or you simply want a change of pace a few times a week, co-working spaces are a great way to find WordPress web design clients. According to our poll, this is how to get web design clients in your network.
In some cases, you'll meet prospective clients just by being there. You never know who's at the next desk. More commonly, though, you'll start networking with your co-working space neighbors who are then able to help you make connections with new clients. Other web designers can be a support network, not just competition!
Tip #8 – Connect With Local Printers
Need to print off a batch of business cards or stationery? Chat with your local printer. They have tons of different companies coming through every day and may have some great leads for you. Chances are, potential web design clients will be accessing resources just like these. Ask yourself where somebody looking to expand their business might go, and establish yourself in those areas as a readily available web designer.
Tip #9 – Use Guidebooks To Find New Web Design Clients
Figuring out how to get web design clients is all about figuring out who your target market is. Chances are, a web designer needs to be finding potential clients who might be in need of a fresh WordPress design. Grab yourself a free local guidebook next time you see one in a coffee store and contact some of the businesses that are advertising in it. These businesses could be seen as a bit “behind the times” by using print advertising and may need your help!
Tip #10 – Join Facebook Groups
Have a look for relevant Facebook groups to join. Groups for new businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs would be a good place to start. These kinds of business owners are likely looking for ways to bootstrap their businesses the smart way, and working with web developers is a great way to make that happen. Or you could join groups built specifically for the type of industry you're targeting.
Just remember: you don't want to use these groups to do the hard sell. Instead, be helpful and use this platform as a means for being heard. Reply to people’s questions, be as helpful as possible, and let potential clients approach you when they're ready. Make yourself known as a helpful and likable web designer! Being freely accommodating will help you get web design clients.
It's also a good idea to be a member of Facebook groups such as the Digital Mavericks for the purposes of connecting with like-minded individuals and getting the support you need as a WordPress freelancer or business owner. It's a win-win!
Want to turn your passion for WordPress into a profitable business?
Who knows? Maybe John Q. Designer was approached about designing a website for a local nonprofit, but he has no experience or interest in that niche. Expand your group of WordPress friends, so you can start passing along good leads when you get them!
Tip #11 – Instagram
Interestingly, not many of our members mentioned Instagram as a way to find WordPress web design clients. However, if you have a creative flair and the time, it can pay off to nurture your Instagram account or to pay for sponsored posts. Not only that, but other web design experts are providing great resources to help you learn how to get web design clients via social media accounts.
The MerryMaker Sisters are experts at using social for marketing and go into it in detail in this WPE podcast.
Tip #12 – Offer WordPress Training
If you really want to capture as much new business as possible while still doing what you do best, consider branching out into WordPress web design training services. Sometimes, clients who already have their own websites could still benefit from your help.
You know the kind of client this would appeal to. Either you completed their web design project and they insisted they could take it from there or they're DIY WordPress users constantly pinging WordPress groups on social media for help.
They might be unwilling to hear you out when it comes to WordPress maintenance (at least for now), but they might be grateful for a one-on-one WordPress training session with a pro. If you want to get web design clients, expanding your services beyond direct web design could be the way to go.
Tip #13 – Attend Local WordPress Meetups
You'd be surprised who shows up to your local WordPress meetup. You'll likely find people who don't have enough time to build or maintain their own website or who have no clue where to start with web design. This is a great opportunity to enter the picture as a WordPress consultant.
Also, don't be afraid to chat with other WordPress designers and consultants in these groups. You never know— they might be so overloaded with work that they'd be happy to partner up and pass some of their new business your way. Checking out your local meetups will have you finding web design clients and organically offering your web design services in no time!
Tip #14 – Give Away A “Strategy Session” As A Prize At A Networking Event
This is a great way for people at the event to become aware of your business. If they are happy with the session, you'll have a new potential client! Finding web design clients has never been easier.
Tip #15 – Nurture Funnels
Another Facebook member, Iain, tells us:
“I had 8 referrals that all lead to nothing. Changed strategy and put all referrals into a nurture funnel that educated potential clients on everything they needed to consider when thinking about a website project. Very successful thus far.”
It's all about nurturing, folks! Putting better processes in place can help simple referrals lead to big web design projects for your business.
Tip #16 – Invitation Letters, Cold Emails, Cold Calls
Jenny says that she sends letters to people she knows to invite them to work with her. She also asks if they know anyone else that could benefit from her help.
You might not think that old-school marketing tactics would be that effective in this digital age, but our Elevators have proved otherwise! A number of people who responded to our poll said that cold calling and emails still work really well. Kim put a unique spin on it, too:
You might not think that old school marketing tactics would be that effective in this digital age, but our Elevators have proved otherwise! A number of people who responded to our poll said that cold calling and emails still work really well. Kim put a unique spin on it, too:
“Years ago I sent a mailer to a list of business owners. Because the envelope was bulky, they had a bigger incentive to open it. When they removed the letter, they couldn't miss the lollypop attached to the top. So I received a few calls. But I didn't stop there – to maximise the conversions I called the non-responders. I got a bunch more leads too. Sometimes the old fashioned methods work better than the new stuff.”
Start putting yourself out there, and you'll stand out from most web designers. What's the worst that could happen? Nothing comes of it. The more likely result is that your web design agency starts to grow in all the right ways.
Tip #17 – Uber/Lyft Driving
While waiting for prospective clients, many freelance web designers find themselves struggling to get by. Uber driving is a great way to network and earn a bit of cash on the side while you get your business off the ground! Who would have thought? Love this tip.
Tip #18 – Yelp And Google Maps
Let’s face it: you’re no-one if you’re not on Google Maps! Freelance web designers need to make themselves easy to find, and setting yourself up on Google Maps is a great way for local prospective clients to find you.
Tip #19 – GoDaddy Pro
“Pro Connect” is a free marketplace for GoDaddy customers to connect with Pro members. Very cool.
You can check out some of the free webinars we've done with GoDaddy Pro (including “How to Write Proposals That Win Clients”). Getting these expert tips can help better your web development, and get you the contact details of some helpful experts!
Tip #20 – Wait… Tinder? Yes, Tinder!
This has got to be our favorite for thinking outside the box. When you think of finding web development clients… you might not think ‘Tinder'.
That’s right, people — dating websites aren't just for finding love anymore. Some of our members have said that just because the sparks didn't fly on a new date, they were able to turn that no-love connection into new business. Dawn says:
“When I was single and online dating I met five of my future clients through online dating. They did not become dates but we had conversations about our business and then they went on to use my marketing agency services..most were 10k+ web clients.”
Finding clients is just the first step. Don't forget to grab your free proposal template and seal the deal.
Discover What Works For You
At the end of the day, your personality will define what works for you. We noticed from our poll that what works for someone may not work for another. For example, you may not be an extrovert who loves to start conversations with just anyone, so other methods will work better for you such as SEO, blogging, referrals, and superior customer service.
Regardless of which route you take to find WordPress web design clients for your business, don't let the hard work stop after initial introductions are made. As your business grows and your processes become more refined, think about how to get better fees. You might have opened up new channels of revenue by pursuing these creative ways of drumming up a new business, but it won't do you much good if those clients pay $500 for a website.
Learn More Tips And Tricks With Agency Mavericks
Finding clients is just the first step. Here at Agency Mavericks, we use coaching and open discussions such as these to help web designers improve their businesses, find new clients, and achieve their goals. If you're ready to take your business to the next level, we would love nothing more than to lend a hand. Book a call with a friendly Agency Mavericks expert today, or download your free proposal template to help seal the deal with your incoming clients!