Whether you’re just beginning your graphic design career or you’re a pro with years of experience, starting your own graphic design business can be incredibly rewarding. Are you a good communicator with great visual storytelling abilities and the ability to meet each client’s needs?
While there’s no magic formula for success as an entrepreneur, you need to identify your target market. Knowing your customer is very important. As a graphic designer, knowing your target audience helps to focus marketing efforts and resources on a specific group of consumers. You’ll waste less time and money if you know where best to apply those resources. This leads to a higher return on investment.
Understanding your target audience also allows you to tailor your offerings. You don’t want to spend energy learning skills and developing services that nobody wants. Also, knowing your target market helps you to identify potential customer pain points. This will help you better address them and differentiate your business from competitors.
Here are four critical steps to help you identify your target market for your graphic design business.
1. Start With Demographics and Location
It’s important to know who your target customers are and where they will be located. There are a few ways you can determine this. Of course, it would be easy to say, “I want everyone to be my customer!” But in reality, it’s not that simple. Get a little more specific:
- Have you made a decision about where and how you will work? Do you prefer to work with mainly local clients? Or would you enjoy the chance to work with clients from all over the country, or perhaps even international clients?
- Do you want to work from home or do you plan to rent a separate working space? While renting a working space can give you a mental separation between work and home, keep in mind that renting a workspace comes with fees. These can be substantial, especially if you’re just starting out. You’ll have to decide if this is worth the deduction in profit for your business.
- Assess where you are in terms of reputation. Do you have existing connections? Do you have prior clients that could give you more work? Or are you just starting out, hoping to snag your first client ever?
If you’re not sure where to start, there are many places where you can find online freelance graphic design work. Here are just a few online job boards for graphic designers:
- AIGA Design Jobs
- Solid Gigs
- 99 Designs
2. Decide What Kind of Graphic Design You Will Be Doing
In addition to the demographics of your clients and the location of your future business, you will need to decide on the kind of graphic design you’d like to do. What projects have you enjoyed doing in the past? What interests you the most? What can you do better than anyone else?
Graphic designers make their mark in a variety of ways. How can a small or large business benefit from your services? Consider which of these potential products or services you may enjoy working on the most or which have the highest potential to turn a profit:
- App design
- Catalog design
- Image libraries
- Magazine ads
- Newspaper design
- Promotional videos
- Social media ads
- Vehicle wraps
- Video games
These are just some of the services and products that your graphic design business could offer to your future clients.
3. Consider the Income of Your Clients
As you create your business plan and begin to envision which businesses you hope to cater to in the future, it’s important to factor a potential client’s income into consideration.
For example, a business that is in the start-up phases of operation could really use your services to create a website, logo, and app, but they may not have a great budget to work with. These projects are areas where you could create value for them, and if they’re happy with your work, this successfully completed project could lead to a testimonial, and this business could spread the word of how happy they were with your work.
A similar effect could occur with well-respected or influential companies. They may hire you for one project, but for an amount that is less than you desire. This work, completed to their satisfaction, could lead to more work with that company in the future.
As a new business owner, it’s important to see each project as an opportunity to build something larger and better. Each project is building your business, so it’s important to look beyond pay. Each client obtained and each project completed is a success story that allows you to build your reputation.
4. Ask Yourself What Problems You Will Be Solving
While your friends outside of work might think that you just draw all day, you know that’s not quite the truth! As you start your graphic design business, think about the types of problems you most want to solve for your clients. Do you like helping businesses rebrand their images?
Do you enjoy designing new logos? Do you want to help companies tackle the challenge of getting customers to spend more time on their websites? Being able to tell a company’s story visually can be done in many ways, so consider all the problems you can potentially solve with your skills.
To successfully start a graphic design business, it’s important for an entrepreneur to identify their target market. Deciding the business location and who the business will serve is a critical part of this process. Graphic design businesses can find clients online or locally.
There are many ways to work in graphic design, but the income level of clients must be taken into consideration. Graphic design businesses solve a wide variety of problems, and each new client a business acquires helps a new entrepreneur shape their business into a success.
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