9 ways to get new freelance web design clients

Top strategies to find new freelance web design clients fast and effectively. Grow your business and build a steady stream of web design clients.

5 min read

July 29, 2021

Find web design leads
Illustration of a freelance web designer working on a laptop

Whether you're eager to become a freelance web designer or grow your web design career, getting new web design clients should be the backbone of your business.

But let’s face it: marketing yourself and your web design business isn’t always the most enjoyable task. Most web designers would rather spend their time actually designing rather than finding new clients.

But without new clients, your freelance web design business will stall out. So spending the time and resources to generate leads and turn them into paying web design clients is an important investment in your business.

In this article, we'll share 9 strategies that will help you learn how to get web design clients fast and effectively.

Let's get straight into it.

Illustration of a web designer designing a web page

1. Build your personal brand on social media

There are a lot of amazing web designers out there. Your personal brand is what can set you apart from them and attract even more web design clients.

Use social media to reinforce your brand. When done well, it makes both you and your work recognizable to potential web design clients and can lead to new work.

Make sure your social media presence is consistent with your brand, both in terms of timing and in terms of the content you post.

2. Network in real life

There are tons of opportunities for web designers to network in real life and connect with new potential clients.

Look to local business and professional organizations to start with. Many hold networking events where you can meet business owners and others who are responsible for making decisions about hiring freelancers.

Even if you don’t make direct connections, you may find you meet people who later send referrals your way by word of mouth.

Illustration of 3 people chatting with chat bubbles.

3. Don’t overlook business cards

Business cards are an excellent way to get new web design clients.

First, they can serve as a mini design portfolio showcasing your web design skills. Second, they reinforce your brand. And third, they’re much more professional than writing down your contact information on a scrap of paper or entering it into a potential client’s phone (where it may never be seen again).

Always keep a few business cards on you when you’re out and about, in case you run into anyone who might be a potential client.

"When you are at social functions and have an opportunity to meet a prospective client, don’t give them your card. Instead, ask for theirs. Say, 'I’d love to follow up with you after this event. Do you have a card?' When they give your their card, hand them yours."

Chris Do, Founder of The Futur

4. Ask for referrals

Ask and you shall receive. Have you asked your friends, professional contacts, and anyone else in your social networks for referrals?

Letting people know that you’re accepting new clients for your web design business and would appreciate referrals can be a surprisingly effective strategy. 

You can also ask for referrals from past clients who were happy with your services. While they may not recommend their competitors to you, they likely have other business contacts (such as vendors or suppliers) who could use your services.

A lot of people love to be responsible for making good business referrals and matches.

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5. Write blog posts

Writing blog posts about your niche is an excellent way to get web design clients and reach your target market.

You can write on your own personal blog or guest blog for others (more popular blogs are more effective for this strategy). This technique is called content marketing.

Say someone is searching for a particular type of web designer — someone who specializes in nonprofits, for example. If you write articles about the best nonprofit landing pages or web designs, those articles may rank highly in search engine results.

This leads clients looking for a web designer directly to you, with some idea of your expertise before they even contact you.

6. Create unsolicited redesigns

Unsolicited redesigns can be an excellent way to get attention as a web designer. When done well, and for prominent companies or websites, they can even garner media coverage.

The key is to walk people through your process for the redesign. Treat it like a case study, where you talk about what you perceive as the current strengths and weaknesses of the existing web design and the problem you’re trying to solve.

Then, walk readers through how you approached the design and what solutions you finally arrived at.

Illustration of a desktop computer with a browser open.

7. Use an email list

Building an email list is an excellent way to get web design clients. One of the best ways to get potential clients on that email list is to offer a freebie of some kind.

As a web designer, it can be tempting to create something like an icon set for a freebie. But those types of promotions won’t appeal to prospective clients.

Instead, consider offering something like a website redesign checklist or a guide. These are freebies that people who are looking to hire web designers would be interested in.

Once you have an email list, send regular updates that would be helpful to your potential clients.

You don’t need to bombard them with emails, but sending along helpful tips or news on a bi-weekly or monthly basis is a good way to keep in touch and keep them interested in working with you.

8. Create a stellar portfolio

Never overlook the importance of a great portfolio in finding new web design clients.

People may find you through other means, but your online portfolio can take them from a casual visitor to your website to an actual client.

Put your best foot forward by including your best work along with a few case studies that go more into depth on particular web design projects.

Also, be sure to make it easy for potential clients to get in touch with you directly from your portfolio.

9. Use freelance job boards

Freelance websites and job boards are an excellent way to start connecting with new web design clients immediately.

Even better, most job boards will send you personalized email notifications with job postings that are in line with your web design skillsets so you don't have to waste time filtering through hundreds of client design briefs.

Illustration of a person sitting down working on a laptop.

Use these techniques to get new web design clients

Finding web design clients doesn't have to be hard. If you're a freelance web designer, use the techniques listed out above to start building up a steady client base and watch your business grow.

Also, don’t be afraid to try new ideas and strategies. Look at how other freelance web designers are getting clients themselves and try similar things if they appeal to you.

Good luck!

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