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5 non‑negotiable marketing tools every designer needs in 2023

This blog post was written & sponsored by our friends at Norby. Norby is on a mission to help you grow your brand and build relationships with your audience, no matter where they are.

In today’s ever-evolving landscape, the role of a designer extends beyond artistic talent. As a successful designer, you must now have a keen marketing understanding, utilizing social media and platforms like Dribbble to promote your work. Plus, becoming proficient in engaging with leads and maintaining ongoing communication is key to keeping clients informed about the latest developments in your work and the design world. Grab this free guide for creative entrepreneurs on how to build your email and SMS list.

Fortunately, plenty of resources are available to assist designers in learning and generating innovative marketing strategies. Below are some of the most important digital marketing tools every designer should embrace in 2023 and beyond.

By adopting these strategies and leveraging innovative platforms, you can effectively promote your work, connect with potential clients, and drive your business to new heights!

1. High-converting landing pages and webpages

Top-quality landing pages and webpages are indispensable tools for expanding your business. These virtual portfolios serve as powerful marketing assets that captivate potential clients and drive conversions through contact form submissions or other engagement metrics. By employing strategic design principles, showcasing your most compelling work, and implementing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you can optimize your online presence and attract new clients.

Optimizing landing pages for search engines can be achieved in various ways, including incorporating relevant keywords, meta tags, and descriptive URLs. These tactics improve the chances of appearing higher in search engine results pages, ensuring that your website is discovered by potential clients in need of design services.

With an estimated 92.3% of internet users accessing websites through mobile devices, it is important to provide a seamless user experience across different screen sizes. Mobile-friendly design not only enhances engagement and conversion rates but also improves search engine rankings.

When building landing pages and web pages, it’s crucial to choose a platform that is dynamic and easy to update. In a fast-paced business environment, creating, modifying, and testing content is invaluable. Yet, while it’s possible to get a free landing page builder, the best tools for high-converting landing pages and web pages usually have a subscription-based pricing model.

Some of the most highly recommended options include:

  • Norby: An all-in-one platform that provides comprehensive design, marketing, and lead nurturing features, starting at $14 per month.
  • Beacons: A versatile tool that starts at $10 per app, with an average monthly cost of $30+.
  • Wix: A popular website builder with plans starting from $27, offering additional marketing and commerce capabilities for $$.

2. Lead captures and building subscriber lists

As a designer, it’s essential to leverage your web pages as powerful tools for gathering customer data. By implementing effective lead capture forms, you can take a proactive approach to building your email and SMS lists. This data drives business growth and establishes meaningful connections with potential and current clients.

The best way to do this is to create high-converting forms that resonate with your target audience. You will want to gather lead information such as names, phone numbers, email addresses and other first party data. Try tailored contact forms, customized quote request forms, and user-friendly email and SMS sign-up options to encourage visitors to engage with your brand.

By adopting these strategies, designers can compile a comprehensive database of potential clients, creating a foundation for successful marketing campaigns unique to their pain points and desires. This not only nurtures relationships — showing that you care for them as people — but also builds long-term customer loyalty.

Tools for building forms include:

  • Flodesk: Email and forms are priced at $38 per month.
  • Typeform: A forms-only option starting at $29 per month.
  • Norby: An all-in-one platform that provides comprehensive design, marketing, and lead nurturing features including forms, email, and SMS, starting at $14 per month.

3. Hosting events for your design business

Events help you build relationships with prospective clients. Plus, you can capture valuable information and data through event registrations. Hosting events can also be a powerful tool for community-building, allowing you to foster a loyal following around your brand and creative work.

When starting your design business, events can serve as a testing ground to explore different ideas and gauge their impact. For instance, you can organize a design book club, host a meetup to connect with like-minded individuals, or conduct workshops and classes to educate participants on various aspects of design. These initiatives not only showcase your expertise but also enable you to engage with potential clients in a meaningful way.

By using a comprehensive event suite, you gain access to a range of features that streamline the entire event management process. From custom event registrations and unique event page designs to automated email and SMS reminders a platform like Norby empowers you to run events seamlessly. Plus, by integrating your events’ data with your webpage data and forms, you can gain valuable insights into attendee behavior, identify clients that are sharing your events within their networks, and tap into the power of referrals. All of this can significantly contribute to the growth of your client base.

Other event marketing tools worth checking out include:

  • Luma: A dedicated event management platform. Pricing starts at $59 per month
  • Eventbrite: A popular platform for event organization and ticketing. Eventbrite charges a percentage of ticket sales along with credit card fees
  • Norby: An all-in-one platform that provides comprehensive design, marketing, event and lead nurturing features including starting at $14 per month

4. Easy email and SMS marketing for design businesses

Once you have established your email and SMS list, the next step is to nurture your leads and promote your work and design services. Email and SMS marketing are more reliable and effective tactics compared to relying solely on social media platforms.

In email marketing, your goals will shape the content you create and the frequency of your campaigns. Consider the objectives you want to achieve, whether it’s increasing sales, driving website traffic, or improving customer engagement. Additionally, determine the optimal frequency of sending emails to your subscribers, considering your goals, audience, and available resources. Some businesses opt to send weekly emails, while others prefer monthly or quarterly newsletters.

What’s more, SMS marketing provides a lightning-fast way to keep your clients informed about your ongoing work, showcase your portfolio, and send personalized offers. This direct and personal communication channel allows you to build long-lasting relationships with your audience. The statistics speak for themselves, with SMS marketing boasting a 98% open rate and approximately 19.3% click-through rate. By integrating email and SMS marketing into an omnichannel strategy, you can enhance the impact of your campaigns.

Ensure you select a platform that allows you to build custom contact and lead capture forms as well as build, segment, and engage your lists through targeted email and SMS communication so it provides accessibility and flexibility for your marketing efforts.

Recommended Email and SMS marketing tools include:

  • Norby: An all-in-one platform that provides comprehensive design, marketing,and lead nurturing features including email and SMS campaigns, starting at $14 per month.
  • ConvertKit: An email marketing platform starting at $15 per month, but with limited features for 300 contacts.
  • Community: An SMS marketing platform starting at $99 per month for 1000 subscribers.
  • Flodesk: An email marketing platform starting at $38 per month.
  • Klaviyo: A platform that combines email and SMS marketing, with pricing starting at $60.

5. Designer and creative entrepreneur CRM

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is an integral part of your business, connecting all your marketing and client data. With a CRM, you can interact with clients, streamline communication, organize client data, and enhance the efficiency of running your business.

By centralizing client information in one place, a CRM allows you to easily access vital details, including contact information, notes, and their journey with your marketing and website. This centralized approach enables personalized and targeted marketing efforts through email and SMS, allowing designers to tailor messages and offers based on each client’s specific needs.

Notable CRM tools available include:

  • Norby: An all-in-one platform with CRM, comprehensive design, marketing, and lead nurturing features, starting at $14 per month.
  • Dubsado: A CRM platform specifically designed for creative entrepreneurs, priced at $40 per month.
  • Indy: A small business CRM solution starting at $12 per month
  • Zoho: A comprehensive CRM platform with plans starting at $20 per month.

Invest in an integrated digital marketing tool for your business

Adopting a multi-channel approach is essential for building a successful marketing strategy. From leveraging social media and incorporating email and SMS marketing to lead generation tactics and hosting workshops, designers must embrace a holistic approach to their marketing efforts. Rather than relying on separate and costly non-automated tools that lack connectivity, leverage a unified platform like Norby. If you’re not yet a Norby user, you can try it risk-free for 14 days without a credit card and experience the benefits of an integrated AI-powered marketing platform.

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