Recently I meet friends which most of them are freelance web and graphic designers. Whether they are beginner or savvy designers, one of the hot topics that they discuss is “how freelance designers get more referrals?”. Referrals means more orders. It is reasonable for them to always try to think innovate ways to get more clients.

I am preparing a post (probably a series of posts) about this topic. I have been doing a research but I would like to know what do you think a freelance designer should to to get more referrals? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to write your name, location and website (why don’t you put a link to your design portfolio). I may include your details in my post soon.

How Freelance Designer Get More Referrals?

Posted by brantwilson

Brant Wilson is a staff writer for the DesignMag network. Brant enjoys all things design and development, dogs, and candy. Brant is passionate about training freelancers. Learn how you can earn $125+ freelancing. Start learning for free now! Connect with Brant on google+

25 Comments

  1. Hi there, in my experience you’ll get good referrals by being always on time with the scheduled work; my clients are often late with their parts of the job (contents, texts, translations…) and they really appreciate if I’m on time at the end. Another source of good referrals is to go the extra mile with client service after the job has been done, for example giving some freebies or asking if everything is fine from time to time. Cheers!

    Federica Sibella, Italy (http://www.musings.it)

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  2. Bring business cards a long with you no matter where you go, be it a cocktail party or the convenience store. I love to meet more and more people. Of course it is not the only thing a freelancer designer need to do, but it is an important thing to do, at least for me.

    Ronn Lee, Freelance Designer, Singapore – now based in Shanghai, China.

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  3. Hi I am a freelance photographer but I the same rules apply. I have found twitter a great place to connect with the people you want to be in front of and is a great way to gently remind people of your skills and updates to portfolio without being to pushy. Dont make the mistake on twitter of trying to get 1000s of followers, what’s important is that they relate to your industry. Grant

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  4. Hi, one of the efficient way to go for more referrals is to offer your clients benefit such as price cut for the next project if they help to get more business for you by referring your service to other people. This way always get me more potential clients. Cheers.

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  5. From my opinion everyone who is starting should start at friends with design for free. After you make a some good works you will get noticed from friend’s friends 🙂 When I meet people almost everyone has a friend which has a friend, etc who is looking for some designer. So that is one way. Once you got some portfolio it is good to put it online, so having a web page is a necessary thing. Other things to get noticed is to support the community by writing articles. I have written, one for abduzeedo and one for 1stwebdesigner and it helped me to increase visitors count on my webportfolio in few days from tenths to hundreds according the date, the article was released. And last but not least, to use social networks, linkedin, behance, twitter, foursquare, facebook (which I do not use, just because I am against the license agreements). Having a blog is always plus too 🙂

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  6. I’ve just entered the freelance world, but I used to be a manager of graphic production and the best practices are to be on time, be very organized and just polite. Social networking is also a great way to start conversations with people and companies you don’t know.

    P.S. I LOVE dzineblog- always good posts here : )

    DANIELA PASTRE
    Producer|Designer|Animator
    http://www.danielapastre.com
    dapastre@yahoo.com
    551.265.3469

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  7. Another source of good referrals is to go the extra mile with client service after the job has been done, I have found twitter a great place to connect with the people you want to be in front of and is a great way to gently remind people of your skills and updates to portfolio without being to pushy.

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  8. Business Cards, Business Cards, Business Cards number one for getting calls, just start up convo with anybody and any company you interact with then try to leave some cards, as long as you dont come accross as pushy or desperate its fantastic the response you get.

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  9. I reckon every time you go an extra mile, your client end ups so happy that she’ll tell everyone around her.

    Be as professional as you can get, underpromise and overdeliver.

    Build good relationships with your clients, they’ll end up being good friends.

    Talk to everybody, anytime you have a chance, during seminars, conventions, etc.

    A billion business cards all over the place, don’t be shy, that’s what they’re for.

    Referrals can also come from your fellow freelancers. If a client asks for something beyond your scope, don’t say no, have him contact your freelancer friends.

    And that’s all can think of now, at least for now.

    Cheers

    Reply

  10. Going the extra mile is definitely a good point, as is listening.

    I have just landed a great client who was referred to me by someone in my social network – it wasn’t necessarily because I am the best web designer in town (I ain’t) but because she knew I would listen to the client and build something suitable for him and his company rather than a show-off website for my portfolio.

    Reply

  11. Hi,

    good thinking on such a series. in my experience so far, i would say good work and good client relationship leads to more referrals. making it easy for the client to reach you, giving them options, letting them know you have done the job but you are ready to edit/re do to meet their exact specifications and good presentation as well as follow ups. At the same time, work very professionally, invoice, discuss, use a system/process and wok with and within time.

    when these things are done, they cannot forget you and the next time someone mentions a job in your field, they cant help but give your phone number and probably throw in a comment or 2 about your outstanding business practices and expertise.

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  12. I have been freelancing for almost years. For me the best referrals than I’ve got so far was direct recommendation from previous clients. I think this is the most valuable channel for referrals.

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  13. 8 years – sorry for duplicating

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  14. Start a referral program.

    For every lead that converts, you get X%. Then you can tier the number of conversions set. Example:

    1 to 5 = 3% of the contract total.
    5 to 10 = 4%
    10 to 20+ = 5%

    I have referrers who max out my program. So I start incentivizing with different rewards. Also, I give them advertising collateral to help attract leads.

    Works every time.
    Be consistent.
    Educate your referrers.
    Be patient.

    Your ROI is much slower in the beginning. So stay for the long haul.

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  15. I always find that when you do a good job in the first place referrals will always follow.

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  16. Some referrals are indirect for example get yourself out there and on a few design blogs or CSS sites. Sortfolio.com has always been a good resource for myself.

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  17. I’ve received a few referrals through my friends and family members. I think it’s important to let your friends and family know exactly what you are doing (graphic designer, web developer etc). You never know who they know, when or who they will meet and like another designer above mentioned – someone always knows someone who wants something done. It’s always good for people around you to know what you do so that they will have no problems recommending you when the opportunities arises. Cheers.

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  18. When I used to freelance, the best way for me to get referrals was to be very close and responsive to my clients. By providing work on time, replying to emails fast I got many returning customers and some referrals too.

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  19. Just ask. That has been the biggest for me. When I have a client that is happy with the work I have done, I simply ask for them to spread the word. I have had clients go as far as to push my work out using social networks and different web applications. Also, ask questions. Everywhere you go, be friendly and ask people you meet what they do. This gives you the opportunity to not only see if you could be of service to them, but also to tell them what you do.

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  20. Attend networking events and get involved. Be consistent, deliver what you promise and go above and beyond. Follow up with phone calls (this is where I need to get better), build relationships with those that are in your industry so that you can learn from them. Be a good listener too!

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  21. For all those graphic artists out there – FIND A GOOD PRINTER!
    If you don’t you’ll regret it. Starting off I had some bad experience with printers that caused me (and in return, my clients) with tons of headaches. Someone reliable and trustworthy is sure to save you both time and money.

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  22. Captivate people with good work and ideas is the best way to make your name. And it is crucial to a freelancer.

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  23. […] I asked readers How Designers Get More Referrals and in the comment form you can see some designers shared their experiences. As a designer working […]

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  24. Your portfolio is good.

    Reply

  25. There is noticeably a bunch to realize about this. I suppose you made certain good points in features also.

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