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Opening your own studio means the pressure is on to bring in clients. Here are
some strategies to accomplish that goal.
Since you’ve already figured out your positioning, it’s time to design a professional
identity package for your business. This includes a logo, tagline, business
cards, brochures, letterhead, and related material like envelopes or notepads,
mailing labels, and extra adhesive logos that can handily customize plain folders,
a low-cost alternative to more expensive printed or embossed folders. Use the
same color and typography on your Web site and signage as you used on your
print materials. The one hard-and-fast rule here is that consistency rules; make
your “look” uniform.
Here are some things to avoid:
• Miniscule type that excludes some of your potential near-sighted clients
• Pale-colored ink
• Overly complicated typography or too many fonts in one document
• Reversed-out type too small or not high-contrast enough to read
The Web site and e-mail you use for your personal life is probably not
appropriate for your professional persona. Play it safe and make necessary
adjustments before your entrée into the business world. The same is true for
phone lines. Business people like you should establish a dedicated line (keep
receipts; it’s a tax-deductible expense). Even the message on your answering
machine can contribute to (or detract from) your professional image. (See page
199 for more details.)
Before you mail out that totally cool and incredibly creative announcement
about the launch of your design studio—the one that will hopefully result in
clients clamoring for your services—you have to create a mailing list to send it
to, right?
Unfortunately, creating and maintaining a mailing list falls under the category
of grunt work. While it may be a tedious and boring chore, you still need to
do it because your marketing campaign stands a much better chance of success if
you work with an accurate mailing list. What about purchasing commercial lists
of people who buy creative services? If you’re in start-up mode, that option is
probably a budget-breaker for right now. Following this six time-and-laborsaving
steps will reduce your mailing list workload:
1. Determine what mailing list software you’ll be using. Excel, Access, and
Filemaker/Pro are popular choices. So are marketing software packages like
Act! and Telemagic. Play around with whatever program you choose until
you’ve figured out the basics.
2. Set up some system of categorizing. For example, your list may look something
like this:
• Clients
• Past clients
• Current clients
• Dream clients
• Prospects
• Vendors and Suppliers
• ones you have worked with
• ones you aspire to work with
• Creatives
• “Friends” of your business (teachers, relatives, friends, cyberpals)