Running a web design business may be stressful at times, but through the power of online marketing--the process of using various tools on the Internet to promote your business, product, or service--advertising your business doesn't have to be.
Utilize Search Engine Optimization
Search engines are a business owner's friend because they will bring targeted traffic to your website at no cost to you. Research keywords your visitors will likely use, and develop your site content around those keywords. Don't forget to include keywords in the page title, meta description, subheadings, links and ALT tags. Start a link building campaign to help get links to your site.
List the Business in Local Directories
Google and Yahoo have local business directories which are very powerful tools. If there are any other online local business directories specific to your area, get listed in those as well. Listings will help increase the chance your site shows up in the local results when someone searches for a web design business.
Utilize Social Media
Start a blog for your business and encourage people to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates. Start a Facebook page and a Twitter account to become part of the community and connect with people. Once you've connected, start advertising your services--especially any discounts or promotions you are offering. Also, start utilizing social bookmarking websites such as Digg, Stumble Upon and Del.ic.ious. You'll be able to promote articles you've written, videos and other kinds of content related to your web design business.
Make a Custom Email and Forum Signature
In your email signature, include your name, phone number and URL. Every message you send out will have this information and encourage people to look at your website.
Offer Something for Free
Businesses offering something to everyone for free have an easy way to draw in potential customers, because everyone loves free stuff. As a web designer, offer a free e-book on web usability or something to help show people why they need the services of a professional. With so many tools available to help people design websites on their own, this is an excellent way to provide clients with helpful information, while still generating leads.
Create and Promote Offers for Site Visitors and Customers
Offer deals to new customers, such as "New customers get a free logo design with the purchase of a 10 page website design." How does this help? A potential visitor who read your free e-book decides he wants a professional designer, and now with the free logo offer has decided to use your business. Don't forget existing customers to help build loyalty. "Current customers receive 10% off a site upgrade or feature." This will motivate current customers to come back to you, and they may even spread the word of the new customer promotion to others they know.
Hold a Contest
Contests are great ways to entice people to your services. For instance, you can hold an "Ugliest Website Contest" for people who want a website redesign--offering a free or discounted design to the person with the worst website, and allow others to vote. This spreads the word about your business because entrants will encourage people to vote for them so they can win.
Following these suggestions will make it much easier to advertise your web design business so you can spend more time focusing on client projects, and less time worrying about where the next one is coming from.