120 Self Promotion Ideas for Graphic Designers & Freelancers (Free or Almost Free)

120 Free (or Almost Free) Self Promotion Ideas for Graphic Designers & Freelancers

Shameless Self Promotional Ideas for Graphic Designers and Freelancers

(1) Give Away Freebies With Your Design Business’s Name and Contact Information.
Go to where your target customers hang out and set up a booth or table. Give out some freebies and a flyer or leaflet as well. Some examples of freebies include free magnets, rubber bands, rulers, note pads, etc. All of these items should have your information printed on them.

(2) Free Demonstrations of Your Services.
Go to local print shops, office supply stores, and other local stores and offer to give free demonstrations of your services. You can also offer lessons as well.

(3) Where to get Free Coupons.
Go to DontPayFull.com and search for favorite stores.

(5) Speaking Engagements.

Contact local schools and associations about classes, colleges, seminars, lectures that you can speak or teach at.

(6) Go to Your Local Library or Book Store and Place Business Cards in Relevant Books.
This one is a little iffy. Go to your local book stores and libraries and find books that a potential customer might read and place your business card in it.

(7) Shave Your Logo into Your Hair or Get a Logo Tattoo.
Want to strike up conversation easily? Shave your logo into your hair or get a tattoo.

(6) Flyer / Business Card Exchanges.
Network with other local non-competitive businesses. See if they will display your business card or flyer in exchange for referrals, etc.

(7) Incorporate a Referral Incentive Program.
Offer your customers an incentive for referring customers to you. An incentive could be a discount on future business, a gift certificate, a gift, or whatever you decide that they incentive should be. You might also consider implementing a referral fee.

(8) Hold a Contest.
Offer a contest with a grand prize that would interest your target audience. Promote your contest through flyers, local newspapers, and local radio stations. This will get the word out about your business and will more than pay for itself. (however you have to have the startup cash to place ads in local newspapers and on the radio. If you don’t have startup cash, just use hand printed flyers and place them all over your the place (such as libraries, grocery stores, malls, etc). By holding a contest, you can also get your site listed on dozens of online contest directories.

(9) Directory Listings.
Make sure to list your company in all appropriate free directories. If you can afford it, get yourself listed in directories that require a fee (as long as you have researched that directory and it is a directory that will land you business).

(10) Wear Your Business Information.
Create t-shirts, hats, buttons, and bags with your company’s information and web site listed on them. You might feel like a walking advertisement but that is the point. :-)

(11) Magnet on Your Vehicle.
Shameless self promotion is the key. Custom printed magnets for your car are very inexpensive but very effective. Placing a magnet on your car gets everyone to know about your business. You will even get neighbors to refer you to other people without even having to say anything to them.

(12) Sponsor a Charitable Event.
Sponsor a charitable event that you care about. You will receive free PR for your business and it will feel good to do something for a cause that you care about.

(13) Sponsor a Client’s Event.
Sponsoring a client’s event can get your name out to all of the client’s contacts as well as remind your client that you are a valuable resource to them.

(14) Offer Free Consultations to Potential Customers.
Sometimes just offering the free consultation will land you the job, however, sometimes it won’t. When a client meets with you, you already have your foot in the door, so I think that it is worth the risk (if you are just starting out that is).

(15) Friends and Family.
There is nothing shameful in asking your friends and family to spread the word about your services and how talented and skilled you are. This is what family and friends do naturally anyways. When you first start out, ask them to send out an email to their close friends and family members regarding your new business. It is hard to ask even your closest family members to do this, but it is also important to do everything that you can to start your business.

(16) Is it a Business Card or a Coupon Code?
Instead of leaving all of that white space on the back of your business card, why not place a coupon for your services?

(17) Press.
Find interesting angles about your company to send press releases about your business.

(18) Set Up An Account on Flickr and Other Photo Sharing Sites.
Flickr is very popular and if your designs are really good, you will make a name for yourself by placing your images on Flickr and similar sites. Here is a list of alternatives to Flickr (Photo Sharing Sites). Make sure to place good tags on all of your images. Also try to get your images into groups of similar items. Such as a group called ‘Cool Brochures’.

(19) Print a Calendar for Your Customers.
Wouldn’t it be a nice thought to print out a calendar filled with your designs and give it out to your customers? A calendar is usually displayed where everyone can see it and needs to be constantly referred to for dates. A calendar is a perfect promotional item for your business and is well worth the money.

(20) Networking.
Network (without over schmoozing) every chance you get. Continuously give your business card out to as many people as you can. The easiest way to do this is by asking people that you talk with for their business card. You then have an easy way to give them yours. Take notes and if you were able to get a business card, take the time to send them a short email to thank them for their time.

(21) Printed Newsletters.
Although you are used to emailed newsletters, printed newsletters still exist. Utilizing printed newsletters is also an effective way to promote your business. Also by having a printed newsletter, you are collecting mailing address information about potential customers. Printed newsletters can be virtually free if you use your own printer.

(22) List Yourself in the Yellow Pages.
Get yourself a yellow pages listing. Although I have heard that it isn’t such a great deal anymore since so many people use the Internet.

(23) Promote Yourself on Printed Materials.
Promote yourself by placing your contact information on all of your printed materials.

(24) Professional Groups.
Attend meetings for local professionals groups such as The Chambers of Commerce, etc. You can introduce your business and get the word out about your services and what you can do.

(25) Send an Email to Everyone That You Know.
When you are first starting your business, it is important to put your neck out and send an email to everyone that you know. You should let them know that you just started a design business and that you would appreciate it if they kept you in mind if they ever needed your services. Also, ask them to pass on your information to anyone that they know.

(26) Contact Local Printing Service Bureaus, Office Supply Stores, ISPs, etc.
Contact your local printing service bureaus, office supply stores, ISPs, etc. to see if they will consider referring business to you in exchange for a referral fee.

(27) Participate in Trade Shows.
Participate in trade shows. This is a great way of getting your name out to industry leaders.

(28) Holiday Promotions.
Take advantage of the holidays. The holidays are a great time to send out a card or gift to past and current customers to show them that you appreciate their past business and to remind them that you still exist. Be innovative and you can think of a low priced option…even if it means homemade cookies with your logo baked into the middle.

(29) Write a Book
If you know enough about your trade to write a good book, then this book will be the best promotional piece for your business.

(30) Contact Publishers Regarding Your Availability.
Purchase the following book in order to gain access to the list of contact information for publishers and other companies on the market for a graphic designer … Artists & Graphic Designers Market 2007 (Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market)

(31) Get Involved in Social Events.
Social events are a great place to network too. Just don’t overdo it. Just be friendly and there will be an appropriate time to mention what you do. Some examples of social events are church, synagogue, and school events.

(32) Make Sure to Incorporate ‘Thank You’ into Your Marketing Plan.
Say ‘thank you’ to new customers, existing customers who hire you for a new project, referrers, to clients or vendors after a meeting, to vendors or associates after a job well done, peers who give helpful advice to you, or any other act of kindness that is associated with your business. Writing a hand-written note to say ‘thank you’ is the best route because it shows that you took the time to write an actual letter instead of an email. But, if you can’t get yourself to do this, then say ‘thank you’ with an email instead.

(33) Stay in Contact with People You Used to Work With.
Stay in contact with past companies that you worked for as an employee. Make sure to let them know that you are available for outsourced projects.

(34) Newsletter Cross-Promotion Works.
Find other industry leaders who publish newsletters. Cross promote in each other’s newsletters. Don’t cross promote in a direct competitor’s newsletter, but rather find someone who is in a similar field. For example, print designers could promote themselves with web designers, photographers, writers, etc.

(35) Learn More and Get More Work.
By taking classes and attending seminars, you are not only learning more and keeping up to date in your field, you are also meeting contacts, and that could mean more work for you. There is nothing wrong with staying ahead of the pack.

(36) Market to Past and Present Clients.
As a business owner, your biggest asset is your client list. Your customers are your biggest fans (if you have done a good job). They are the only people (other than family and friends) who believe in you and your work. You can communicate with them without them thinking that you are a telemarketer. Make sure to take notes on personal information such as family member names, how many kids they have, whether they are married or not, etc. Keep this information on an index card and reference it before you speak or meet with them.

Regularly communicate with your customers and make sure to remind them of discounts you offer for referrals. Make sure to ask previous customers for a testimonial and for referrals. I also suggest sending gifts and cards on holidays and birthdays. You should also consider asking existing and previous customers advice on how to improve your quality of service.

(37) Offer an Online Newsletter.
An emailed newsletter is a free and effective way to promote your business. Also by having an e-newsletter, you also are getting email / contact information about potential customers. Make sure to display a newsletter subscription box on your home page and on the top third of all other pages.

(38) Start and Write an Informative Blog.
A blog is one of the most effective forms of self promotion. If you write an effective blog, you can get thousands to your blog within a week (if you write well that is). Make sure to utilize SEO tactics … i.e.

  • Domain Name with Keywords - Try to purchase a domain name that has your number one keyword in it…such as flyergraphicdesign.com … just don’t be spammy about it.
  • Search Engines Like Text - Flash sites are beautiful but search engines like text more than images. Try to utilize a design that considers both SEO and beauty.
  • Use Meta Tags - Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords. Meta Title is the most important.
  • Utilize Header Tags - Use header tags in your content to emphasize the important headers within your articles.
  • Create Great Content - It is important to also make sure that some of your most important keywords are within your articles. However, you must place these keywords naturally within the article. You aren’t trying to be scammy about it, you just need to make sure that the search engines can recognize your article for what it is.
  • Link to Other Similar Blog Articles - Link to other similar blog articles for trackbacks (blogs normally links back to any blog that links to them)
  • Post Helpful Comments on Other Blogs - Make sure to visit similar blogs and post helpful comments to lead people back to your blog.
  • Add Your Blog to Blog Directories - Add your blog to blog directories as well as search engines.
  • Add Social Bookmarking Buttons - Add social bookmarking buttons such as digg and stumbleupon to your articles. Here is a large list of social bookmarking buttons and widgets.
  • Ping. Make sure to ping blog directories.
  • Technorati. Claim your blog at technorati.com and place technorati tags on all of your articles.

(39) Run Your Own Web Site.
Your web site can be your best friend when running a business. It is essential (if you ask me). Make sure to utilize SEO tactics … i.e.

  • Domain Name with Keywords - Try to purchase a domain name that has your number one keyword in it…such as flyergraphicdesign.com … just don’t be spammy about it.
  • Search Engines Like Text - Flash sites are beautiful but search engines like text more than images. Try to utilize a design that considers both SEO and beauty.
  • Use Meta Tags - Meta Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords. Meta Title is the most important.
  • Utilize Header Tags - Use header tags in your content to emphasize the important headers within your articles.
  • Create Great Content - It is important to also make sure that some of your most important keywords are within your articles. However, you must place these keywords naturally within the article. You aren’t trying to be scammy about it, you just need to make sure that the search engines can recognize your article for what it is.
  • Add Social Bookmarking Buttons - Add social bookmarking buttons such as digg and stumbleupon to your articles. Here is a large list of social bookmarking buttons and widgets.
  • Add Your Site to Search Engines & Directories - Add your blog to blog directories as well as search engines.

(40) Offer a Lower Cost Version of Your Services.
Offer a lower cost version of your services. If someone can’t afford using your services, then you might as well try to make at least some money from them. An example of this would be to offer template designed leaflets instead of custom designed leaflets.

(41) Offer a Discount for Orders Via Your Web Site.
Offer a discount for orders place through your web site.

(42) Think of Innovative Designs for Your Business Cards to Stand Out.
There are many ways to design your business cards, but there are some ways that are just outlandish. Find your own innovative way to stand out in the crowd. Take a look at these cool business card designs (and Part II) to get some great ideas of your own. One person even created their business card on a rubber band. All offices use rubber bands, so why not hand out a bunch of them and get noticed on a regular basis. Here are some cool flyers / leaflets too.

(43) Build a Great Portfolio and Submit it to Beautiful Design Portals.
There are sites on the net that accept submissions of personal design portfolios. Submit your beautiful portfolio to as many of these sites as possible.

(44) Offer a Very Low Price on One Service in the Expectations of The Customer Buying More.
Low prices often bring in more customers. Marketers use this tactic often. Offer one item at a very low price in the expectations that the customer will purchase another service as. An example of this would be to offer business card design for a very low price in the expectation that at a later time the customer will also want brochures, letterhead, envelopes, etc.

(45) Say Something Funny and Set Yourself Apart as The Funny Designer.
Sounds silly, but if the potential customer likes you, he is more likely to hire you. Here are some humorous graphic design jokes and here are some humorous web design jokes.

(46) Incorporate Video on Your Site and Go Viral with a Video.
Video is one of the hottest things on the web today so you should be incorporating it into your site. Of course you have heard of YouTube. If you create a video that evokes strong emotions, people will share it and share it faaaaaaaaaaaaaast. That’s the essence of viral success. You will know quickly if your video clip is a success. Submit videos to YouTube.com and other video sharing sites listed in this article.

(47) Post Free Ads on BackPage.com
Post free ads on BackPage.com to see if this gets you any work.

(48) Improve Your Content
Don’t have content for content’s sake. There’s been a big push recently to get as much content as possible on websites so that search engines see keywords in that content. But as users get savvier about the web, they are getting increasingly interested in the quality of content. No one is going to spread the word about content that is bad.

(49) Implement Social Bookmarking and Social Networking Tactics (Of Course)
What better way to spread the word about your work than through sites that are specifically designed for users to spread the word about what they like. Make the most of social bookmarking by getting your content on the best, most appropriate, sites on a regular basis through a targeted social bookmarking campaign. If enough people pick up on your content through these tools, you can see viral success just from this alone. I wrote an article on “˜Boosting Your Traffic Through Social Networking Sites‘ and Here is and article on ‘Tips for Viral Success’ that should help you if you want further help on this topic. Here is a huge list of social networking and bookmarking sites. Make sure to place social bookmarking buttons on all of your pages, especially on your articles. Here is a large list of social bookmarking buttons and widgets.

(50) Placing ‘Invite Friends’ or ‘Send Article to Friends’ Buttons on Your Web Site.
At the minimum, you should place an ‘Invite Friends’ button to your web site’s front page. However, it would work really well if you placed a ‘Send article to friends’ button on all of your article pages as well.

(51) Get Articles Published in Online Magazines / e-zines.
Try to get your articles published in online trade magazines and e-zines. Here is a list of graphic design and web design magazines.

(52) Watch the Major Freelancing Job Boards.
Make sure to keep on top of the freelance job postings. Here is a huge list of approximately 150 freelance job sources. And here are some graphic design job & career resources.

(53) Use Google AdWords or Similar Advertising Services.
Implementing an ad campaign on Adwords or similar type services. The way that this works is that you will pay a certain amount of money (usually at least 5 cents per clickthrough) per referral to your site. This type of ad campaign usually works perfectly for a service based site. Here is a link to Alternatives to Google Adsense / Adwords.

(54) Competitions and Awards.
Enter yourself in design competitions and awards and win. Here is a list of graphic design events, competitions, and awards.

(55) Start an Affiliate Program.
Starting an affiliate program is sometimes the best way to go. The way that this works is that you pay a certain set fee for every referral. This is good for people who don’t want to pay anything out of pocket for advertising, unless they get a referral that is. Here is an article on how to start an affiliate program.

(56) Find Poorly Designed Web Sites and Offer Your Design Services.
This idea might backfire on you in that people might yell at you. Find web sites that are poorly designed and contact the owner of the site and offer your design services. This works sometimes if you are able to use tact and constructive criticism.

(57) Ask for Testimonials.
Ask for testimonials from existing clients. Good testimonials are perfect for your web page and promotional items.

(58) Send Promotional Items for Your Services Along With Your Invoices.
There isn’t a better time to send a promotional item than with your invoice. Why? Because you know that the client is going to open that envelope if they are expecting an invoice.

(59) Submit Your Designs to Design Compilation Books.
Submit your best designs to design compilation books. Authors usually announce ahead of time that they are creating a book. Do some web research and find these authors.

(60) Pitch Articles to Design Related Magazines.
Pitch articles to graphic design and industry related magazines, e-zines, and other publications. Even if they don’t let you write the article, maybe they will consider you for a future article.

(61) Hang Out on Design Message Boards / Forums.
Make helpful comments on graphic design forums. When people have questions, try to answer them when nobody else knows the answer. Here is a list of graphic design forums and message boards.

(62) Join a Word of Mouth Referral Club.
Join a word of mouth referral club and get qualified leads.

(63) Visit Topic Specific Chat Rooms.
You can visit topic specific chat rooms. While visiting you can help people and display yourself as an expert. The word will get around. Of course mention your business but in a non blatant way. Most chat rooms have a profile in which you can mention your credentials.

(64) Create Your Own Locally Published Directory Online and / or Offline.
Create your own local business directory to get to network with other local business owners and to get your name out there in a unique way.

(65) Find an Agent to Promote You.
Find an agent to promote your services. Give your agent a percentage of your profits.

(66) Ask The Customer to Place Credits for Your Work on Published Materials.
Whether your designs are published on the net or in print, ask for your credits to be listed on the published materials. Don’t be pushy about this since they are still the customer.

(67) Open a Free Shop on Cafe Press.
Create a Shop on Cafe Press. Sell your designs on their items. It pays to try to come up with funny sayings and designs. If you make something funny enough, you will probably land up on Digg or StumbleUpon and get yourself a ton of traffic.

(68) Start Podcasting.
Start podcasting to your audience.

(69) Design a Beautiful Web Site and Then Submit it to a Best of Designs Type Site.
You will get tons of traffic if you get your site listed on an site for inspirational designs. Here is a list of sites that list inspirational designs.

(70) Design Open Source Templates and Traffic Will Come.
Why not design templates for web sites or for web scripts such as PhpBB, Drupal, Mambo, etc ? You might have to take a course to find out how to do this, but it will pay off because the user is required to keep a link to your site at the bottom of the template.

(71) Submit Mini Articles to Article Banks.
Write articles for original content on your web site. However, write a smaller version of this article for distributing on article banks. Article banks are databases of reusable articles. The way that this can help you is by placing a descriptive blurb about yourself at the bottom of the article. Something like: John Smith of John Smith Designs is available for brochure, letterhead, and business card design. Please call him at xxx-xxx-xxxx or visit him at johnsmithdesignsco.com.

(72) Submit Helpful Tutorials.
Submit helpful tutorials to tutorial directories. You will get tons of links back to your business’ web site if it is a quality tutorial. Plus, you will distinguish yourself as an expert in that field.

(73) Offer Free Information / Write an e-Book.
When people are desperate for information, it is easy to get them to download a free ebook. If one person reads your ebook and it is helpful to them, they will tell everyone about it. You will soon have a huge number of people coming to your site to download your free ebook. Of course there will also be people who send other people to your ebook. How will those people know about your web site? They will know your url because your will plaster your url all over that ebook so that people who get your ebook from someone else will visit your site. Essentially, it is one huge advertisement for your site”¦unless your ebook is a piece of junk. Make sure to write valuable content that actually is helpful to readers, or nobody will send it to anyone else or add a link to your site.

(74) Make Friends with Other Graphic Designers
Make friends with other designers who will hand off to you their extra work. There are many places to meet graphic designers, such as forums, social networking sites, and communities. We are launching The Graphic Design Community tomorrow, this is a great place to meet other designers. It already has approximately 7,000 members from our design forum.

(75) Make Friends with Other Freelancers in a Different Field.
Make friends with other freelancers who will hand off work to you that they aren’t able to complete. Career Buds is the perfect place to do this, it is a social networking sites for freelancers and a place for people to meet people either in their own career field or different career fields.

(76) Pull a Publicity Stunt.
Do something semi-nuts to get yourself recognized in the media. Maybe not…since I don’t know any of you, I’m afraid of what you may do.

(77) Use a Signature on all Emails.
An email signature is very important. Even one person catching a glimpse of your signature could save you when you are in a tight spot. Also, one good customer, could mean leads to many more customers. The way that you should display your signature is as follows:

John Smith
John Smith Designs Company
Providing brochure, letterhead, and business card design.

(78) Text (SMS) Messages
People these days love to text one another so give them something short and easy to remember to text to others. Brand yourself with a great phrase that reminds people of who you are and what you do; your own slogan if you will. Make it text-worthy and brief and you’ll see your name cropping up in conversation.

(79) Get Listed with Trade Associations.
Sign up with relevant trade associations and get listed in their online and offline directories.

(80) Comment on Blogs.
Visit blogs and make thoughtful comments to lead people back to your business’s blog or web site.

(81) List Your Design Samples on Portfolio / Gallery Sites.
Make sure to list your portfolio on as many portfolio sites as possible. Here is a list of portfolio sites.

(82) Contact Writers, Photographers, and Web Developers.
Contact writers, photographers, and web developers and let them know that you are looking for work. You can also mention that you will refer them to your clients if they do the same for you.

(83) Call into Radio Shows.
Call up radio shows and plug your business and web site address. Free PR.

(84) Write a Useful Guide that People Must Subscribe to In Order to Read It.
Write very useful content that is hard to find free on the Internet. Offer this guide for free as long as the user subscribes. Plaster your companies information all over the guide. You now also have added subscribers to your newsletter.

(85) Exchange Links.
Exchanging links use to be a big deal on the Internet. It still is important to have links from other sites to yours, however, link exchanges have some how lost their credibility. There are too many web sites owners who have abused the concept and have 100s of non-related links listed on their site. However, I believe that the link exchange could still be utilized in a positive way if you only partner with related web sites. You should also break up your links into useful categories. If you don’t break your categories of links, you haven’t created a useful resource for your users.

(86) Yuck…Cold Call Potential Customers.
I don’t like cold calling, but I have done it. I wrote an article about cold calling a few years back. You can refer to it right here.

(87) Ask Questions on Your Site and Hide the Answers in the Site’s Content.
A good tactic to get people to your site is to offer prizes and contests. One way to do this is to hide answers within your site’s content. Offer prizes or rewards to the people who find out the answers.

(88) Write a Column in Your Local Newspapers and Magazines.
Submit your ideas to local newspapers and magazines. Publishers are always looking for content.

(89) Keep Your Eye on Craigslist.
Craigslist might not be very pretty to look at but it is great for design work and other type of computer work. It is also a great place to network.

(90) Ask to Be a Guest Blogger on Other Blogs.
Most webmasters can’t turn down free, unique content. Offer to be a guest blogger on their blog and offer a spot for them to blog on your blog as well.

(91) Submit Your Web Site and Blog to Directories and Search Engines.
Submit your web site and blog to directories. One way links are important so spend at least a week or so submitting your site to relevant directories and search engines.

Here is a list of directories to submit your site / blog to.
Here is a list of search engines to submit your site / blog to.
Here is a list of blog directories to submit your blog to.

(92) Join Listservs for Other Designers and Business Professionals.
Listservs are a great way to network with other professionals.

(93) Create an Online Video Seminar and Invite People to Attend.
Create your own online seminar or class and invite people to attend. If you are good, your business will boom.

(94) Create Positive Testimonials for Services and Software You Try.
Many sites list their positive testimonials directly on their site along with the writer’s web site’s address. This is a perfect way to get a one way link to your site.

(95) Create an Elevator Spiel to Spew.
Create and practice what and how you will chat up your business with complete strangers. It works sometimes.

(96) Offer a Guarantee.
Potential clients might be concerned with changing designers and using your services for the first time. Address this concern by offering a satisfaction guaranteed claim.

(97) Get a List of New Businesses in Your Area and Contact Them.
Find out who just started businesses in your area and contact them about your services. All new businesses need designed materials.

(98) Get a List of New Web Sites and Newly Purchased Domain Names.
If you are a web designer, find sites that list newly purchased domain names. Contact the webmasters and personally offer your web design services (without spamming lists please).

(99) Host or Join a Blog Carnival.
Join or host a blog carnival.

(100) Provide Monthly Advice Chats.
Provide monthly advice chats where people who need help can chat online with you if they need help in your expertise.

(101) Everyone Loves Compliments.
Start out your blog, web site, or newsletter by doing a positive profile on other web sites or designers in the same niche as you. You will start off in their good graces and possibly get a link from them as well.

(102) Avoid Using Free Articles on Your Site.
It is tempting, and I’ve done it myself in the past, but try not to use redistributed articles on your site. These articles normally aren’t written well and search engines might penalize you for duplicate content. Additionally, if you take the time to write original content, you will get much more traffic to your site, as well as loyal subscribers.

(103) Link Back to Your Web Sites and Profiles From Social Networking Sites.
On your social networking profiles, make sure to link to your home page as well as your other social networking profiles. After all, social networking profiles get spidered by search engines too.

(104) Link to As Many Other Similar Blogs from Your Own Blog.
Believe it or not, linking out to other blogs is important because of trackbacks, pingbacks, and incoming links plugins. Here is a list of incoming links plugins for Wordpress.

(105) Use Linkbait.
Create useful and fun top 10 lists (or top 100 lists) to bring in lots of traffic. Submit these articles to social networking sites like Digg.com and see if it goes viral.

(106) Make Sure to Provide an RSS Web Feed.
Cater to the web savvy and provide an RSS feed of your content.

(107) Go Controversial.
Say things that are really controversial to strike up free publicity.

(108) Try Getting a Review.
Use ReviewMe.com to get reviewed.

(109) Build a Funny 404 Page.
Build a funny 404 page to get some viral action going on. Your site will probably be all over the networking sites.

(110) Print Out Funny Bookmarks.
Print Out Funny Bookmarks (with your biz info on it as well) and Place Them in Book Stores and Coffee Shops.

(111) Sponsor a Local Little League or Other Sports Team.
Buy uniforms for a local sports team with your branding on them.

(112) Place Your Business Card in a Restaurant’s Card Bowl.
Many restaurants have business card dishes that you can place your card in and / or take one out. It is worth a shot.

(113) Service Exchange.
Offer a local business free services in exchange for presenting your flyers, posters, or business cards.

(114) Schedule Radio Interviews.
See if you can get on radio shows for some free coverage.

(115) Get Articles Published in Magazines.
Try to get your articles published in trade magazines.

(116)Forwarding Viral Emails Might Work.
According to a study done by MarketingSherpa, the top viral marketing strategy used by B2C companies in the US last year was email forwarding. I find this hard to believe, but I will explain to you what the process of viral email forwarding is:

You have received email forwarding campaigns before. I get them from my Mom, my Dad, My husband’s Grandmother and his Mother, as well as many of my friends. These are emails that have been forwarded from one person to another to another to another and so forth. Usually the ones from my family are emails that say things like “Don’t honk your car horn because there is a murderer out there who will shoot you if you honk your horn”. Do you get those too? I consider forwarded email junk and throw these emails away, that is why I am not the best person to explain email forwarding to you since I hate these campaigns. The great thing about email forwarding campaigns is that they can continue to accelerate as new groups of people are exposed to the campaign. How Do I get people to forward my email to other people?

· The only way that someone will forward your email to other people is:

· There is a mutual benefit for them to send the email to others.

· Person shares your interests and thinks their friends will be interested as well

· Email has a great deal or free item.

· Upcoming event that they would like to share with others

· Scare tactic (like the above example) - please don’t do this.

(117) Stand on a Corner with Balloons and a Sign.
If you want to shameless promote your services, stand on a corner with a sign and some balloons. :-)

(118) Send Your Portfolio to Publishers and Advertising Agencies.
Make a CD or a mailable portfolio and send it to publishers and advertising agencies. You can even just send it to local agencies, print shops, other designers who might need help, and new or existing businesses. Read this article, it will tell you how to do it all.

(119)Become an Expert on Questions / Answers Sites.
There are Question and Answer sites all over the Internet. By offering answers on these questions, your name (and url) will get around quickly. Some Question / Answer sites are:

· AllExperts.com

· Yahoo Answers

· Answers.com

· Experts Exchange

· Wiki Answers

· MyLot

· CareerBuds

120. Just Be Amazing and Work Will Come to You.
Just be amazing and the work will come to you.

[tags]self promotion, self promotion ideas, self promotional ideas, marketing ideas, marketing ideas for graphic designers, self promotion for graphic designers, promotion for designers, marketing for designers, seo for designers, traffic for designers, freelancers, freelancing, self employment, free marketing ideas, innovative marketing ideas, innovative promotional ideas, marketing portfolio, promoting portfolios[/tags]

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  1. Posted November 28, 2007 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Quite a detailed list. Must have taken some time to put together!

  2. Posted November 29, 2007 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Very, very helpfull! Love this list …

  3. Posted November 29, 2007 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment on our website regarding our unique marketing technique using a photoshoot. Other can view it at http://webpagefx.com/blog/search-engine-optimization/website-promotion-idea-that-works/

  4. Posted November 29, 2007 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Very nice article… but your stupid cross pointer kept messing with my mind. When I want to take a screenshot, the pointer also becomes a cross and I was like: did I or didn’t I press Shift +Ctrl+P?

  5. Posted November 30, 2007 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    wow… that was really informative! i already implement quite a few of those ideas but definitely learned a good deal. thank you! (shameless plug, visit my company website, sunsigngraphicdesign.com!)

  6. Posted December 5, 2007 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    This is so so nice- thanks for this bunch of list you had and shared to us. many thanks to the author. NIce job

  7. Posted December 6, 2007 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Great list. I do some of these but you have given me some new ideas too.

  8. MattT
    Posted December 6, 2007 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Great ideas! A few here I will start to implement right away.

    Not a fan of the cross pointer, though.

  9. Posted December 6, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    (9) Directory Listings.
    Make sure to list your company in all appropriate free directories. If you can afford it, get yourself listed in directories that require a fee (as long as you have researched that directory and it is a directory that will land you business).

    One note about this one: if you are more likely to find clients locally, make sure the directories you put your listing in are organized by BOTH location and the type of services you offer. If it’s just a directory that lumps you in with all “consultants”, don’t waste your time… your efforts will be lost in the crowd. Examples of this kind of well-organized directory are FreelanceLocalTech.com and FreelanceDesigners. Also make sure the directory is actively maintained and doesn’t have too many dead links to discourage potential clients who might use the directory to find a freelancer like you.

  10. Posted December 6, 2007 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot for all the tips!!!

    Some are a little bit dodgy though :p

    Forwarding emails, tattoos!!! What would you do with your tattoos if you sell your company?

  11. larryedit
    Posted December 20, 2007 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Any article with the instructions, “Shave your logo into…” has to be good!

  12. Posted December 21, 2007 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic effort putting all of this information together.
    You hit so many great points. Nice work.


  13. Posted December 25, 2007 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    A very helpful piece of work.

  14. Posted January 8, 2008 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    thanks for gathering this info, i found it very informative. now to apply these to my everyday life. thanks once again

  15. Posted January 24, 2008 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    There are some very useful ideas here which I’ll certainly use. However, I would like to add to the list; “Lifecasting”. You can read about it here:

  16. sissi
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Thanks a million….great site….great and wonderful stuff….LOVED #76 Learned a lot already just scanning it.

  17. Posted January 29, 2008 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Wow!,wow!, & more wow! is all I can say ,but like Will Smith said in “BadBoys” to Martin Lawerance “Now that’s how you’re suppose to drive a MF’n car! You drove this article with all this great content like Tiger Woods from 600yds to within a couple of inches of the pin. Great Work and Speaking of Great Designs “Do you want a b.l.a.c.k. i graphicsdesigns ?

  18. Posted February 6, 2008 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    i agree with most of the points, although some of them (like press) are easier said than done. from personal experience i would definitely recommend running a good blog or personal web site. ironically i know so many freelance web designers that don’t even have a website or not a nice site anyway - the common excuse is lack of time… Not the best way to win new work though, is it!

    http://www.peopleperhour.com - Find freelancers today

  19. Posted February 17, 2008 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I am just going to have to go and buy some balloons now….

    Great ideas, and some that are left field enough to get me thinking about other things I can do.

  20. Posted February 27, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for all the helpful tips! Cindy

  21. Posted March 21, 2008 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the tips!

  22. michael fehdrau
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    I never thought of this new great ideas of promoting yourself/myself out there. I think I will take this challenge.

  23. Posted April 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    This is great


  24. Posted April 15, 2008 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    As a graphic designer and a business owner, the tips presented are needed. They are well thought through and if applied can produce tremendous success within a company no matter the size. Thanks!

    Prowess Design Firm
    “Experience the Extraordinary”

  25. Posted April 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    This is an awesome list and I have used many of these ideas in marketing my home based business and got results.

  26. Posted April 30, 2008 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Wow, I can only say! Thanks a million for all that good advice.

  27. Posted May 13, 2008 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Great Help

  28. Posted May 19, 2008 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I love the list! It is very helpful. Thanks so much.

    The Loft Salon & Med Spa
    LeaAnn Gehrke Owner

  29. Posted May 20, 2008 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    I really like your post!

    Keep up the great work!

    Ovi Dogar

  30. Posted June 11, 2008 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    I must say, “buy balloons and stand on the corner with a sign” made my day. Nice work on the list, but like someone else said, some of these are easier said than done. As for craigslist, sure make use of it if you want to design for very minimal cash (ie. $50 logos). No thank you.

  31. Posted June 17, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    This is amazing. I’m going to go down the list and implement all of this one by one!

  32. Posted June 30, 2008 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Great tips. I love number 6 and 36 (most important for many freelancers).

  33. Posted September 15, 2008 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I actually might end up using some of the ideas mentioned in this post. Thanks for that!

  34. Posted October 7, 2008 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    My two cents:

    Your best prospect for new business is through your old and existing clients, so follow these basic rules:

    1. Be professional and diligent with ALL your clients, large and small.
    2. Don’t charge for every time you pick up the phone or give advice.
    3. Act as if every project were the most important of your career.

    Visit http://www.whatsthebigidea.com/blog for more useful design examples.

  35. Posted October 20, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Great tips! I’m ready to fly higher!

  36. Posted November 5, 2008 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks for such a wonderful article! As a freelancer, I can’t stress enough how valuable this info is. I’m going to use these ideas for my site!

  37. D. Patel
    Posted November 19, 2008 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Hi got to say this is so cool that i want to know if this is copyright or not?

  38. Posted January 2, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen this article linked to numerous times on articles related to graphic design. I must say, it is worth its circulation. These are very common-sense suggestions but when one takes the time to employ as many of them as possible, the results are obvious.

  39. Posted January 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Love all the content, I been working as a full time graphic artist for the past 6+ years and I’m thinking in start doing freelance on the side so this is really helpful
    for me thanks for share sheers!!!

  40. Posted January 19, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Great tips - I can’t wait to try some of them!

  41. rubaiyat
    Posted March 2, 2009 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Here’s something that I find works. I have had my logo and telephone number tattooed on my arse and walk around all day in shopping malls and potential business offices.

  42. Posted March 22, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I currently have an incredible contest going on and I’ve having a very, very hard time finding the dozens of contest directories you mention in step 8.

    Please give me a hand with a few?



  43. admin
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Hi there. Here is a list - http://www.smasra.com/webmasters/blogging/have-a-contest-submit-it-to-this-sites-and-directory-list.html

  44. Simone
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    what a great help!


  45. nickydussek
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Great post. Full of ideas.
    There’s a great new competition out for young filmmakers who want to promote what they do where you can win a trip to the Cannes Lions Festival June 09. More here http://www.youtube.com/canneslions

  46. Posted May 1, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic list! Thanks for putting it together so nicely.

  47. Posted May 17, 2009 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Really saved me some time! Nice article.

  48. Posted May 26, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Awesome!Very Cool! Have already implemented quite a few of these ideas but there are soooo many more than I could ever imagine! I am going to forward to ALL of my designer friends. Thanks for all the great info.

  49. Posted June 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink


  50. Og728
    Posted June 17, 2009 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Nice tips…

    I hope you can give us more unconventional ideas other than listed here.

  51. graphics bird
    Posted July 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Great ideas!

  52. Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Well done - very detailed. After successfully utilizing some of the mentioned advice, I can only back up what he or she has written. Although I love a good cold call once in a while!

  53. Posted August 28, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Great post. going to be doing a ton of these listed here. So far the best list i have seen for promotion ideas. GREAT JOB!!!! thanks, your friends at RedTie Media

  54. Posted September 5, 2009 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    Awsome tips!! I’m just starting out freelance graphic design and found this information great!! :)

  55. katie
    Posted September 20, 2009 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    this has to be one of the most helpful articles i have found i feel like a promoting expert now thnx

  56. Posted October 7, 2009 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    My comment would be that If you make a living from graphic design - and you’re looking for the latest home based business ideas - why not expand your creative services with copywriting?

  57. Posted October 16, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, very helpful.

  58. Sourav Bhar
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    This is really an amazing awesome site and trust me it really gave me ideas as well as a total boost up to startup soon asa a Graphic & Web designer..
    Appropriate and easiest tips and plenty of options. I even liked as most of them have links added to help me get more ideas and support.
    Thank u so much :)

  59. Posted August 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this…
    Today is a computer era.Every thing has done through computer.Graphic Designing is important part of computer.I want to give advice for them who become to Graphic Designers ,They should doing self Prentice.We know that practice make man perfect.

    Jobs Online

  60. Posted August 28, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    This is great help for those who love graphic design and freelancers. That’s too many to learn which may enhance anyone to go on freelancing.

  61. Posted October 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Speaking from 20+ years in the business (and still learning), some of these suggestions are really excellent. ie: speaking engagements, posting free ads, sponsorship, finding a promotional agent in different areas. Some are off the radar but could work well in some cases, like shaving your logo into someone’s hair or get a logo tattoo. Some are just for laughs and some are just common sense. ie: have your own web site.

    Anything online, related to your profession that offers promotion of your web site is always good. And these days, that should be your first order of business to gain quality-minded clientele.

    But some really shouldn’t be done if you value your time and talents. ie: put a coupon on the back of your business card for any design services. Never say or imply coupon, discount or bargain in this business for design. Ours is a highly skilled profession. Do you see a diamond cutter offering coupons? Our business is similar to his. Forming colors and shapes into a valuable piece creating a shining cause and effect. But we do even more than he. We form ideas… those ideas ARE the rays of light streaming through.

    Instead add benefits and value to your entourage ie: limited SEO services, extra printed pieces or monogrammed tote bags, hats, pens etc… bearing your logo or offer a complimentary wine and dine engagement to a potential client (peppering in a little consultation) or a loyalty incentive to a quality client that has used you for some time. The only other exception is “non-profit” organizations. You can add many benefits without taking such a big bite out of your time and talents.

    Giving some of your time and talent as volunteer work for community involvement ie: youth workshops, speaking engagements or the such, is ok, to a certain degree. But giving away your professional time to create something specific for someone’s personal monetary profit can create a backlash of unwanted clients that come back again and again for freebies, thus wasting tons of your valuable time. I had this happen for years. Then I woke up.

    A very powerful way to gain clientele that was barely mentioned in the list is to attend trade shows and talk to businesses you may be interested in working with… it can be like catching fish in a barrel. Bring lots of business cards and brochures.

    And another good way to possibly gain potential clients is to recommend someone you met with another client or colleague on Linkedin or other business networks.

    To gain more quality clientele (after you’ve been doing it for a few years) you could hold a small client celebration party with light refreshments, inviting all your clients and their colleagues that may be interested in becoming one. Relax in this scene… and no shop talk unless they bring it up… but even then keep it light.

    So there are countless ways of gaining quality clients for little or no cost to you.

    I wish you all great success! 

  62. Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    This was very helpful. I have been doing alot of these things for a long time.

  63. Posted February 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Well, this is an example for a bunch of good ideas. Let’s keep it up this way; go to http://www.expositus.hr (flash or html) to see much more, and to order sth. Cheers to the author of these promo ideas!

  64. sinazo toto
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    im a graphic student and nearly done with my studies and need a place where i could do my training ..even if its for free because its my passion ,so plz help 0731589861 and am residing in pretoria

  65. Posted March 20, 2011 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    #80 on your list, commenting on blogs: I have now successfully used one of your suggestions for self promotion. Great list, thanks!

42 Trackbacks

  1. [...] clipped from allgraphicdesign.com [...]

  2. By 120 Ideas Para Promocionar Tus Servicios de Freelance on November 29, 2007 at 10:44 am

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