How
04.

How

How can you reach your target group?

Which media can you use? How can you collaborate?

Step 4:

  • shows the importance of collaboration in achieving your objectives;
  • describes how you can use promotional activities;
  • explores social media in greater depth;
  • provides insight into the sales process.

Introduction

Once you have an idea of your product or solution and the client you want to reach, the next step is to determine how you are going to do this. Where can you find your target groups? Where do they go, what do they read, which websites do they visit? Put yourself in the shoes of your clients and find out where and when you can get their attention.

Successful entrepreneurs are able to get a large yet specific group of partners and media on board in such a way that they all contribute to achieving the dream or objective. Broadly speaking, this is done through collaboration, promotion and exposure and direct and indirect sales. This is shown and described further below.

Collaboration

Collaboration can help you enter new markets. The Japanese artist Shukou Tsuchiya originally made traditional Japanese drawings, but after starting to work with top stylist Shinichi Mita he also entered the world of fashion. Read how in this interview.

Collaboration can also result in new products, such as Franchise Animated.

Franchise Animated is an animated typeface by 1 type designer and 110 animators. For this specific animated typeface we have round up 110 talented animators from all over the world. We asked every animator to pick a glyph and animate it using no more than 4 colors, 25 frames and a 500 x 600 px canvas in Adobe After Effects. The animators had complete freedom to work their magic within those 25 frames. The result is a wide variety of styles and techniques. The color palette and letterforms tie it all together.

Although I worked alone, everything I did was with other people. The only thing I really did alone was make the actual drawings. So I thought, ‘My philosophy is shared by the people I often work with – it’s a kind of trademark – so let’s create a label that allows us to present our work together’. And this became The Goodfellas Network. We are there for the client and we don’t do it for the money, but to create something we believe in.

Collaboration also enables you to join forces with other creative professionals. Luis Mendo on collaboration and the creation of The Goodfellas Network:

Although I worked alone, everything I did was with other people. The only thing I really did alone was make the actual drawings. So I thought, ‘My philosophy is shared by the people I often work with – it’s a kind of trademark – so let’s create a label that allows us to present our work together’. And this became The Goodfellas Network. We are there for the client and we don’t do it for the money, but to create something we believe in.

Collaboration can also help you break through internationally. Terry Guy (of Monorex, which began as a street art collective and has now developed into an international design agency) talks in the following interview with Computerarts about how his company Monorex consists only of collaboration:

“Is it possible to have fun, do what you love, work as a collective and develop an international creative agency? Monorex’s founder Terry Guy tells Garrick Webster how he and his team made it happen.

“The whole business plan is collaboration,” says Monorex founder Terry Guy. And there probably isn’t a better way to sum up the company, which has just celebrated five years in operation, and declared purple to be its brand colour for year six.

With a successful break-out studio running for nearly two years in Malmo, Sweden, Monorex also has a foothold in Scandinavia, as well as an office in Australia. What started off as a street artists’ collective customising baseball caps and doing the odd canvas in Camden, is beginning to look increasingly like a global design agency. The client list, which includes Reebok, Umbro, Casio and many more, is growing all the time. What Terry Guy has managed to do is pull together a network of artists and designers and, via Monorex, connect them with these major brands. The brands want to tap into youth markets that appreciate graffiti art and everything associated with it. A lot of work is also undertaken for PR and marketing companies wanting a reliable design group whose style is fresh and authentic for the fickle, fast-moving youth scene. Monorex offers that solution.”

Read the full interview here.

There are therefore different ways in which collaboration can help you achieve your objective – however the binding element is often the common drive. After all, you both need this drive – first to come together, and then to successfully continue to work together. Most collaborations come to an end because they are not based on the same drive.

Whatever the form of your collaboration, promotion and sales are essential for finding your client.

Still from Franchise Animated

Promotion

Your own website

Many steps come together when making your website. Your drive is essential here too as it is the glue that binds your story together. You need to consider your main target group (Step 3), what you want to achieve with this target group on your website, and what you want visitors to do during and after their visit to your website.

You also need to decide on the purpose of your website in relation to other media that you use. Will you refer people to Facebook, for example, to show how your work is created? Will you use a different platform for sales?

Some interesting examples of portfolio websites are shown on this site: awwward

And a selection of good websites is given here: site inspire

Cargo has made its own selection of portfolio websites: Cargo Collective

Finally, viewbook is a useful tool, primarily used by photographers: viewbook

Blogs

Blogs are essential for getting your name established and promoting your work and projects. There are lots of blogs about art, design and lifestyle. A few of these are seen as being leading, and you will often see blogs re-blogging posts from the most important blogs.

You can start by making a list of blogs that match your fascination. Different bloggers may be active within a single blog, so look at who blogs the most about what interests you. Also look at how posts are displayed. Make sure that it is possible for your post to be copied, and if it is, find out which blogs they appear on (for example using Google Alerts and searching using Google Blogs). You can then add to your blog list.

You can also try signing on to a blog and blogging for them, possibly for free. This is good for your status and you will see that you are invited more often to important openings, parties, exhibitions and so on by people who benefit from you writing for them.

Follow where and how your posts are placed; often, if they are placed in a large blog, smaller blogs will copy them.

E-mail newsletters

You can use e-mail newsletters to let people know what you are working on. There are various tools available for this, such as Mailchimp, for example to follow who has read your e-mail newsletter and which subjects they looked at. This makes it possible to pinpoint what people find interesting. You also learn when the best moment is to send your e-mail newsletter.

Some more good tips can be found here: 10 golden rules for successful e-mail newsletters (in Dutch)

Networking

Personal contact combined with a good presence – both online and in other media – increases the chance of getting an assignment. After all, people still like to do business with people they know. You will of course sell your work or get assignments because of your online presence alone, but a combination of both works best.

It is also important to go to openings, exhibitions and so on, but focus on those networking opportunities that match your drive and fit in with your plan. Many creative professionals only go to networking events if they know that colleagues will be there, but it is more important to go to the events that your clients attend.

Awards

In many fields, awards are seen as an important way of showing colleagues what is happening in the field and the achievements being made. In advertising, for example, there are many awards for different segments (such as SpinAwards, ADCN Lampen, Gouden Loeki, Esprix, Effie, San Accent, Magneten and Nickelodeon Grote Reclame Prijs).

Awards (and, most importantly, winning them) can make a significant contribution to your reputation, credibility and network. Choose the awards that you know are important to your client group and that they will attend. Try to work out your chance of success beforehand by approaching people who have experience with the particular award. Some awards are mainly the domain of old boys’ networks, in which case it is often not worthwhile taking part if you do not have a certain reputation. It therefore makes sense to also look at who won last year and whether you fit the mould.

The Art List is a good resource for international awards.

anouk griffioen awards_thumb

Fairs / events

These can be good networking opportunities. Here too, choose the most important ones in your field that you expect your clients to attend. People also often set a date for a lunch or drinks with a client at exhibitions or events. This increases the effectiveness of your visit – particularly if your client brings other contacts along.

Exhibitions / shows

You need to take part in exhibitions and shows to present your work in the way that you feel it should be presented. Make sure that you do not deviate from this. Group exhibitions can be interesting for introducing your work to a broader public and for working together with other parties.

Many creative professionals however have a tendency to focus too much on the design and presentation of the exhibition and too little on inviting potential clients.

Portfolio sites

Some portfolio sites have taken over part of the function of an agency, providing an overview of the creative work currently available. However, you should be critical of which sites you choose to show your work on, as some are unprofessional due to the lack of selection that takes place. You should also look at the sites used by the people you look up to or value. The fact is however that portfolio sites are used by many art directors, buyers and collectors to find out what is available and to search for certain pieces of work or styles. You can therefore benefit just from having a presence.

If you are included in the daily selection on a portfolio site such as Behance, there is a big chance that the number of visitors to your website will increase significantly. After all, this gives you a global public.

Social Media

Using social media to reach clients
_ by Ayman van Bregt

Introduction

Social media is now an unmissable part of the media landscape and more and more a starting point in business relationships. In the Netherlands, for example, there are 7.5 million active Facebook users and 3.3 million active Twitter users. For companies in a B2C market, this means opportunities and, in many cases, also a need to have a presence. More than three million people in the Netherlands have a LinkedIn profile (source in Dutch of statistics: Nederlandse Social Media Academie). This critical mass means that social media provide opportunities to be professionally active, and to use social media to reach clients and as a commercial tool.

Essence

Social media is not just a tool to be used for sending your own information, but is also perfectly suited for receiving information about what other people are sharing. The essence of social media is, I believe, expressed in the following definition: ‘A form of media that enables you to behave sociably and to stimulate social behaviour and encourage it between people, so that you can focus on the people relevant to you.’

Set your objectives

Before starting with social media, it is important to determine what you want to achieve with it. Social media can provide many opportunities, but it also requires a number of skills. For example, it is important to be able to listen and to be able to cope with criticism. Social media means making use of open communication resources in which all kinds of people have opinions that can be interpreted by other people as the truth. You should therefore try, based on your objectives, to determine whether it is useful to achieve these objectives through social media; this also focuses your attention on your expectations of the medium. A brief summary of the opportunities provided by the three largest social media platforms is given below:

A handy tool for determining which marketing objectives can be achieved using which social media is this social media objectives overview (in Dutch).

Determine value

People are susceptible to attention and social media is only really social if the attention you give is genuine and sincere. Work out where the people relevant to you are active – in other words, which social media platforms the people you want to contact use. You then need to determine (based on the possibilities provided by the platform) how you can pay people attention and of what value you can be to them. You should also make sure that the speed of the platform suits you; Twitter, for example, is a very fast medium, while LinkedIn is much ‘slower’.

Create value

Paying attention to what other people are doing also makes it easier to focus the attention on yourself. It is up to you how much time you want to spend on this: social media is less about an investment in money and much more about an investment in time. Spend the time wisely and you will get more in return. If you do not have much time you can also participate ‘passively’. Determine, based on the phases described below, which activities you will carry out.

In any case, you need to be clear about what you do and do not want to do on a social media platform so that it is clear to people what they can expect from you.

Make good use of the opportunities provided by social media

Before investing serious time in social media, first explore the platforms you want to use. Try to relate your choices to your objectives, but also make sure that you make good use of the opportunities that the platforms provide. A LinkedIn profile can be very useful, but it may also be helpful to take a more active part in ongoing discussions in some LinkedIn groups, to highlight your expertise. Plan time for this in from the start so that you get into the habit of spending time on it to achieve real results.

Frequently asked questions

How can I use Twitter to communicate images?

It is certainly true that it is easier to present images on Facebook and LinkedIn than on Twitter. However, sharing a link to the image in a tweet, accompanied by a good, punchy text line, can quickly attract attention. Adding relevant hashtags can also help you reach active Twitter users who are not yet following you, which goes quicker on Twitter than on Facebook and LinkedIn. Use this Handleiding Twitter Zakelijk gebruiken (Guidelines for using Twitter professionally; in Dutch) to find out more.

What can I get from a professional (and boring) platform such as LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important in the business world. A good LinkedIn profile means that you are easier to find on Google, and it is now also possible to include visual content. Read how to do this in this article (in Dutch).

It is also easy to network with like-minded people using LinkedIn groups, and you can let your network know what you are up to by placing regular updates. Use this Het ecosysteem van LinkedIn als basis voor het LinkedIn profiel article (The LinkedIn ecosystem as a basis for a LinkedIn profile; in Dutch) to find out more.

Social media tips

  1. Be sure to pay attention to your social media contacts. Everyone is susceptible to attention, and if you can be sincere and have something to offer, you will be a step closer to your objective.
  2. Manage the expectations that may result from your participation on a social media platform. The American digital media analyst Jeremiah Owyang refers in his Twitter profile (bio) to his blog on how he uses Twitter to attempt to manage expectations.
  3. Stay abreast of developments in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and other useful tools to get more from these networks, for example using the daily tips & tricks published by the Nederlandse Social Media Academie (in Dutch).

Social media summarised

  • Decide which objectives you want social media to help you achieve.
  • Find out where your target group is active and only use those social media channels.
  • Decide what value you can add to the platform.
  • Pay attention to receive attention.
  • Ensure that you make good use of the opportunities the social media platform provides.
  • Manage the expectations of other platform users.

If you want to know more about social media the articles below may help (all in Dutch):

Acquisition using social media

10 tips for professional social media success

Making professional use of Twitter

Sales

What companies sell and consumers buy is not the same thing. For example, Nike sells trainers and sports clothes; consumers buy the hope of improved performance. Porsche sells ‘performance vehicles’; consumers buy the ultimate status symbol.

The same applies to the clients that you approach. A client does not buy a ‘graphic design’; he buys a way to present his brand. A client does not buy a drawing, but a visual reinforcement of a message, for example, so that the product sells.

Photographer Rahzi Rezvani has his own way of approaching people, and his self-confidence helps him talk to new clients: ‘I have got a bit of a strange way of approaching people. I call them and say, “Look, I would like to talk to you for three or four minutes, I’ll show you my portfolio and if after five minutes you don’t like it, I’ll pick up my portfolio and go. However, if you do like it I’ll sit down and we can talk further.” Of course, if they don’t like it it’s a waste of time, for me and for them. But never mind – that’s what I do, and it works.’

You can read the full interview here (in Dutch).

For many people, sales has negative connotations as they see the clichéd image of the salesman with his foot in the door.

However, ‘good’ selling is about making people happy. But how do you sell so that it makes someone happy? To make someone happy, you first REALLY need to know their interests: what do they feel strongly about? Or, what do they lose sleep over? If you are going to find this out about someone, you need to take the right steps. These steps are explained based on the following sales model:

This model has various phases. You first go through the phases one-by-one but, as with the Creative Business Map, it is an iterative process in which you sometimes need to refer back to an earlier phase to move on. The phases are described below.

 

Phase 1: trust

You start by building up trust, which you do by exchanging information – personal or otherwise. This could be information about mutual acquaintances, the city you studied in or live in, artists you admire, fascinations and passions for films, books, and so on. This is used to break the ice, and the trust that is built up is a condition for being willing to share important information.

 

Phase 2: exchange information

Listening properly is essential in this phase. Make sure that the client has the space to tell his story – he should be talking for about 80% of the time.  It is important not to make the common mistake of only informing, telling and presenting. In this phase, it is about the client’s story. You listen not only with your ears, but your whole body should show that you are interested in the story. You do this by allowing moments of silence, by saying ‘mmm-hmm’, by making notes, nodding, and so on. In this way, you connect with the client. It is important in this phase to come to the heart of the matter: keep asking questions, what is the personal need? What is keeping the client awake at night, or what is he interested in? Before you can solve someone’s problem, you first need to know exactly what that problem is.

It is essential to listen properly. A handy tool for this is the LSD technique – Listen, Summarise, Question. You can find out more about this here (in Dutch).

 

Phase 3: solution

You probably already felt the need several times to come up with a solution in the information phase. However, put this off by formulating questions, possibly with your solution in mind, which helps you to test your theory and slowly work towards a solution.

Only when you feel that you have come to the real issue or need should you move on to the creative phase. When you have reached this point, you summarise the problem as diagnosed by you and check to make sure that you have understood it correctly. If you have got it wrong, you need to return to the information phase. The correct response to the client’s problem and need is a major selling factor – ‘Finally someone who understands my problem!’

This is where your creative background is useful. How can what you provide help someone in their need? Or, how does your service or product match the demand? It may be that the solution is a variant of your usual product or service, or you may discover in this phase that it is mainly your drive and your story that finds resonance and that you need to make some small changes to your product or service. This could be an actual change to the product, or to the story so that it does find resonance. In the first case, you adapt your service to the demand of the client, for example by telling him that you can develop exactly the theme he is looking for. You give him a few ideas to prove what you can do. If you are selling an existing product, you emphasise the product properties that match the client. For example, ‘My work is also about development and progress.’

If the client sees your product as the solution to his needs, the client will want to buy it. Now comes – for many – the most difficult, but most important part – making the deal, or the financial aspect.

 

Phase 4: making the deal

Many sellers find this phase hard as they have difficulty asking someone to buy something. They may start to bring niceties into the equation, or look for ways out, for example by suggesting that the client thinks about it for a while first. The client, who just now was so enthusiastic about your idea, then also begins to have doubts, ‘Maybe you could write everything down for me’. The result is that you lose momentum. Be brave and clear, and do not give up in this phase – try to close the deal without being too insistent. If you get the feeling that the client is still unsure, try to find out why. You probably missed part of an earlier phase (for example not enough trust has been built up, or your picture of the need is incomplete).

But in fact, you do not need to be fearful of or have doubts about making the deal. After all, the client has a demand and you have the perfect solution. You are happy and he is happy. If you had not made the deal, the client would not be happy because he would still have his problem. Making the deal is therefore where you really help the client.

If you want to know more about the art of convincing people, watch this video:

Sales summarised

  • Selling is positive; you make someone happy.
  • Selling is a creative, interactive process – you constantly need to switch between different phases and come up with a good solution on the spot.
  • Listening is more important than talking.
  • Keep asking questions and do not come up with a solution too soon.
  • Make sure that your drive and product match the client’s demand.

If you have got a meeting with a potential client, use this checklist:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I want to achieve?
  3. Research the person/public (on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).
  4. What is the purpose of the meeting, what do I want to achieve?
  5. What story do I need to tell?
  6. What is the common ground with the person/public and how can I take advantage of that?
  7. Obtain feedback.

After sales

The importance of after-sales is often underestimated. It is important that, once you have introduced yourself to someone, you maintain contact. This is how you build up a relationship. You need to let people know that you are still around. Many potential clients will not have an assignment for you right away, so it is important that they think of you when they do. You therefore need to make sure that you stay ‘top of mind’. Art director Rob van Bracht has the following to say about this:

“A few days ago I was doing some portfolio reviews. You go back home with a pile of visitor’s cards, a postcard and a few booklets. Of the ten booklets, four or five will be connections on Facebook or LinkedIn and one will send an update six months later, but that’s it, and you never hear from them again.”

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Who

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05.

Revenue model

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