In order to attract great clients and interesting projects, grow your business or land that job you’ve always dreamed of, you need to show the world your value and make yourself stand out from the crowd.
The design arena is a very competitive field, so chances are you should be spending some time and effort on making yourself noticed and putting your name out there. Or, in other words, you need to start thinking about marketing yourself as a designer! If you have no idea where to begin, here’s 5 simple steps you can try right now.

1. Define your brand / Start your online web presence

In order to market yourself, you first need to define yourself and your brand. Who are you? What do you do? What can you do? What are your strongest skills? What do you want to do? Let people know who you are and what you can do.

A great place to start is to create a nice personal website. Take a nice photograph, pick a pleasant color palette, and write a few thoughtful words about yourself. If you don’t have much time, you can always build a simple about.me page.

Look at the personal websites of other designers for some inspiration and create something that neatly expresses who you are and what you are passionate about.

2. Create some content

In order to market yourself, you need to put yourself out there. How? By showing off your creativity and personality through your work. Already have a couple of wonderful projects to show for? Great! Build yourself a nice portfolio (you can build your own from scratch or use an online platform like Behance).

You don’t have any projects to show off yet? Then get to it! If you don’t have any work projects, or you can’t show them (more likely due to NDAs), then consider doing something specifically to showcase your personality and your skills. Microsites are a great way to do it! Take a look at this microsite that teaches users about conversion rate optimization. Think about the people you want to attract, and create valuable content for them. Infographics, eBooks, UI Kits, illustrations, fonts… the options are endless.

3. Share the content / Share the love

Now that you have created the content, go ahead and share it! Remember, you have to give, in order to get. Make sure that your content has a certain level of quality and that it is valuable to others. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable or share your expertise with others – it will help you create awareness to your brand and position yourself in the field. Use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms in order to find out and engage your target audience

4. Keep yourself up-to-date

In this ever-changing world of information technology, where new concepts and technologies are born everyday, great designers distance themselves from the crowd by consistently being on top of the game.

How can you do this? Commit yourself to read relevant books within your field (for extra points write a blog post about it afterwards), pick a couple of blogs in your industry and try to read their articles on a daily basis or expand your horizons and learn new skills by taking an online course (which you can later add to your CV). The Interaction Design Foundation offers a nice set of courses in the design field.

5. Socialize

Last but not least, you must socialize with your audience and your peers. Networking is a very powerful marketing tool that you should use in order to make connections and build mutually beneficial relationships. Help, get help, share ideas and check what your peers are talking about.

You can start by picking a couple of relevant groups on Linkedin, industry-related forums, and other relevant communities. Aim to be involved and actively participate in them, making sure that you are always nice, respectful and professional to everyone. Attending events is another great option. Check out this constantly updated list of events and conferences in the design field.

Not enough? Want more? Check out these 10 online marketing strategies that don’t cost a dime.

Author bioCarla Saraiva is a usability engineer. If it has to do with Usability, UX or HCI, she’s on it!

header image courtesy of Justin Burns