March 26, 2020
Are you a designer seeking to elevate your brand and attract high-end clients? Maybe you’ve been booking lately, but not all of your recent projects fall into the “dream client” category. You’re putting in the work to grow your business, but there’s a disconnect when it comes to raising your prices and appealing to the elevated market you desire.
If your hand is raised, you’re not alone. Designers often ask me how they can elevate their brand image (and elevate their prices too!).
There are countless ways to elevate your offerings… but I’ve found that there is always one common thread:
VALUE is the common thread underlying an elevated brand. When you add value to your services, you can then raise your prices accordingly—adjusting them to reflect the increased worth behind your services.
Today I’m covering just one way you can add value to your services as a graphic designer: offer a specialized skillset.
A specialized skillset is a strategic or artistic capability that sets you apart from your competition. Maybe you can draw incredible illustrations, or maybe you’re familiar with digital animation. Whether you realize it or not, I’m willing to bet that you already have a specialized skillset you can incorporate into your services… It’s kind of like uncovering your design superpower!
Every designer offers design expertise. But not every designer offers additional expertise in a specialized area.
A specialized skillset adds immense value to your offerings. In addition to working with a talented designer, your clients are also getting to work with a specialized [artist, illustrator, animator, strategist]… all under one roof. Expertise in a specialized skillset allows you to serve your clients at a much higher level—thus elevating your brand (and your prices).
If you’re sitting here thinking, “But I don’t have a special skillset!”… I’m going to challenge you on that one. Sometimes we don’t realize how unique our talents actually are!
For example, I include custom illustrations in my brand design package. But it wasn’t until I started talking with other designers that I realized custom illustrations are not typically included in most design packages. I started to see how valuable my illustration skill actually is for my clients. Once I realized the worth behind that skillset, I was able to more clearly communicate its value to potential clients. It became a selling point, and it allowed me to elevate my brand.
Your unique skillset could be an artistic quality you already possess… or it might mean acquiring a new skill that would benefit your clients. Sometimes your unique skillset is not an artistic quality at all: your expertise might lie in digital marketing or launch strategy.
I’ve created a list of specialized skillsets that a designer might offer. Take a look and see if you can offer expertise in any of these areas:
– Custom Illustration
– Customized Typography
– Package Design
– Layout / Publication Design
– Brand Stationery
– Hand Lettering / Calligraphy
– Color Palette Composition
– Brand Photography
– Art Direction for Brand Photoshoots
– Art Direction for Curated Brand Gifts
– Social Media Audits
– Social Media / Blog Post Templates
– Digital Marketing
– Email Marketing / Design
– Client Identification
– Launch Strategy
– Ongoing Design Support
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you’re still unsure, take an hour to write out every step of your client process. How are you already serving your clients with extra love, resources, or expertise? Or maybe… what skill would you be interested in learning / mastering?
You don’t have to do all of these things (and you shouldn’t try to!)… but you can choose one to do well. And make sure it’s a skill that you actually like! Clients will definitely start booking you for your expertise in this area… so it should be something you really enjoy doing.
Once you’ve identified your specialized skillset… start talking about it! Make sure your potential clients know that you are an expert in this niche. It’s not bragging: it’s informing potential clients about a benefit that could genuinely help them.
Here are a few ways you can build your specialized skillset into your messaging:
Lastly, don’t forget to ask your current clients about the results they’ve seen from working together. Send an “exit interview” including a question asking how they benefited from your specialized skillset. Bonus points if you can turn it into a review listed on your website!
What’s your specialized skillset? I’d be so excited to hear about it. I hope you’ll let me know what you uncover, and how it impacts your business. I have no doubts that your specialized skillset will help you elevate your brand!
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