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Simplifying marketing for pattern designers

Simplify marketing for surface pattern designers title with image of girl on laptop at desk

Do you feel overhelmed by marketing? Today we are going to talk about simplifying marketing for pattern designers.

If you’re starting out it can be hard hearing about all of the things that you should be doing and feeling like you need to be doing all of those things and then feeling super overwhelmed which usually results in not doing anything.

So what are the really important things that you need to start with? What are the nice to have? What can you add to?

The first thing that I wanted to say is that you don’t want to try to do everything at once, because if you’re trying to do everything at once, you’re not going to do anything at all. So I would recommend picking one thing to get started with now. What is amazing as an overall marketing strategy is to have your website set up, to have your social media set up and to be contacting clients and customers regularly. You might even see other people that are very successful that are doing all these things. Just consider though in some of these cases, that person is not doing all of those things themselves. They’ve got a team behind them helping. So just keep that in mind when you are trying to set your marketing strategy in place. Setting up a large marketing strategy is going to take time.


I would recommend starting with one of two things. First of all, it’s really important as a surface pattern designer to have an Instagram account where you’re regularly updating and showing your work and the other thing I think that’s really important is to have a website.
That’s somewhere that you’re going to be sending people to see your work and find out more about you. When you’re setting up your website and you’re creating your overall marketing strategy, it’s really great to think about things such as having really consistent branding colours, branding fonts, and a branding voice that you use throughout everything that you’re doing. However, if that is stopping you from getting started, then I would just forget about that for a second and just get started.

A great way to start with branding if you’re stuck on that is to go to Pinterest, type in branding colours and just start collecting some images that you think might be suitable for your brand. What do you want your brand to say about you? Think about all of those things and start collecting some images. And then get started. The thing is you can change it later on so it’s not set in stone. And the thing to remember is when you’re first creating your website it’s the most perfect time to experiment. Just get it up,  get started and don’t worry too much about what it looks like because you’ve got to drive the traffic there for people to actually see it anyway. The likelihood is in the beginning, not many people are actually seeing your website so that’s the time to just start putting it together the best you can and not worrying too much about what it looks like and just getting it done and then you can keep refining it as you go.

If you’re trying to wait for it to be perfect, the thing is that it’s probably never going to be perfect. And it’s probably never going to be good enough for you so it’s better just to start putting it out there and then be open to changing it as you go. That would be my biggest tip in you getting started. I do think that having a website is really important because it’s a place for people to see a bit more about you, a bit more about your work and to see if they want to work with you. So, as I said, start simple and then grow from there. And there are lots of different ways that you can do it and you can find out more about that here.
Also remember that if you are overwhelmed by creating your website yourself, you can always outsource that job as well. I know that there’s a cost involved and that may prohibit you from wanting to do that, but there is that option too.


The second really important platform that I would recommend using is Instagram because a lot of art directors and buyers and clients who are wanting to purchase designs are looking on Instagram. Make sure that you’ve got sort of a strategy in place as to how you’re going to be posting, how many times, and try and make that as part of your regular routine. To make this process easier, I recommend batching wherever possible and then scheduling them in advance. When you’re posting, think about the sort of things that you’re posting, how you’re showing up, how that reflects back to your website, your branding, voice, the colors that you’re using, etc. Remember that this is a place also where buyers will be coming to have a look at work so think about that when you’re posting. I also highly encourage that you make it really easy for buyers to contact you in the event they would like to purchase one of your designs. Make sure you include contact information in your bio whether that is a link to your website or a direct contact link.


Another strategy I highly recommend is using Pinterest. Pinterest is a fantastic tool as ituses SEO so that means that when someone types in something into Google, if you’ve put in the right keywords in your pin description, then your pin will come up in the search. To be able to do this,  make sure you’ve got a business account and you’ve enabled rich pins so that you can link directly to your website. Once again, with Pinterest, I’d recommend batching and scheduling this out in advance. A great scheduling tool to use with Pinterest is Tailwind and you can get a free month with this link 

When you are starting to market your design business, I just want you to really take it back to basics and really think about where you are in this process and think of it as a step-by-step process. Don’t think that you have to do all of these things all at once. Otherwise, you will feel, really overwhelmed. If you’re thinking that you need to create a blog post, a YouTube channel, a LinkedIn account, an Instagram account, a website…. all of the things, then you are going to feel overwhelmed. So just break it right down, start with the most important areas, don’t overthink too much what you’re doing and just get started because if you start overthinking it, you’re not going to get started, which is worse than starting.

I also want you to consider that as you grow as a designer and as you’re getting lots and lots of work then you will be able to think about outsourcing some of this as well. So for example, you could get someone to create your website or update your website, or you could someone to post your social media, posts. If you’re turning over and creating lots of revenue within your business, the way that you’re going to be able to open the space up to create more revenue is to outsource. Think about this as a long-term strategy and something that you can think about down the track. I know that probably right now, it just seems like there’s no way you could possibly pay for people to work within your business, but I’m talking about a longer-term strategy when you’re creating and selling lots of designs.



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