When you first started your web design biz, you were probably so stoked to land your first actual paying client that you likely didn’t give two thoughts as to whether or not they fit your ICA (ideal client avatar) or even knew what an ICA was at that point…

Now that you’ve been at this a while, you’re able to be a bit more discerning about the inquiries that land in your inbox, but if you’re being totally honest, you know you’re still not working with the dream clients you had in mind when you quit your 9-5 to start your own business.

It’s not that you can’t find clients (if that’s the case, read on because this post can still help you) but the projects that you do have lined up aren’t exactly giving you butterflies.

Ready to do more than just pay the bills with your business?

Read on for a few tweaks you can be making to your business so that you can start attracting and landing the right clients (and stop just passively accepting whatever work comes your way).

6 reasons you aren’t attracting your ideal client as a Squarespace website designer

1. you’re trying to speak to everyone

Which of the following sounds more like your current marketing strategy?

A) Consistently showing up exactly where your ideal clients are, and speaking only to them.

B) Half-heartedly posting to every single social media platform out there hoping if you can just cast your client-finding net wide enough, you’ll finally land the big one.

If you answered B, you are not alone. And if you’re already struggling to find clients, it can feel super scary and counterproductive to niche down, basically ruling out a huge chunk of people from your potential client pool.

You may not want to exclude anyone (your momma taught you well) but when it comes to marketing your business, you don’t want to spend any time speaking to anyone who isn’t your ideal client.

If your messaging has been pretty broad up until now, it may be time to bust out that ol’ ICA exercise again and really find out once and for all who it is you are trying to reach so you can make the most of your time and efforts.

For more on speaking to your ideal client, check out:

2. Your portfolio doesn’t reflect your ideal client

One of the most common questions I get from students of my Square Secrets Business course is how big their portfolio needs to be on their website.

I get why it would seem important to have a certain number of past projects listed so that you can show just how much experience you have as a designer, but perhaps the question they need to be asking instead is which projects belongs in their portfolio and which don’t.

Want to know how many websites I had appearing in my portfolio back when I was still advertising my services as a 1:1 custom designer?

Eight. Even though I literally had past projects for dayyyys.

Why? Because even though my clients were all (thankfully) absolute darlings to work with, I knew I had totally nailed down my ICA at that point, and so I only posted projects in my portfolio that would attract more of the exact type of work I wanted to be getting!

Your portfolio is what helps your ideal customers dream about what their site could look like should they choose to work with you, and if they can see projects that they relate to, they are more likely to move ahead in booking your services than if they head to your portfolio and see fifty random sites that don’t seem to speak to anyone.

So if the thought of designing another site like the one you just finished doesn’t excite you, it’s safe to say you can leave it out of your portfolio.

Worried your portfolio of ideal projects is looking a little sparse? Don’t be scared to build out a few mock sites to show off your skills!

For more on being intentional with your portfolio pieces, check out: Strategically building a portfolio to attract your ideal Squarespace web design clients

3. Your branding doesn’t match your ideal client

You’ve seen them, those designers who proudly display what feel like crazy high rates, and still people seem to be lining up around the block to pay them. So, what the heck have they got that you don’t?

Believe it or not, they weren’t always able to to charge the big bucks.

There was once a time when they too were scratching their heads wondering where their next client would come from, feeling like the clients they actually wanted to work with wanted nothing to do with them.

So what changed? They got to work designing a brand that matched the dreamy projects and premium prices that they knew they wanted to be bringing in.

And I don’t just mean they sat down and picked out a few pretty colors and a logo, I mean they went over their business with a fine-toothed comb to see what kind of impression every last corner of their site, content, and social media profiles were really giving potential clients.

It takes about .02 seconds for someone to form a first impression of your brand, so if you are going to show up anywhere (on your blog, Insta, YouTube, Tic Tok, whatever) make sure you show up on brand.

One of the most common brand make-or-breakers I see is photos.

People want to see who it is they are going to be working with, and I hate to tell you this, but that one tiny, grainy, cell-phone selfie you have hidden away on your about page is making your brand look anything but premium.

You may not be in a place to plan out a full-blown business branding photoshoot, but surely there is a photographer out there looking to build their portfolio, or is in need of website help that you could do tradesies with!

For more on building a brand that aligns with your vision for your business, check out podcast episode 033 How to create a brand that authentically reflects your business.

4. Your site vibe and feel doesn’t match your ideal client

Say your ideal web design clients are artists. Does your site scream artist? Or is it looking rather bland and corporate, like it came straight from a generic Squarespace template?

You can also have the opposite problem, where you are trying so hard to appeal to so many different types of clients that your site ends up just being one big mashup of styles, not very coherent, and definitely not speaking to any one person.

Your Frankenstien of a site is making it pretty hard for potential clients to envision what their own project will turn out like should they choose to work with you, so just like your messaging, you site’s style and vibe should speak to only one type of person…

And that is your ideal client!

For more on client-winning site strategy, check out:

5. Your pricing and packages don’t match your ideal client

Say for example you love helping new businesses get their feet off the ground. There’s just one problem…those same baby businesses don’t have the resources to drop thousands of dollars on a custom site, branding and logo design.

They have more time than they do money at this point in their business, so if you really want to help those people, a more passive, lower-priced offering might be a great place to start.

They may not be able to splurge on a full-blown custom design package, but if they love your style, they’d probably be willing to invest in something like a template, logo kit, or branding elements kit to get them started.

Maybe your packages currently include paying to keep you on retainer, when instead you could put together a few tutorials or a guide that would help your clients make simple updates to their own site and save. (Leaving you more time to take on other projects!)

Or maybe your target market is actually already established businesses owners who are looking to elevate their business through improving their branding and virtual store-front. These types of clients likely have more money than time at this point in their business, and they are looking to have it all done for them.

If this is your goal, you would want to create packages that offer the most complete solution to their needs. You might include done for them site copy, branding, logo, and website design, and an option to add a monthly retainer package where you continue to handle their site maintenance.

Whoever your ideal client is, you want to design your offerings with their exact needs and budget in mind.

6. You are waiting for your ideal clients to find you

So you’ve totally nailed down your ICA, and you’ve done everything in your power to make sure your brand, messaging, and content, are all a dead ringer for the person you’ve outlined…

So now what? Do you just hover over your inbox and wait for the dreamy inquiries to *hopefully* come rolling in?

Nope! You go find them!

This includes email pitching, handing out business cards, hanging out in FB groups they are in (but be legit helpful, not all self-promo-y), spending time in places they might frequent, and engaging with your ideal clients on social media.

Don’t be afraid to talk about what you do with everyone you meet (aka in-person networking). You never know who that person knows or could refer to you that might be a perfect fit!

For one online business owner’s crazy-successful client-pitching strategy, check out: Strategically building a portfolio to attract your ideal Squarespace web design clients.

Spoiler alert: she’s a Facebook Ad’s manager who wasn’t taking no for an answer.



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6 reasons you aren’t attracting your ideal client as a Squarespace website designer