Why Must The Shoemaker’s Children Go Without Shoes?
Samantha Warren, Former Viget
In a day and age when anyone can have a web site (or a blog), many designers just don't take very simple steps to get their own brand online. A series of conversations I have had with fellow designers -- and this AIGA article (which focuses on traditional marketing rather than online marketing) -- have led me to ask, "Why don't more designers market themselves online? Why don't more have any sort of online presence?"
My college education included a heavy dose of "self promotion" projects; then, I got a second education in online word-of- mouth marketing while working at a PR firm. Over time, I have explored this avenue less for myself and more as a test bed. I've found that my site is the perfect way to be able to relate to clients trying to get off of the ground. Why? Because I can honestly say what worked -- and what didn't -- for me, both personally and professionally.
When I tell a client, "I totally feel ya," I mean it. It makes understanding the client's position on a project a whole lot easier.So far, I've found no better way to learn and improve than from building my own site and marketing my own brand. I am familiar with the old saying, "The shoemaker's children always go without shoes." Is that old saying still applicable with the lines being blurred between work and life through the social web? With communication moving online at a faster pace than ever, there is ample opportunity to brand oneself with little to no effort ... just by being yourself. The series of small steps I have taken online include creating a brand, having a web site and blog, and marketing that brand (which is both online and offline). It is challenging to stay dedicated, but I'm constantly fueled by curiosity and excitement of connecting with other designers online (which in my case is really an added bonus because I like engaging with other human beings rather than a computer). One of my key motivators has been the bellowing echo of a mentor of mine saying, "you have to make it a priority". The question I pose then is, why isn't marketing oneself via a web site, a blog, or a brand a priority for so many designers?