“Whoa?! How did you guys land Neuralink as a client?”, a friend asked me as we were catching up. “They reached out to us”, I replied.
It wasn’t the answer he was hoping for. I could tell by the akward silence. So I decided to write a slightly more helpful reply, to answer everyone who asks me how we landed client X.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy. I founded Fairpixels, a boutique UI & UX design firm almost 12 years ago. Today, our team focusses on simplifying software products for startups that are ran by engineers. New clients 100% of the time reach out to us and we spend no money on ads.
Being both a designer & engineer myself, I’ve always loved building things. Not so much attending networking events and doing traditional marketing fluff. As I was hacking little projects and putting them online for fun, I realised that some of these projects would land me new client work.
It wasn’t much in the beginning, but gradually as I published more and my sideprojects got more advanced (I started building webbased coding tools, interactive installations and presentations you could control with a game controller at some point) the clients also got bigger. My team got bigger. The business grew.
Many engineers struggle with marketing. But they have a skill that traditional marketeers don’t have: the ability to hack together a project in <48 hours, that could potentially benefit millions of people.
These sideprojects live online as content, probably forever. Each project you put out there becomes your 24/7 marketer. Your reach gets quadrupled when users of your sideprojects, start talking about the company behind those sideprojects.
This is when the magic starts to happen.
People who have benefitted from some of our sideprojects, learned about our company and started recommending our design services to the people they knew. Why? Probably because we were the design agency they knew and trusted. Those sideprojects built trust with people, even though they never hired us themselves.
No ads & no networking events.
Our marketing efforts are mini hackathons. Every now and then we make cool stuff and put it online. You can too. Not every sideproject will have customers lined up for your product or service. But writing code to put more useful content on the internet, is probably the most fun way I know of to do marketing.