The time has to come to spread the word about your business and tell people just how fabulous it is! And how do you do that? Check out these crucial marketing techniques.

1. Share you work. The newest way is to showcase your work is through Pinterest. The site lets you not only look for inspiration for your next project, but it lets you show off your current work. The image-based website allows users to post or “pin” images and photos to “boards” that serve as category organizers that you can share with your followers. Think of it as a real life bulletin board come to life—only in the public eye.

2. Build relationships. Never underestimate the power of meeting new people and maintaining strong relationships with them—both in person and online. This goes beyond networking. It’s about fostering work friendships that can create opportunities for you before you’re even looking for them.

3. Become an expert. If you have a strong focus in a specialty area people will come to you time and time again because they know you are the expert. Carve out a niche that sets yourself apart from other designers.

4. Dress the part. Not only should you be dressing to impress your client in person; impress them online. Develop a high quality, intriguing and creative website that entices clients to want to meet you in person. These days most first impressions are formed online so make sure it’s a great one. Need inspiration? Check out the Top 10 Best Flash Websites of 2012.

5. Create buzz. Develop a social media strategy that engages users that is not just self-promotional. Try to become a source for clients with industry news, relevant content and foster those relationships through conversations. Think of it as your own word-of- mouth marketing, but through an online platform.

*This post was originally printed in the IIDA Design Matters blog.

Making relationships both online and in-person is key for marketing your business.