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Design a process-driven business model for your clients
Marketing positioning to sell $15,000 websites
- Marketing strategy
How are you going to change your marketing (website, brochures, landing pages, phone calls) to present yourself as a professional service provider rather than as a product maker?
Most web designers aren’t maximizing their revenue because they sell websites for a few thousand dollars. To sell websites for $15,000, you need to take a client-centred approach to marketing. This means, first of all, recognizing how clients see you. They see web design as a professional service rather than as a product. So position yourself as a professional, trusted advisor and you’ll be able to command a higher price for your services. Your approach to marketing should be consistent with how successful professional service firms (accounting, law, finance, physicians, etc.) market themselves.
The easiest way to sell higher-priced websites is by specializing. Specialization in this context means to specialize in helping specific industry groups. Specialization does not mean only doing WordPress websites or Drupal websites; this sort of specialization is “firm-focused” rather than “client-centred.” The key to higher revenue is being “client-centred.”
A second way to get higher budget projects is by getting government contracts.
A key to commanding higher prices is to mature as a business. This means have formalized, consistent processes so that things don’t fall through the cracks. Present an aura of professionalism and you’ll be able to justify your high fees.
Being professional does not necessarily mean branding yourself as a larger firm than you actually are. Boutique professional service firms (e.g., specialized law firms) often charge out at the highest rates. Being small and versatile can equate to “premium.” You need to decide if you want to use you and your partner(s) names or if you want to build a brand independent of the owners.
Create at list of 20 ideal candidates that would make good clients. Develop a plan for how to engage them and think about why they should hire you instead of your competitors.
Getting large government contracts is quite feasable. You need to review the Request for Proposal (RFP) from government websites in your state or province. Review the document and get a sense of what the government agency is looking to achieve. Write a very focused proposal that explains how you are going to achieve of their objectives. Try to identify the decision-makers and indirectly suggest that their lives are going to be easier because of your solution. Do not price your proposal too low or you won’t be taken seriously — $10,000 minimum.
Having a client-centred approach to marketing helps you prospect much easier. This may involve identifying specific industry groups and finding contacts through InfoGroup directories available for free at your local library.
Any client you have is leverage you can use to get more clients from that industry. Use your past experience to get your foot in the door with cold-calls, e-mails, etc. For example “We just did the website for your competitor XYZ Plumbing. Would you be interested in meeting to discuss how we can get you more plumbing contracts?”
Write a blog article that is prospect-centred and come up with a call-to-action that includes a free offer such as an ebook or video.
Blogging — if done correctly — epitomizes modern Internet marketing. As professional service provider, you need some way of building trust with your prospects. One way to do this is by providing FREE educational material via blogs. You generate sales leads by providing more free information that can only be accessed if the prospect submits his/her email. So this means every blog should have a call-to-action to access more valuable, educational content. Follow-up with educational emails. You can promote your blog articles in industry-specific forums and LinkedIn groups.
Landing pages are the key to lead-generation. These are different from websites and are focused on one purpose: capturing email addresses. Many web designers make the mistake of directing prospects to their homepage too early in the sales process. Cold prospects aren’t interested in YOU…they’re interested in solving their problems. You can generate sales leads by offering an ebook/video/document that helps solve a problem. Promote the free offer (NOT YOUR SERVICES) on the landing page.
You can drive traffic to your lead-capture landing pages by using Google Adwords. When starting out, use exact match keywords to avoid overspending your budget.
Create a list in Mailchimp of your current clients.
Most sales leads will be captured with lead-capture landing pages that promote ebooks/videos/documents. Once you have a lead, this does not mean you can go for the sale. You need to “nuture” that lead by building trust. You do this by sending regular educational emails. Store your emails in lists on MailChimp. Send highly relevant, problem-solving emails through MailChimp campaigns. Keep your eye on click-through rates and unsubscribe rates. A/B test subject lines to see what captures the most interest.
Multimedia lead generation
- Creative lead gen
Use a program like Camtasia or Screen-cast-o-matic to create a video that would be useful as a lead-gen tool. Post this on YouTube.
One of easiest ways to increase sales through your website is by integrating online chat such as SnapEngage. This allows visitors to quickly begin a conversation with you if they have any questions. Remember, sales mostly occur in person or on the phone. Websites aren’t usually sufficient to land a sale. So simply starting a conversation can increase your sales rate dramatically even if your website is out-of-date or sub-par.
Providing helpful, educational emails is an easy way to build trust and sales leads. For example, you could give away the first 30 seconds of a video for free and then require an email address to finish the video. Store these emails in MailChimp or another program like InfusionSoft.
Infographics can also be used to generate sales leads. They are eye-catching and spread virally. Make one that is client-specific and you can add a link below it to download your ebook or other lead-capture offer.
Web design sales process
- Sales process
Write a sales process with at least 3 steps that you could use consistently.
One of the easiest ways to improve sales is simply to have a consistent process. It does not need to be perfect. Just have several key steps and tweak your process as you encounter issues.
A second way to improve sales is to package your services into bundles. Clients like the idea of purchasing packages centred around problems they’re facing. Charging by the hour is less appealing to customers. Package pricing is also trusted because it’s assumed that the pricing is the same for all “customers” — unlike custom quotes. Another advantage of package is that they make it difficult to compare your services with other web designers.
Web design for web designers
- Case study
Write a “success story” from a client you helped. Include this as a page or blog post on your website.
Many web designers have great-looking websites that are impractical. Your website should be designed to promote yourself as a professional service provider. Focus your site on success stories that detail the outcomes you can get for potential clients. Use authentic, real photos of you and your staff. Your clients want to know the professionals they’ll be working with. Design your site around the client and their needs rather than on the competencies you value internally.
Getting larger contracts by having a process
- Your process
Develop a web design process that you can start using immediately. This might be a diagram, Word/Google document, or even hand-written.
The single biggest change you make to improve your web design business is shifting to a process-driven model. This means having a consistent set of steps to follow for each project. This may include getting approval for the homepage writing, approval for the wireframe mock-up, and approval for the homepage graphic design. As much as you’re able, make your procedure formalized: from your first encounter with a client to the end of the warranty period and eventual repeat business. Show that you are structured and organized by driving the web design process. Doing this will build trust. It will also deter the client from questioning your decisions and from requesting endless revisions. Clients will lose trust in you if you’re unpredictable and unstructured. Neurotic web design businesses don’t grow into profitable corporations. The basis of successful businesses is structured processes that exist independent of the people who execute them.
Clients will pay a premium to deal with predictable, structured service providers.