It seems as though there are thousands of competitors out there, and you can’t seem to get potential clients to choose you over anyone else.
But don’t worry – here are six things you can do right now to start attracting more clients to your web design business and increase your bottom line.
1. Package Services as Products
Often, potential customers are nervous about spending money on web designers because they don’t understand the costs. They can’t see prices on a website anywhere and automatically assume the designer is over their price range.
One way to combat this is to create products for sale. Since a product has a specific price, people can look at it and understand immediately what they get for their money. This is why many web designers and developers sell software, packages of DIY fonts, icons and layers, or ebooks – they offer a product at a fixed price, which introduces the client to the type of work they do.
Even if you don’t want to sell these kinds of products, you can package services as products with a fixed price. Customers buy these services through an e-commerce shop (which is comfortable territory for most people) and know exactly what they’re getting for the price. You may not sell many of these “products”, but simply offering them helps customers know
Examples of services that can be made into products: logo design, website assessment, WordPress template, pamphlets, downloadable PDFs.
Action Step: Think about what kinds of services you offer that could be made into products for a fixed price. Create a page on your website offering your products for sale. You can even sell products like font packages to other designers on platforms like Etsy.com, iStockPhoto or MyFonts.
2. Focus on a Niche
It may seem counterproductive, but the more specialized your offerings are, the more business you generate. This is why many web designers choose to specialize in a particular niche.
Look at web design from a client’s point of view. With literally thousands of providers in the marketplace, are you going to choose someone who works for a range of clients, or would you choose a designer who can provide additional insight into the problems unique to your niche? If you own a real estate business, and you found a web designer who specialized in real estate websites, would they not jump to the top of your list?
Action Step: Look at the previous work you’ve done and see if you notice a pattern in the type of work you do or the industries who hire you. What kind of work / clients appeal to you most? Work on developing a marketing plan and series of products that target this niche.
3. Educate, Don’t Sell
Another way of building trust and attracting potential clients is to offer educational material. Most people surf the net because they have a particular problem they want solved, so if you offer solutions in the form of educational articles and tutorials, they come to see you as an expert – someone you can trust.
This is why so many web designers write blogs or record videos where they explain and solve common problems. What can you offer your clients that can help them improve their lives?
Action Step: Brainstorm a list of ten articles you could write to educate potential clients about aspects of your web design business. Consider how best to use these articles – you could start a blog, offer a free ebook, or submit them to article websites to increase your SEO.
4. Leverage Existing Clients
One of the biggest mistakes web designers make is continually chasing new clients as opposed to leveraging the clients they already have. It’s much easier to get repeat business from a happy client than to constantly chase new leads.
So what are you doing to remind your current client pool that you exist? How do you show your clients you care? Think about ways you can wow your current clients. For example, many web designers send their clients a birthday card. This simple gesture makes the client feel they are important to you.
Action Step: Compile a database of every client you’ve ever worked with. You can use a free service like Studiocloud for managing client contact details. Now, send them all a friendly catch-up email asking how business is going and offering your services if they need anything else.
5. Think Locally
Many web designers are so busy trying to find clients online, they forget about the ready pool of potential business all around them – from local businesses. Everyone from your local takeaway shop to your doctor to your child’s school have design and website needs, so be on hand to help. As word about your services spreads throughout your local business community, you’ll find your time will book up fast.
Action Step: Approach local businesses about their web design needs. Find business networking events in your town and go along with a smile and a stack of business cards. Write a press release about your business to send to local media.
6. Sell Web Products on Daily Deal Websites
Daily Deal websites are taking over the web. On websites like Groupon, consumers take advantage of collective buying power to score amazing deals (between 50%-90% off) products and services in the area. Businesses get a rush of new customers, and even with decreased margins can still turn a tidy profit. But while restaurants and beauty spas are benefiting from these Daily Deal websites, how could a web developer possibly benefit?
Mighty Deals is the first daily deals website targeted at web and creative professionals, and it’s a great place to market your products or services to a niche audience. From software packages to font libraries and stock photography, if you sell any kind of product that could be useful for a web or creative professional, MightyDeals could help you increase your customer base. And, as many web development products are digital and cost nothing to manufacture, even with a steep discount you’re still making an excellent profit.
Action Step: If you’ve got a product that would appeal to web professionals, Submit a Deal to Mighty Deals and see for yourself the advantages of collective buying on your bottom line.
Designers, what are your tricks and tips for finding customers? Have you tried any of the techniques above?