Top 10 Ways For Web Designers To Find New Clients
Teacher: Tom Mulkern
Given the "dotcom" bust and the global recession of the past 18 months it can be difficult for Independent Web Designers to put food on the table these days. However, the business is out there -- you just have to be a little more aggressive in finding it. Based on our own experience and that of hundreds of Web Designers who have used our Web Hosting services over the past five years, here are ten of the best ways to find new clients for your web design shop this year:
1. Contact Local ISP's. Most Internet Service Providers offer a few MB of webspace or hosting accounts to their customers. However, most don't offer website design services. Contact local ISP's and offer a generous referral fee if they send business your way. This tactic has worked very well for some of our Resellers. Note: It's important to help the ISP's promote your service by providing them with some marketing materials they can send out by email and snail mail to their customers.
2. Local Networking. Time and time again, web developers have cited this as one of their primary sources of new business. You can't do business sitting on your behind in front of your computer all day! You need to devote some time to getting out and meeting local business people. This is most easily accomplished by joining local business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary. If you keep active in these groups over time you will establish yourself as the person to go to for any web-related services. Always be sure to carry business cards, or better yet, full-color postcards to handout with a screen-shot of your website or web design portfolio.
See http://www.web-cards.com for some great business card and postcards ideas.
3. Online freelance sites. There are number of sites now, such as http://elance.com, where you can find listings of web projects open for bid. It is true that you will be competing with many bidders for these projects but don't let that stop you these are businesses that are ready to buy now. A good strategy is too bid as low as you can initially in order to get your foot in the door with a given company. If you do a good job and delivery it quick the company will naturally go back to you for additional work.
4. Create a community business directory. This is a great strategy that is often used but rarely done well by local web design firms. By creating a community business directory you accomplish three things. First, you now have a database of all the businesses in your local area your primary target market! Secondly, you have now created a legitimate reason to get in touch with them. And finally, when you do contact them they will not perceive it as a sales call; rather, they will thank you for providing such a valuable service!
5. Ask for referrals. As soon as you land a client and sign the contract, you should immediately ask them for 3 other businesses they know of that may be in need of your services. Right when you've made the sale is the best time to ask for referrals, don't wait until the end of the project. Remember, you need to keep filling up your sales pipeline with pending projects to keep the cash coming in. When you call your client's referrals be sure to mention the person that referred them and offer something additional such as a small discount or free consultation for the referral.
6. Write articles and free reports. Writing short articles on Internet Business and Web Development is a great way to get your name out and generate new clients. You can submit articles to your local print media, Chamber of Commerce, and business publications. You can also syndicate this content online for online publications and websites. One short article can go a long way in generating new business.
7. Focus on a niche. By narrowing your focus it will be much easier for you to find new web design clients. It's tough to be everything to everybody. Look at your existing client base and think about the industries your best clients come from. Pinpoint the best two or three and then focus your effort to only those types of businesses. It's easy to get leads for specific industries from list brokers such as Info USA (http://infousa.com) and others. You can then contact similar businesses and let them know you specialize in creating websites just for their type of business. Tell them about the specific tools you can install to help their business increase profits, save money, and gain an advantage over their competitors.
8. Smile and dial. Telemarketing can be a great way to find new business clients when done properly. The best way to do it is to start with a free offer that will help you qualify the lead. For example, if you create a community directory, you can then simply call the businesses in the directory and let them know they are entitled to a free listing. This will give you an opportunity to chat with them and see what their needs are. You can then email or fax them a brief form asking for a description of their business to post on the community website. Let them know when it's up and then send them full details on your web development services. From there it will be easy to set an appointment.
9. Send postcards. Direct mail using postcards can be a very effective and cheap way to get the word out about your services. If you use full color postcards you can even showcase screen-shots of some of the sites you've designed. Always offer some type of free offer on the postcard, such as a "FREE Website Analysis," "FREE Search Engine Readiness Review," etc. in order the increase response.
10. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. There is an old adage in marketing that says it takes at least seven contacts before a prospect will purchase. This is as true in selling web design services as it is with anything else. No matter what marketing tactics you use, remember that you must relentlessly follow up with people that have expressed the need for your services. If you keep in touch, a good percentage will eventually become clients.
There you have it, ten of the best ways to find new clients and increase your Web Development business this year. But remember, none of them will work unless you use them. So stop fiddling with your computer and get marketing!
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