Promoting Your Web Design Business
OK – so you have your web design business set up. You’ve decided HOW you will design websites and set your prices. Now the hard part. Finding clients.
Just sitting back and waiting is like opening a new retail store the first day and hoping someone walks through the door. It’s not gonna happen without some type of promotion and visibility.
As a new web designer, you’ve got to find a way to promote yourself. There are thousands of ways to advertise and get the word out.
- Search Engine Advertising (PPC)
- Cold calling businesses – phone and in-person
- Print & Display advertising
- Directory placements – Yellow pages, web design directories
- Social advertising – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
- Referrals and Word of Mouth
- Content Marketing
…just to name a few
Where are Your Target Clients?
A key question to ask when searching for clients is – where are they!?
Understanding the behavior of your target client is a critical marketing concept. If you spend time and money promoting in the wrong space, you’re not going to get results or you’re going to create bad clients and waste advertising dollars.
Do meaningful research BEFORE you advertise and find out where your top prospects are. What websites do they frequent, where do they live and work, what social networks do they use, what kind of shoes do they wear?
OK – the shoes they wear might not matter – or maybe it does…
If you are targeting local clients only, then your clients are close by and door to door cold calling might make a lot of sense. If you are targeting broad markets, utilizing more online advertising strategies would be a solid move.
Be Everywhere vs. The Golden Goose
I’ve met a lot of different business owners who have discovered one method that is singlehandedly growing their business. Sometimes it’s an online method like making Youtube Channels or doing giveaways on Twitter. Or it can be a simple offline method like door hangers or going to local events.
There may be one golden goose in your marketing, but I suggest taking more of a “be everywhere” approach in the beginning. Find out where your target market is and try to create visibility in those venues whether they are online or offline. You will likely find that some of these methods are massive failures and some produce consistent results. Focusing on the few or single producers in your marketing may be all you need to produce the consistent growth your business needs.
Differentiate Yourself – Your USP
I must admit – I thought “Unique Selling Proposition” or USP, was a hip new marketing term, but it has actually been around since the 1940’s and was an idea developed by an advertising executive named Rosser Reeves.
Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: ‘Buy this product and you will get this specific benefit.’
The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique-either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
With so much competition out there, you need to leverage all your marketing efforts by building a USP into your overall marketing strategy.
The USP in my business is exclusivity. I say on my site that I’m only accepting 200 website clients. That’s the max number of clients I can actually handle on my own so it’s not just a marketing tactic, but it has had a strong marketing effect. It draws people in and it’s unique and memorable. I get comments like the ones below all the time that tell me my USP is working:
“Have you already filled your 200 spots? Is there room for me?!”
“I love that you’re only accepting 200 clients. It makes it feel part of an exclusive club.”
I haven’t trademarked my USP or anything and it might work for you, but I wouldn’t recommend copying it. Don’t forget the “U” in “USP” stands for “unique”. You have to find out what fits your business strengths and will be compelling to your target market.
Spin The Top – Spend The Money
Passion and drive are essential, but you may not be able to build your business solely on gumption. You’ll need a healthy marketing budget as well.
There is some interesting data in this post from Bright Local citing a study from the ChamberofCommerce.com that shows how much Small Businesses spend on marketing.
Over 50% of small businesses spend less than $300 per month on marketing activities and many spend WAY less than $300 per month
Being willing to invest money in advertising is critical to the success of catapulting a new business to success.
I like to visualize it as spinning a toy top – the kind where you push the top to wind it up. Give it a few good pushes and it will spin a long time. The pushes are the advertising dollars you must invest in the beginning to get your business spinning.
After the initial launch phase of your business, it’s likely that your presence in the industry, no matter how small it may be, will produce self-sustaining revenue in the form of repeat business and referrals.
No doubt you will have to continue to devote money to advertising, but the amount required may become less and less as your client base grows. Many established web designers live off referrals and get more business than they can handle of that alone.
What’s your unique selling proposition? What mediums will you use to get out there and be seen?
“Simpleton takes The Golden Goose to the inn – Project Gutenberg eText 15661“. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.