Usually this title question – “how to sell my web designing services” is asked by new freelancers, new web design agency owners, new marketing professionals & new entrepreneurs who start an IT services business. In this article, I’ll try my best to address this question based on the experience I have in starting, running & growing an IT services business (focuses on Web Designing, Web Application Development, Managed Hosting Services & Web based Products).
The Initial Days
For every new company out there, the initial days are the most tough ones to battle. The reason is lack of projects as there are no credentials, no word of mouth, very limited marketing budget etc. The main objective of your “initial days” should be to get that “first project”. So here are a list of methods we used to get through our initial days.
Focus on a Specific Service
When you start out, you won’t be having lots of time to bet on every service business out there. My advice is to focus on one area that you are really good at. For example, if you are really good at WordPress – then begin by offering WordPress customization services. If your key area is E-commerce or specifically Magento – then begin by offering Shopping cart development services using Magento. Similarly there are many other areas that you can focus on. If you are good at a PHP framework like YII, then begin by offering YII based projects. The key is in identifying a service area which has market demand.
You need a set of tools which will help you for a decent launch. These are very simple & common things every business owner is supposed to do initially. But the impact of these “small stuffs” can be bigger than you think. So here are the very necessary tools you should keep ready before launching your service business.
1. Give your business a unique name & register it legally as a business in your country
A business is always identified by its name. Naming a business is an art & a science alike. A good business name should resonate the business type (nature of its products/services), should be easily pronounced, should be brandable & it should be unique as well. Another important point is to obtain a domain name which is exactly the same as business name or very close to it. I have written a detailed article on how to find a good domain name for your business. Once you have zeroed in at the business name & domain, you should register the business legally in your country. If you are from India, you can read my article on how to register a business in India. If you are from a different country like United States or Germany, go ahead and check with your official government websites to know more details.
2. Setup a fully functional website for your business
The very next step for any company should be setting up a fully functional website. Since this article is focused on “marketing web designing services”, I don’t need to explain how to setup a website. However keep in mind you should take care of the very basic stuffs like a functional contact form, full contact address with e-mail & phone numbers, listing all your services with description & a portfolio (if you can provide one initially).
3. Print a Visiting card with full details
A visiting card is very essential in meeting clients & networking with prospects. Ideally a visiting card should contain your business logo, business name, business address with email & phone number, your personal name, designation, e-mail & contact number. In addition you can print titles of your services on the back side of card or even front side.
4. Go Meet your Friends & Relatives
Now you have your visiting card & website ready. Its time to get the word out! So get up & move Meet all your near by friends & relatives. Tell them about what you do & how it will help other business/people. Be passionate when you explain your business. Your passion & interest towards your business will generate curiosity in your audience. Hand over your business card to every one you meet & tell them about your business. Show them a couple of works you have done before (may be at your previous job). Make sure you give a couple of extra visiting cards to your friends & relatives; they might be interested in introducing you to their friends/contacts.
Note:- When ever you meet friends/relatives ask them for a reference or a contact who might be in need of your services
5. Send out an Initial Mail
Send a mail to every one of your contacts explaining your business. Tell them, “Hey Bobby, I have started a new business in London. I am offering web designing services to business & individuals. You can see my website for more details. Let me know if you can introduce me to some business people who may need my services.”
6. Go & Meet Business People with a Reference
Businesses are the big customers of any web designing & development agency. You will get good business deals only from well settled & growing businesses. As a web design agency owner you should focus on building contacts with other successful businesses who got money to invest in new projects. Any company/business needs a website/application whenever they launches new projects/products. Here the key is in acquiring a business head as your good contact & then pitching to him later. Once you pull him to try your services, offer him the best you can (give him that “wow”effect). This way you can keep him as a client with repeat business. If you wonder how to make good business contacts, that’s what networking events are for. Go to networking events, meet people & talk to them.
Note:- Before pitching a business person for the first time, try to get an introduction by a common friend/relative/business contact. This will help you to get a warm welcome by breaking the ice in between. No one prefers to do business with strangers as we all are skeptical about loosing money!
7. Actively Bid in Elance, ODesk & Guru
These freelancing websites will help you gain traction initially. I won’t recommend marketing through freelancing websites as a long term objective. The reason is price war, higher number of providers from India, Philippines & other Asian countries – all this adds to competition. I don’t like businesses with high competition as it will lead to price war affecting profits. Another reason is the business providers in freelancing websites are mostly middlemen & individuals. They always place unreasonable work requirements for a low quote. But I think you still can depend on freelancing websites during your initial days as it can land you more projects.
8. Network in Local Industry Events
As a beginner in business you may not have lots of money to go & attend International business events. So start searching for local business events. Attend them regularly. Attending a business event regularly is a key thing. The best time to make a relationship is whenever you meet some one for the second time. So keep attending business events regularly and in the process you will meet many persons for the second, third or even countless times. This will let “relationship” to take place naturally. This way you will get business contacts as your acquaintances & friends. Once you make a good relationship with any business person, its quiet easy to do business with them.
Note:- You should give your business card only during the first meeting with a business person. Offering the same business card during the second meeting is not a good practise. However if you have made a new card or gave it a new design, you can always show them – “hey, I changed my card design. Have a look and give your opinion for improving it”
How to market your web design services
The basic purpose of a marketing team is to generate business leads for your company. These leads will be followed up by your sales team. “Marketing & Sales” – though they do different kind of work, both stand for a single purpose – “get your company more business”. When your company grow, you have to take your marketing efforts to next level by setting up a dedicated team to handle the job.
Setting up the Online Marketing Efforts
1. Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you get more leads via your website. The purpose of SEO (as you may already know) is to bring targeted traffic to your website from search engines. You can read my article on:- How to market your business website using SEO to get more knowledge about this.
2. Educating your customers through blog
A blog in your website is an ideal platform for content marketing. Using your blog you can write articles to educate your customers about various concepts.However you can fetch maximum results from your blog only when you do it the the right way. Getting leads using blog in a website always falls under “content marketing” category of online marketing. You can read my article on:- How to do content marketing to increase your business leads.
3. Advertising using platforms like Google Adwords
Online advertising is a great & quick way to get business leads. You can run online advertising campaigns worldwide using Google Adwords, Bing Ad platform & several other hundreds of ad networks. If you are new to online advertising, I recommend you to read our article:- Beginners Guide to Online Advertising.
4. Using Social Media
Social media revolves around Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest & Google+. However there are very specialized social media websites which cater to a niche market. You have to choose your set of social medias based on your specific products/services. Social medias are always a great medium to promote your services & products. You can market brilliantly in social medias to get new business leads. If you want a guidance, read our articles on:- Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing.
5. PR Efforts
Press Releases is a great way to create buzz about your business. Though PR won’t ensure any business leads, its a proven way of making your brand familiar among your set of targeted audience. For this you have to choose the right media, right type of news & many other factors fall into the PR execution. You can read our article on:- Beginners Guide to Press Releases.
How Founders can do marketing ?
The method I listed below will not suit beginners in business. However if you can do them perfectly, you can grow your business at greater pace than you can imagine. Ideally these ways of indirect marketing suits business people with 3 to 5 years of industry experience.
1. Attending Industry Conferences & helping other entrepreneurs
– Here you as a business owner would be considered as an authority or a kind of market leader in some areas of your business. Other business people who attend the industry conference would come to you to seek advice. You will start helping them out footing your authority much deeper. Indirectly this action will give you a good brand image & people will start recognizing you immediately. This will create a buzz around you which eventually is good for your business.
2. Getting Interviewed
This is a brilliant way of building brand value for you as an entrepreneur (achieving celebrity status), for your business as a successful one & for creating buzz in online & offline media. For this to happen either you have to be discovered by medias as a successful business & worthy to be interviewed or you have to establish yourself to medias as a successful man & welcome them to interview you. Both ways has its own positives & negatives. The former one is very slow & it will take years to happen. But once it happens you will be considered by medias as a man/business of “life long” worth. The latter is a quicker way of achieving celebrity status. However if you don’t get it right, you will suffer consequences for a life time.
3. Taking Presentations & Seminars
is another way of establishing your authority in industry circles. Everyone can not take presentations as most people are affected with stage fear, shyness and other emotional problems. Even a lot of entrepreneurs are affected with stage fear & shyness. This is where people who can overcome stage fear & shyness can take their advantage. There won’t be lot of competition to obtain a seminar spot in any industry event. In most cases, conference/event organizers will be more than happy to offer you a time slot to present your topic. When you do a presentation, you grab the attention of the audience. You get a chance to talk to them about your business, experiences & success. This way you establish yourself as an authority among the audience, which is an indirect brand building. However there are many important things you should consider & practise while taking presentations. Your presentation skills will get improved only with experience.
Note:- Following up & nurturing leads generated by marketing team is the job of your sales team. “Sales” is an entirely different subject and I have not covered anything about it here.