Here is a quick, easy and cheap method that anyone can use to give their web design business a quick shot in the arm. With this method you can spend one or two hours worth of your time and no more than $10, and have a very good possibility of making thousands from getting just one new client.
Focus Your Web Design Marketing
Again, thinking locally, like in the last Web Design Business Builder article about Marketing for Web Design, pull out your local yellow pages or business phone directory, and choose a category like accountants, coffee shops, financial advisors, bicycle shops, attorneys, car repair, etc. Go through a page or two of ads and pick out a dozen or so names where either 1) their website is ugly and old or 2) they don’t have a website at all (confirm it by searching Google using their name and city).
Direct Marketing On a Shoestring Budget
Next, draft several letters. In the first letter, introduce yourself and your services. If they did not have a website, mention how you noticed that they didn’t. If they did, mention that it might be time to consider upgrading their website, or redesigning it. Remember, be tactful and graceful! No one wants to hire someone who just called their website, designed by their nephew, ugly.
In the second letter, continue to mention your services, and you might add something like, “You might not know that we also do…” Here you can mention online marketing, logo design, or another similar service you offer. But the real point of the second letter is to announce a new 25% off sale, or some type of special, to respondents who mention this letter. Tell them how they have been specifically chosen as an ideal match for your services, which is true, since you found their business in the phone directory and determined that they either don’t have a website or have an ugly, old one. Sounds like a perfect match to me!
In the final letter, announce that they only have 24 hours left to claim the 25% off sale, and if they act now you will also include a free SEO package ensuring that Google will search their site and increase their chances of a high ranking (never promise ranking results with SEO). It doesn’t have to be SEO, but throw in some kind of value-added service that you are good at and will catch their attention. Also mention that if they aren’t convinced, they can contact you for a free, no-commitment, no-risk, half hour website consultation.
You can go all out and send the letters through physical snail mail. It is, of course, much easier to use email, but less likely to be read. If using email DO NOT send this to more than one person at a time! We are talking about only a dozen businesses; it won’t hurt to take a little extra time to send each email separately. They don’t need to know that you are also targeting 11 of their competitors. Space the messages about 2 to 3 days apart, but finish the series within one week.
Using postcards and direct phone calls is another spin on this method that I mention in this article about starting your web design business.
The advantage of using this method is that it costs little to nothing, and since you are targeting a certain industry you can personalize the template that you use for each set of letters or emails that you send out. Also, you can do this over and over and perfect your letters or emails to be as effective as possible.
I present this as a quick way to get more business, but really it shouldn’t be used in isolation. It is most effective as just a piece in a larger puzzle. The larger puzzle would be made up of a holistic strategy which I am laying out in a series of blog posts. If you would like to learn more about this, you can subscribe to my newsletter at the top right corner of this page.
In my upcoming articles I will lay out the full puzzle piece by piece, including the following:
- Using Referrals to Get More Web Design Business
- Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Your Clients
- Never Lose a Customer by Keeping in Continual Contact
- Using Social Networking to Attract More Business
- Turn Around and Sell These Marketing Strategies to Your Clients
If only it were that simple. Certainly under European law you can’t just pick people out of a phonebook and e-mail them (unless they have contacted you first), and you can’t send them addressed direct mail, as you don’t know if they are on an exclusion list, and therefore you may be breaking the law again. That’s why address list companies exist. You have to buy vetted address lists.
I totally agree with the methods, but I find them of questionable legality.
Your absolutely right Edward, I didn’t think about mentioning to verify if this is legal in your country because I know it is legal in the United States as long as you follow certain guidelines. Here is a link for the US guidelines http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business.
Finding something for the EU was much more difficult as it seems each country has it’s own set of laws and regulations, but here is a start http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/doc/
For the United States be sure to include your location at the bottom of the email and tell them if they don’t want to receive any more email from you to reply to the email and say so. Also be upfront about what the email is about. No tricky subjects, don’t try to make it like you are a good friend telling them about some new service you discovered. Just be straightforward.
As I manage email servers and I know the problems that it causes I personally hate spam, as much or more than most people. I don’t think this is spam because it is a personal message sent to specifically chosen individuals on a one-to-one basis. It is not being sent in mass and you should send it directly from your personal email account.
Yet another example of why it is easier to do business in America…! But that’s another topic!
Sending individual e-mails in Europe is not allowed without prior permission (an opt-in).
Wikipedia sums it up nicely: “Legal requirements: In 2002 the European Union introduced the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. Article 13 of the Directive prohibits the use of email addresses for marketing purposes. The Directive establishes the opt-in regime, where unsolicited emails may be sent only with prior agreement of the recipient.
The directive has since been incorporated into the laws of member states. In the UK it is covered under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 and applies to all organisations that send out marketing by some form of electronic communication.”
Haha, I steered away from mentioning the burden of the EU regulations, but you read my mind! Thanks for posting more info on it. Hopefully my latest post about using referrals to attract more business will be more useful to everyone on the other side of the pond.