Selling website design is on a different level than when you’re selling SEO services or paid ads services. Unlike SEO or paid ads, you have an actual output that clients can revise or send back if it didn’t meet their expectations. This adds another layer of challenge in satisfying clients and bringing in revenue.
I’m here to make things easier and help you make the right decisions should you decide to offer this as a solution to clients and outsource web design. In this blog, I’ll be discussing the most important touch points when you want to learn how to start a website design business.
Table of Contents
1. Find Your First Web Design Client
The beauty of selling web design is everyone needs it – from your local mom and pop shops to big corporations, they might just not know it yet. Not a single business out there won’t benefit from high-quality websites.
When I was working as a freelancer, most of my clients would come from word of mouth. Some would come from cold calls, and others would come from endless searching online for businesses that might need a new website. It was a tedious task, and I’m sure most of you have gone through this. So, where do you find clients who need your web design service?
Web design is a global service, and there’s a lot of people doing it. Before you scale to the bigger fish, it’s better to offer local website design. It’s like when you’re selling SEO. Why go for the Holy Grail when you can get little grails that will bring you revenue?
Focusing on and building a local business website is a great way to start your company. Designing a strategy to attract regionally local customers is a lot less complicated and easier to achieve than growing nationally or globally. You have multiple elements already working for you that you need to take advantage of.
For instance, you likely already have a community that knows you and this alone builds credibility and trust with your offers and services. With relationships already built, you can establish these as building blocks to create more brand awareness. Word of mouth and referrals play a huge role for business growth, and this should be made use of as much as possible.
Additionally, having been in a local area, you as the business owner have an understanding of the local community. Not all areas are the same, and awareness of the local people, the history, the current news, etc. . . will help you best assess how you can market to their needs. This foundation of knowledge of community, news, and culture will make it easier to focus on the locals versus expanding to a community you may not really understand.
When you decide to build locally, you are positioning yourself to use what you already know about the audience. Otherwise, you may be exhausting a lot of time and resources trying to understand a community.
Furthermore, let’s get into some basic action steps to find local businesses who may be interested in your services.
Here’s just one example of how to sell website design:
Go to Yellow Pages and look for local businesses without a website by doing a search query:
site:yellowpages.com/*mip intitle:auto repair –”website”
From here, you’ll see the businesses that don’t have a website.
Another way of finding needs for local business website design is through a quick Google search. Start with a specific niche and location in mind just like the example below:
Visit their website and evaluate. Reach out to them with a purposeful cold email and show them how you can make their websites better.
But, what’s the easiest way to find your potential clients when selling web design? The answer: B2B lead generation tools.
We developed new features in our white label dashboard to make it easier for your agency to find your next best clients, and in this platform, you get the Lead Finder. Its function is simple: just type the keyword/niche you want to target in a location, and you’ll get a list of leads instantly. The best part? You can see which of your leads need your web design service and reach out to them right then and there.
Network, network, network
Most digital marketers and freelancers turn to people they know when selling web design services. But, they stop at that. This cuts them off from any opportunity of getting more clients. Instead of just approaching people you know, extend your service to people they know – those with a business, or those that may have a need for your web design skills.
Let’s take this as an example: you have a family physician, and your family physician most likely has connections to other health professionals – be it a pediatrician, an ob-gyn, or a cardiologist. Use your existing client (in this case, your family physician) as your “handshake” or initial point of contact, and build connections from there.
Pro-tip: If you have a pool of clients you worked with before, you can also give them a shot and offer your web design services. For instance, clients for your local SEO service may need to revamp their website to increase their chances of getting found by their prospects.
2. Prepare to Sell Web Design
We’ve said this before—always do thorough research if you want to know how to sell website design.
Lack of preparedness and research produce half-baked web design pitches. To win more clients when selling a website, you’ll need more than a perfectly practiced spiel to get their attention.
Things you need before selling
Some of the things you need to accomplish before you dive into a conversation and sell a website are:
- Research about their business: The more you become familiar with their business, industry, and competition, the better you can present the value proposition of your web design services. Find out the design trends that are dominating their industry to get ideas for website templates. Do a quick audit of their website and list down improvements to add as talking points during your pitch.
- Prepare a website questionnaire for clients: Use probing questions in your website design questionnaire to determine the needs of prospects. A sample question is: On a scale of one to ten, how satisfied are you with your site’s current look? This helps you discover more about their web design needs and develop your pitch that will address their pain points.
- Build your web design portfolio: With web design, you can immediately show proof of your expertise by sending prospects a web design portfolio for previous clients you’ve worked with. But what if you’re selling to your first web design client? Don’t worry. You can use mockups to supplement your web design sales pitch.
- Gather your marketing materials: Don’t end a conversation without leaving impressive material to further convince your prospect. Prepare a marketing kit that includes a web design pitch deck and a design proposal with your contact details on it. If a client has an existing website, include a free SEO audit as a subtle way of selling SEO services.
Remember: if you’ve done your homework, the easier it will be to talk to clients about their web design pain points and set the direction for your pitch.
Write a web design sales script
Salespeople walk into meetings with three things: a pitch kit, confidence, and a good script.
Even the most seasoned sales people prepare scripts just to make sure they cover the most valuable aspects of the conversation. While it’s a golden rule to never ever read from a script, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare one.
Here’s a sample web design sales pitch that you can use:
“Great to talk with you today, [Client name]!
Here’s something our web design can offer. It has all the elements of a great website – SEO-friendly, mobile-friendly, and speed optimized. We build websites on Elementor, which makes them (super) easy to manage – no technical experience required.
[Proceed to talking about the value proposition of your web design service]
I can book the work for you now. Would you like me to send the invoice to your personal or work email?”
IMPORTANT: Use the script only as a guide, so you can smoothly go over the talking points and make the conversation more natural.
3. Develop Your Web Design Pitch
Now that you have a list of clients, what’s next? Marketing your web design business requires more finesse than when you’re selling any other digital marketing service because web design is highly-collaborative in nature.
In my years of being a web professional, I always go back to specific pointers when developing a pitch and helping partners know how to sell website design services more effectively.
Show clients the value of web design
Selling your web design service as a freelancer or as an agency has its fair share of challenges, but convincing clients they need a website adds another load to your work. You can’t just jump into the pitch and expect to close a client — you need to show them the value of web design.
Here’s a scenario that I always encounter: selling web design to a client who thinks they already have the best site. It’s pretty tricky to convince a client with this mindset because they’re already married to their website. So, how do I go about this? I breakdown the site and point out the opportunities they might be missing.
Pro Tip: If they wouldn’t budge, throw a few stats their way.
Here are some stats that you might want to include in your pitch:
- 66% of consumers would prefer to view content that is beautifully designed to something plain.
- Poor website UX is a weakness for your client’s business.
- 37% of B2B clients say poor website design/navigation is one of the factors that make them leave the site.
Stats like these reinforce the idea of what web design can do for your client’s business. If they have a clear idea of what’s in it for them, they’ll understand why they can’t put off website design. The important thing here is that you back it up with solid facts.
Match the type of business to the site
Not all websites are created and priced the same way. Selling web design to a client who is settled on their outdated website is one of the most difficult challenges of digital marketers — and this is something I know from experience. You need to justify the value of the service to ensure you also provide a fair website design pricing. The key here is to explain the advantages of a new website and recommend a design that fits their business model.
Here are some types of websites for different types of businesses:
- E-commerce site – This type of website is recommended for businesses that sell various kinds of products or services. Best for: suppliers and online stores.
- Portfolio sites – This type of website is appropriate for businesses that plan to show their target customers a series of work done by professionals. Best for: photographers, artists, and designers.
- Corporate sites – A classic website design that allows a business to present their services, history, and other achievements. Best for: law and dental practices.
- Magazine site – This is something similar to a blog. Instead of having one author, the site can host different blogs from contributors, such as industry authorities and thought leaders. Best for: publishing companies.
But, how do you determine which type of website to offer to clients? In this case, you need to have a client brief. This is especially helpful if you decide to outsource web design so they have an idea of what your clients need. Basic questions should include:
- Why do you want to build a website?
- What makes your products or services unique to the market?
- Who do you want to target?
- Do you have a design inspiration?
You’re not just a provider—be THE provider
Almost every digital marketing agency is offering web design to their clients. However, knowing how to sell website design is just the start. That’s where the problem lies: How do you differentiate yourself from other providers?
I’ve handled a dozen clients in the past, and I’ve helped them go from being mid-level businesses to becoming top players in their respective industries. It’s all thanks to how we handle outsource web design projects and the processes we’ve established that we’re able to deliver value-added service to agencies and their clients:
- Managing the right expectations – It’s not about saying yes to the client; it’s showing them how to get it done right. Talk to your clients, send them briefs to get information about their business, and consolidate all data so everyone is on the same page and has the right expectations.
- Providing a solid methodology – When you’re selling website design, you’re not just providing them with a service. You’re giving them a solution that warrants a solid methodology. It’s a matter of combining complementary services.
- Simplify the process – As you need a lot of collaboration in doing web design, the process often takes weeks to get one mockup created. In our case, we want partners to maximize their agency potential by providing premium web design mock-ups and customizable web design proposals with our online Proposal Builder
With a pitch complete and ready, now comes knowing how to promote your web design business that has been proven to work. Years of experience and evaluation of processes has led me to successfully help and teach others to do this with these next simple steps. . . . as a reminder, consistency is key:
- Give free information your client’s would find valuable. This will help build an audience of people who are interested in what you have to offer and also helps establish credibility with them because they know that there’s no cost involved yet.
- Get boots on the ground. Whether it be with potential customers or other designers, meeting face-to-face can help you form invaluable connections and become the first local company that others in town recommend by joining an industry professional network.
- Get social! Web design is an expanding industry, but it’s not always easy to keep up with the changing trends. One way you can save time and money in your business — whether or not you have a large team of professionals working for you — are social media channels like Facebook pages and Twitter feeds that will remind customers about what products they offer when their services come up throughout each day via notifications on phones screens alike!
- Customer Testimonials: It’s important to earn customer testimonials. A word-of mouth campaign starts with happy customers who are willing and able to talk up their experiences on social media platforms like Facebook or Yelp!
- Create better content. This can be done by focusing on what customers want rather than solely providing them with services they may not need or even know about yet! The goal is to keep your customer base happy with valuable content so that when you’re promoting yourself as an online business owner, they will come back to you.
4. Start Selling Web Design (and Offer More Value!)
Selling a website can lead to other services. Think of it as your foot in the door: Once their website is up and running, you can start upselling to other digital marketing services But, remember, it all comes back to the value of the service. If this is a solution that solves their pain points and helps them get more business, pitch it. Don’t offer them additional service if they have no need for it at the moment – find the right time to get their buy-in.
You may feel like you know how to sell a website design, but of course, we won’t let you go to your battles unprepared. Use our web design pitch deck to close more prospects!
We want partners to be confident when selling a website to potential clients. We’re using innovative technology combined with years of experience in selling web design. Sign up and see how our Agency Tools simplify the web design selling process for your agency. If you want to learn more about how to sell website design, talk to us and we’ll share our insights!