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Professional Webmaster Business Issues Forum

Advertising my Business
Not much work at the moment
Andrew Thomas

 12:32 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

OK, im in the process of starting a webdesign business while still in my current job. Although ive done a couple of sites already (contacts by work friends).

The problem is im finding work very SLOW, I have not had any phone calls, emails etc asking me to do a quote or a website! I have a website, but not very high in SE ranks yet, mainly because its fairly new.

What other lines of marketing should i be taking while i wait for my site to reach the top of google?

I have a business card which I have given out to my friends etc. But what is the best approach to use in trying to get work from a prospective shop that has no website.

Newspaper Adverts
Yellow Pages
Web Directories
Ads in Shop Windows

Do all of you get frequent work, and im the odd one out, or do you all find it hard to get work?

any suggestions are appreciated



 12:40 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

1. Newspaper ads are terrible for conversion. I would stay away from those unless you have the money for a full page ad on sunday in a widely distributed area. Even then your viewers are not very targeted and I don't think you will get much ROI.

2. Yellow pages do work. They were the staple of the small business community.

3. Web directories have worked well for me. I payed $10 to be include in one and it has payed thousands of times over that. It is more the niche directories that I have found good ROI.

4. Ads in Shop Windows may work I don't know. To me it sounds like little billy is creating web site and would expect a lot of riff raff as potential customers.

Nothing really beats hitting the street and the phones and networking. IMHO You will get many more clients with old sales techniques than a yahoo! listing.


 12:42 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Networking, Networking, Networking.

It's tough to get the ball rolling, but once it picks up momentum you should be fine. If you do design for shops around town, ask the owners if they know other businesses in town that need a website.

Also, when you finish theirs, how about offering a free sign like:

Visit Us Online at:
web design by Andrew_Thomas.com


 12:45 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

I made some good networking contacts by joining a local businessmen's association. I was not in any way self promotional - the "what is your business" topic just comes up naturally.

Andrew Thomas

 12:54 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

When you all say "Networking" do you mean by recommendations etc... One job leading to another etc..

It appears I will have to dust off my suite and start walking the Streets with my sales man hat on.

Making 'phone calls' does this technique work, and would sending emails to a targeted area of business work?

Thanks for all the suggestions


 12:56 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Business associations or Chamber of Commerce are definitely worthwhile. As Tedster says, don't be promotional about it. It's an environment where, if you impress people as a decent bloke who knows his stuff, they will call you.

I'm guessing you haven't got an office if you're still working another job. 'Premises' goes a long way to saying you're serious, even if your premises are your car. Get your car signwritten, or magnetic strips, or window-written.

Look for opportunities to speak in public. Strut your stuff a bit. The web is still a vast mystery to most people, business people included. If you can get a bit of speaking, perhaps at those chamber or business association meetings, you can 'wow' a lot of people in one go.

Andrew Thomas

 1:10 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)


Im in business with my sister, she has her own office (in her house) and has a jeep with advertising on it. So we have made a start, just waiting for it to take of (if it deoes!)

where can i find info on 'Business associations or Chamber of Commerce' (sorry but these are new words to me)


 1:18 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

:) You're off to a good start then.

The Chambers of Commerce here in New Zealand (there's pretty much one in each town or district) are associated with the City Councils. The City Councils usually have a function that includes attracting and supporting business in teh area, so I guess that's the tie-in. Try whatever local government you have.

Business Associations... council or local government could probably put you in touch with these as well. If not, try looking for Service clubs - these often have a strong professional membership - Lions Club, Kiwanis, Rotary. Probus is also a business club here, though I'm not sure if they are international.

On the phone vs email thingy... I have to tell you I deleted three emails offering services from new local businesses this week.. and sent them a polite reply indicating that further unsolicited email would be regarded as spam and reported to their ISP. On the other hand, I almost always take appointments from new local businesses who come to my office and ask for an opportunity to show me their wares. These guys are top of my 'go to' list when I need something... mostly just because I know their face.

Invest a little time in me and I may invest a lot of money in you sort of thing.


 1:22 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

I almost always take appointments from new local businesses who come to my office and ask for an opportunity to show me their wares. These guys are top of my 'go to' list when I need something... mostly just because I know their face.

I think most people feel the same way.


 3:13 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

networking = mixing with people, "spreading the word" etc etc. anywhere, everywhere.

just in general conversation, you need to mention you're a web designer. you may not know the person you're talking to, but maybe they need a website? maybe they know someone else who needs one? if you were to go to pubconference (see the link / logo above) where many attendees are web designers / SEO specialists / internet wizards etc, you could introduce yourself as a web designer who is "learning the ropes" etc. maybe someone will take your business card and offer you a bit of work on a subcontract. maybe they know someone who needs a site really cheap and right now?

i built a lot of free sites when i started out. most were for friends, people i knew, even people i just chatted to on the net. it all went on my portfolio, every page carrying links back to my site. some site owners recommended me to other people and i gained work through that. the links to my sites helped get me several top ranking positions in search engines plus some people click through the links. this brings in quite a lot of work.

you may find it easier to let people come to you than for you to chase work from them. if they come to you then at least they're likely to be serious about wanting a site. instead of knocking on doors, maybe spend your time building a demo site or 2 to show off your skills even more?

you can find your local business link in the phone book (ordinary business/residential phone book, not yellow pages) under "business link" and the chambers of commerce under "chamber of commerce". be aware that you won't be the only web designer there.

take it easy, keep working at it, and things will fall into place.


 7:43 pm on Sep 20, 2002 (gmt 0)


The best way to go about this is to register yourself/your company with online marketplaces. Here, buyers post web design/banner design/corporate presentation/logo design/web programming projects online. Service providers (both individuals and companies) need to "bid" on projects online. Once your bid is accepted, you work with your client and complete the project. Once your client is satisfied, you get paid (and rated). The marketplace facilitating this transaction pockets 10 to 20% of the total cost of the project. In the beginning, you will struggle a lot. Bid low for projects in the beginning. Once you get a reputation, you can bid higher.

Go to google and type in keywords like - web design marketplace, online marketplace and other related keywords. Or just browse through the Google categories.

There are hundreds of such marketplaces on the internet - the largest one being eLance.com. I know a small web design company (husband-wife team and 2 part-time employees) that makes an average of $100,000 per year and lives off such online marketplaces.

Hope this helps :)

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