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Getting the Clients
wfernley




msg:973387
 12:57 am on Oct 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum as well as new to operating my own web design company. I started up my company, and I have build about 10 sites now. I would like to throw more business my way but I don't have money for advertising.

I was curious what methods all of you found useful.

I have registered with search engines (free submition) and I also have meta tags set up on my site. I have added myself to many web design directories, but I still seem to get no business from my web site. All my work has been from word of mouth. I was curious how long work will be this slow. Once I have made more sites will I get more business? Do I just have to wait till I have about 30 sites made for the word to spread about me?

Thanks guys :)

Wes

 

macrost




msg:973388
 10:07 am on Oct 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Networking. I'm talking about networking with people that might or do know people with money in pocket and no site, or a site that really needs a professional! Go with your friend to that little partay that has mostly business owners. Take some business cards, and get your name out there! Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising there is: do a couple of charity sites. Have some fun, and don't run out of money like I did!

Mac

wfernley




msg:973389
 3:42 pm on Oct 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the help mac. I have been doing that as well. All friends, or anyone I run into I give a business card. How about like Yellowpage ads, how well do they work?

JamesR




msg:973390
 9:22 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is so much competition for what you are doing that just having a web site may not make a lot of difference. You need to establish a reputation, ask for referrals, get testimonials on your website, etc. Reputation is very important in this biz.

onedumbear




msg:973391
 10:42 pm on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

wfernly...
imho, leaving business cards will get you almost nowhere. I've honestly never tried it, but i'm sure you are always better off talking to whose in charge and leaving an impression, not a card.
You will often avoid trouble and get more business at the same time by being very direct and honest and telling people a little bit about what you can't do for them, not just what you can.
Let them know you cant garauntee a position is the se's for a given search term. Let them know that it might take a about a month for the site to be listed in all the se's, unless they PFI.

Give it to em straight. I like to start off by letting people know just as much about what i can't do for them and make sure they understand that there are some things no one can garauntee.

Speeeedy




msg:973392
 9:02 am on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Methods I've found successful to keep business flowing:

1. YOU NEED A CHARITY PORTFOLIO

Build a client list of at least 5 charity sites, for starters. Or offer deals to where your "Charity" client can't pass it up. These are your golden eggs, treat them well, design them well! Do not half-ass these puppies at all-- keep them looking sharp. Even if you have to donate your time and a little $ for a couple charity sites, do it-- they look like platinum on your portfolio, and get your name/business name out there. Just make sure you properly credit yourself in clearly visible areas on the sites (no, not dinky shady links in small font at the bottom of the page).

2. BUSINESS CARDS DO WORK...

Out in the real world
Keep your eyes peeled for people who love to talk about their business ventures and such at coffee shops, and the like. I've gotten a lot of work just from listening... and then chiming in as a perfect stranger. You are just what they ordered, but know always how to present yourself and your services. Always be cautious to present "what's in it for them". A business card without a face is mostly worthless. Without person-to-person communication skills, you might as well stay at home. If that's the case, don't worry, it's not the end of the world...

3. SCOUTING

List of favorites: PROSPECTS
A huge demand for work can be found simply by scouting the net for various sites that are in your interest for designing. For example: I'm into surfing as a hobby, and I think it'd be cool to design for some pro surfer chick (woohoo). So I hop on to Google and search for pro surfer chicks, and I scout out the various site results. When you come across site's that cause you to scowl, "oh my God that site is horrible!" That means you have a prospect. Add it to your Favorites: PROSPECTS. I don't believe you should ever design sites for something you're not interested in, because then you lose interest quickly. Have fun with them.

Gather a list of prospects using this method, and then analyze which ones would be most profitable to hit up first. Prioritize them, then send them a professional inquiry with a special "website re-design" deal.

It also helps to have your own (SCRIPT) templates (NOT CHEESY WYSIWYG TEMPLATES!) made to where you can punch out a high-quality looking site in a short amount of time, focusing on graphic presentation of the content. Re-designing sites is the best because you already have the majority of your content, it's faster to finish, so you can afford to charge less oftentimes, and do more sites.

I haven't once paid (directly) for advertising. I've been in the business for 4yrs. You only should end up paying (relatively cheap expenses) for your portfolio building days, charity sites, etc.

Happy trails!

--Jim---

onedumbear




msg:973393
 11:29 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

A business card without a face is mostly worthless

I would certainly use your own best judgement on this.
I know that if i put my face on a business card, i just can't imagine it would be good for business.
I am much nicer than i look.

If you have a friendly face though, use it. I have looked at a business card or two and been left with a good impression by just a friendly face on the card, one was a realator and the fact that i remember that from over a year ago says something.

moltar




msg:973394
 11:45 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't think Speeeedy meant to actually put your own face on a business card. What he was trying to say is that leaving business cards around in public places and passing them over friends is worthless. IMO.

pleeker




msg:973395
 11:57 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Local churches are, like charity organizations, a good place to offer your services -- many have large congregations, some of which are bound to be business owners that could be interested in your services if you do a bang-up job on the church's site.

However, I do agree with Speeedy's idea that you need to be working in a subject area you like if you're going to be doing something that's low-budget or (gasp!) free. So if you're not a church-goer, don't bother. (It's my experience that churches like to work and do business with other believers.)

Speeeedy




msg:973396
 10:33 am on Oct 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

"What he was trying to say is that leaving business cards around in public places and passing them over friends is worthless." [moltar]

Moltar is correct. I've actually never thought about literally putting my face on a business card lol.. there's another idea, experiment.

pleeker
Good idea... I've found that to be true, too :)

--Jim---

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