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Marketing Advice For a Web Designer

A friend (who designs websites) asked me what comes to mind when I read the following value proposition statement Get the MOST out of having a website! MORE Visitors, MORE Engagement, MORE Sales.

I know that what comes to my mind is likely not what comes to the average persons mind.  Because I know that having a website has little at all to do with actually getting more visitors, more engagement, and more sales.  In fact a large portion of the people who read this blog do so because they have existing websites and are looking to learn ways to increase visitors, improve engagement, and drive sales.  Having the website, in and of itself, is clearly not the solution if you have it already and you still have these problems.

However, I also know that that’s exactly what most business owners are thinking when they launch a new website, or refresh an old one. I tend to avoid statements like this when selling services because there are typically 3 types of revenue that clients can pay me in.

  1. Cash
  2. Attention & Trust
  3. and Referrals….

and I’m always more interested in ‘attention & trust’.

If I make a promise like the one mentioned and my client does not get more visitors, more engagement, and more sales simply from buying a website I risk losing the more valuable revenue stream of ‘attention and trust‘.  In my mind ‘attention & trust’ are more valuable than cash, and referrals because if I have ‘attention & trust’ I can always get the other two.

Sidenote: My best good buddy Don Graves is a master at getting referrals.  Someone who has not known Don as long as I have could easily think that he comes by his referrals because of some fancy marketing tact.  But I know better.  He gets them because of the many years he’s spent earning ‘attention & trust’.

So What’s A Web Designer To Do?

Your clients don’t build websites to get more visitors, increased engagement, and drive sales…even though they might even think they do.  The truth is that we (you, me, and everyone else) build websites because we’re after something else.  You have to get to that something else the ‘why’ of why your customers do what they do.  Here’s a simple exercise Don taught me.

Interview several of your customers who purchased a website from you.  Ask them why they built the site.  They might say I needed more visitors…ask them why they needed more visitors…they will give you an answer…ask them why again…they’ll give another answer…after you’ve asked why 5 to 7 times you’ll be at the tip of the real reason she built a website and the real reasons your customers buy from you.

What you uncover becomes your value propostiton statement.

Final Thoughts From The Trenches

Customers buy stories

I spent the 90’s selling high end phone systems to small and enterprise level businesses.  One of the reasons customers purchased from me, and I was always at least twice the price of my competitors, is that no telecom manager ever got fired for purchasing from Lucent Technologies (this is what clients would actually tell me).  So on the surface you might think they were purchasing for two reasons.

  1. This guy is Lucent Tech
  2. If I buy from this guy and things go bad I can always say to my boss…hey who would have thought it could go wrong choosing Lucent (which is really a long winded way of saying they wanted to make their boss happy).

But the real thing they were buying was a story.  The story they could tell their boss if something went wrong.

So simply showing up and stating I’m with Lucent Technologies was not only enough to get me in the door it got me a lot sales.  People needed a story to tell their boss if things went wrong with a high tech install so I got really good at pushing that fear button.  You know lots of things go can go wrong on a 200 phone system install, Mr. Jones!  Mrs. Smith…just how many T3’s has the Phone Doctor (a real competitor back then) actually installed?

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