After coaching hundreds of web designers and agency owners I've discovered that there are basically only two ways – two methods – to find clients. It's a lot like Robert Frost's “The Road Not Taken.”
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Let's take a look at both roads and see which one you'd like to travel.
The Common Road
The mainstream way – the road that's worn and trodden – is to put a banner up that lists all the stuff you can do. This is the “service-driven” approach to lead generation.
Sometimes the services are tech services like:
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Social media management
Other people – usually the people who have been around longer and have developed a small agency – shift away from technical lingo and towards consulting language saying things like:
- Grow your business
- Let's scale your business
- Let's make your website work for you
…or in some other creative (but generic) way they say, “We solve your problems.”
When they begin to describe how they solve problems they outline a 4 or 5 step process that starts with Discovery, moves through implementation, and ends with launching.
This is the heavily packed, well-trodden dirt road because almost everyone takes this path.
Today, this road has bottomed out. Web designers and web agencies don't have the budget to compete against the marketing of campaigns from Wix and Squarespace. They don't have the ability to compete on price against the international networks of web designers on Upwork and Fiverr. So, they end up relying very heavily on word-of-mouth referrals.
The five main problems you encounter along this common road are:
- Unqualified leads
- Low budget expectations
- Short-term clients
- Inconsistent lead flow heavily dependent on referrals
- Lost in the noise with no real marketing plan
So, most web designers end up feeling really stuck. They don't know what to say on their websites without sounding exactly like everyone else. They sometimes get totally stalled out with writer's block. They aren't confident in their pricing so they hesitate and stutter when the topic of money comes up. They lowball themselves because they need the work. It's a mess.
The Road Not Taken
The alternative is to pave a new road. Rather than trying to rise above the noise, go to a quiet room. Nobody is helping themselves by trying to shout louder than the next person. Most web designers have realized that everyone is saying all the same stuff. So, to try to attract new clients they underscore their value by lowering the price.
But price is not the only way to measure the value of web design. In fact, price is usually the worst measurement of the value of web design.
Price, Speed, and Results
Rather than lowering your price to attract new clients leverage one or both of the other two measurements of value; speed and results.
Speed is a perfectly good reason to pay more. If you don't believe it, just look at FedEx. Their entire business model is based on the concept that faster is better. The price difference between 5 day ground shipping and overnight shipping is often outrageous!
Results are even more powerful than speed. Focus your marketing around results and you'll attract a completely different clientele than if you market around technical services.
Combine speed with results and you've really got something.
To be clear, I'm not really talking about speed in terms of how long it takes to spin up a website. I'm talking about how fast you can generate results; especially measurable business results.
How Do You Market Results?
You never want to get into a situation where you promise or guarantee things that are not within your control. So, I never recommend guaranteeing a certain ranking on Google or an exact number of leads.
Instead, think of it in terms of realistic potential. For example, think about tennis. Serena Williams is arguably one of the best tennis players in the world. Among her achievements in tennis, she's won Wimbledon 7 times. She plays with a Wilson Blade tennis racket.
If I buy that racket am I guaranteed to win Wimbledon? No. But you can say that this racket is capable of performing at that level.
We're not selling tickets to Wimbledon. We're selling tennis rackets. We're trying to underscore the value of one racket above another. The Wilson Blade is $250 because it is capable of better results than the Wilson Adult Recreational Racket for $28. The Wilson Blade is almost 10X more valuable because it is capable of serious results and is designed for serious players.
The same applies to your work as a web designer and digital marketer. You can charge 10X more for your work when you focus the value around the results of your solution rather than trying to compete on price.
Take The Road Less Traveled
– It Makes All The Difference
The first step is to make the personal decision that you're not going to compete on price.
Then there are a few other steps to get dialed in.
First, you have to position yourself in the flow of leads who want serious results. Think about the Wilson Blade. To buy that racket you need to be a serious player looking for high-end results; not a weekend recreational dad just swatting a few balls with his son over the weekend.
You need a well-planned solution before you meet with the client. Review our series on Solution First Marketing.
Finally, you need to build your marketing around the results of your solution; not the raw services included. In other words, your marketing emphasizes speed and results (especially the speed of results) over price.
This is the essence of what DoubleStack is all about. So, if this is sounding like something you'd like to explore, let's get on the phone and talk about it (for free).