Unlock “Small Favor” Marketing

Web design is marketing. It’s not just helping our clients with their marketing. If we want good clients, we need to focus on our own marketing too. It’s a lot harder to get leads now than it used to be. Gone are the days of simply asking people if they want a website. Almost everyone who wants a website already has one.

Lead generation today requires a new mindset and a different approach. Here’s my 5-step blueprint for modern lead generation that I call Relationship-First Marketing for web designers.

Unlike traditional cold outreach marketing that generates roughly a 1% response rate, we’re seeing 10% – 30% response rates with our relationship-first marketing system. Here’s how it works.

Relationship-First Marketing

There have never been more ways to get a website than there are today. So, unless you’re just planning to sit around and wait for referrals, you’re going to need to do something to stand out. The most powerful way to stand out is by building relationships with your prospects before you invite them to become your client.

I mentor and coach a lot of web designers, and I am also targeted by other web designers who would like me to be their client. I’m seeing a lot of web designers sending emails that essentially have this three-step structure:

  1. Tell me I’ve got a problem with my website
  2. List their skills that are relevant to fixing the problems
  3. Invite me to call them to get started

The problem is there is absolutely no relationship, and consequently, the response rates are terrible.

If you focus on building a relationship first before you start trying to sell things to people you’ve never met, your response rates will be much higher. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. By building a relationship with your prospects, you’re increasing the likelihood that they’ll become your clients. You’re also setting yourself apart from other web designers who are just sending out cold emails and hoping for the best.

Two-Step Onboarding

Today, it takes two steps to land good clients. The first step is all about building the relationship. One effective way to do this is by offering a small favor to your prospects. It could be anything that you can do for free, which is beneficial for them. They will see that you know what you’re doing and that you care about their success.

To accept your offer, all they have to do is hop on a call with you so you can get the information you need to help. During the call, focus on building rapport with the client, uncovering their pain points, and suggesting what you’d do next if you were in their situation. Connections built like this are likely to result in long-lasting relationships with your clients, not just short-term small projects.

The key is to focus on building the relationship first. If it looks like it’s going to be a good fit for both of you, it’s natural and easy to keep working together.

Value-First Serving

Shifting your mindset from selling to serving creates fertile ground for growing a portfolio of clients you love working with. The key to value-first serving is to offer a small favor that would be something the client would want and can use even if they don’t hire you for anything else. You’re not giving them a complete lead generation solution, but you’re starting them out with a solid first step.

The small favor you offer should be something that provides value to the client. The key is that it should be something that you can do quickly and easily that also positions you as an expert they can trust.

Once you’ve offered the small favor, if they are interested, the next step is to set up a call. This initial call itself has to have value, even if that’s all they get. It can’t be you listing problems that they can’t take action on without hiring you. Connections built like this are likely to result in long-lasting relationships with your clients, not just short-term small projects.

Lead Magnet Favors

One of the most effective ways to build a relationship with your prospects and offer them something of value is by offering lead magnet favors. The secret to a successful lead magnet favor is that the favor has to be valuable, even if they don’t hire you to do anything else.

Ideas that do not work very well are things like website reviews, free consultations, and SEO audits because none of those things are helpful unless they also hire you to implement the things you suggest. The key to success is to make the initial call itself valuable.

Examples of good lead magnet favors are helping a client set up their Yelp profile, optimize their Google Business Profile, or develop a lead magnet for them to grow their email list. These favors are things that can be done quickly and easily while also providing a lot of value to the client.

Know Your Niche

The only way to know what your “small favor offer” should be is to know your niche. You would be embarrassed if you offered to help someone set up their Google Business Profile only to find out that they have a type of business that isn’t eligible and gets rejected by Google.

That’s why I’ve created a free eBook called Local Market Gems. In it, you’ll discover over 30 profitable niches for web designers and how to tap into those markets.

So, grab this eBook below. Pick one of the niches. Then create your small favor offer for prospects in that space. You have to pick your niche first. Otherwise, it’s virtually impossible to know what your small favor offer should be.

Once you’ve got your niche and your offer together, you’re ready to give relationship-first lead generation a try. I think you’ll be thrilled by the results.

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