A Guide To Putting Relationships First And Offering Results-Driven Solutions
I’ve spent two decades running my own web design business, and I’m also passionate about helping other web designers develop their own successful six-figure businesses. I don’t believe it is sustainable trying to deal with demanding clients on grueling, low-budget projects, especially with the changes that have taken place recently and all of the different low-budget alternatives for web design. So, let’s take a look at some ideas that will help you navigate the path to success in today’s web design industry.
Traditional Sales-First Marketing vs. Relationship-First Marketing
Traditionally, most web designers employ a sales-first marketing strategy. It’s a basic three-step pattern:
- Point out a technical problem
- Mention a technical service you offer to fix the problem
- Invite people to call you to get started
This approach tends to make potential clients feel bad, focusing on all the problems they’ve got and the money they’ll need to spend to fix them. It is a low-converting strategy for outreach. It takes a long time and tends to feel uncomfortable for everyone involved.
On the other hand, relationship-first marketing flips this strategy on its head. It’s about offering something that feels good to both give and receive. It’s about creating a sense of reciprocity and building a relationship based on trust. It’s about nurturing leads into clients. This is the approach I’ve taken and the approach I teach in Blue Theory, where we’ve seen 10 to 30% conversion rates from outreach to calls, significantly higher than the 1% conversion rate typical of traditional “sales first” cold outreach campaigns.
The Power of a Solution First Agency
The key to achieving results like this lies in making the shift to a Solution First Agency where instead of focusing on services, you focus on results. Clients don’t just want a website; they want more traffic, leads, clients, and, ultimately, more revenue. They desire an outcome-driven result, not a technical one. As a Solution First Agency, you focus on the outcome your clients want, and you offer a package that will deliver this result.
Once you and the client agree on the desired outcome, you present a complete solution that will achieve it. “Do you want this outcome? Yes? Get this solution.” This streamlines the process, ensuring the client only has to say yes once, and they get all of your best services in one fell swoop.
Plus, when you brand your solution as a product (not as a service or an agency), you can hide the complexity of a complicated and technical strategy behind the name of your branded solution. This concept alone can have a dramatic impact on increasing your conversion rate of leads to paying clients.
How to Establish a Solution First Agency
To create a high-ticket solution, it’s essential to focus on three key areas: growth, savings, and personal/emotional relief. Your solution should offer a clear outcome, solving a big business problem, not just a technical goal. It should also be measurable, either in terms of increased growth or decreased costs, so clients can visualize the benefits.
Being a Solution First Agency also means being proactive in your outreach so that you can generate your own leads and not solely rely on referrals. This way, you maintain control and consistency in your business.
Referrals are great, but they need to be the icing on the cake. When there’s nothing on your calendar, you need to have a plan to get your own leads rolling in. That plan is all about finding clients who want (and need) access to the results your solution produces. It is vastly easier to get leads when you’re offering results as opposed to generating leads for a vague and abstract menu of technical services.
Creating a Win-Win Situation
By operating as a Solution First Agency, you create a win-win situation. You secure high-ticket, high-margin work, and your clients achieve their desired results. This is a stark contrast to traditional web designers, who are often stressed with low-margin projects and uncertain results for their clients.
I have personally helped hundreds of web designers build their own businesses, many of whom have secured clients worth over $10k each, replacing their full-time income and even reaching the $100,000 mark in less than a year. I believe that the foundation for building a web design business with this level of success is creating an environment where everybody wins. With traditional web design – especially right now – it seems like everybody is losing. Web designers aren’t making the income they need, and their clients generally tend to be unhappy with the results.
Starting a WordPress design business from home today requires a new approach with a fresh perspective that includes structuring your business model as a Solution First Agency. It’s about focusing on relationship-first marketing, providing solutions rather than selling services, and taking proactive steps to generate leads.
Become The Leader Your Clients Need
If I had to sum it all up into one concept, I’d call it a shift from implementation to leadership. Your clients are looking to you for leadership to get the results they need in their business.