I’m sick of websites that are worth less than the server space they’re sitting on. What’s even worse, I hate feeling like I’m pouring my time into that doesn’t matter – just a stupid pile of pixels.
I’ve been building websites for two decades. I remember when I first got into it, everybody said, “Oh! You’re going to write your ticket to anywhere you want! Web design is the future!”
Most Websites Are Basically Worthless
At first, it was! But today, most websites aren’t worth anything.
I know web designers who will pour $3,500 of their time into designing a brand and building a website and then sell the whole thing for $200/month, holding their breath and hoping the client sticks around long enough for it to pay off. Meanwhile, the client isn’t getting any results because nobody’s doing a single thing to the site after it launches. Too much time and money has already been spent.
I know other web designers who will build you a free WordPress website if you just pay for hosting. The whole industry is getting hollowed out and it sucks for everybody. Most web designers work like crazy for crap budgets. Most clients feel ripped off too.
Literally a few hours ago, a friend of mine said she lost a client that she’d been working with for years because the client’s friend-of-a-friend would like to redesign the site for free.
No Experience Required Means No Value
This shows tells me that the client places virtually zero value on the website. Would you let a random friend of a friend manage your investment portfolio for free? Would you let some random pilot fly you somewhere for free just for practice? Would you let a random friend-of-a-friend administer the anesthesia for your surgery for free just to see if they can do it?
If you’re dealing with something important, you want a seasoned professional’s help, right? So, the fact that this client is fine with just redesigning the whole website willy-nilly with some random person for free says to me that the client does not view the website as important. If it was a major contributing source of leads, I bet the client wouldn’t be so quick to switch things up.
Who Cares If Nothing Matters?
My problem with all of this is that I care. I care a LOT. I want to do my best and I want that to mean my clients are getting results. If this is not the case, and you find yourself doing work that feels meaningless, it won’t be long before you hate your job and you’ll probably start resenting your clients too.
Custom PCs vs. Gaming Computers
Way back when, I used to build my own computers from scratch. I’d order all the individual parts and build custom machines for myself. I learned about all the parts, and what components were compatible with each other. It was a lot of work to keep up with all of that, but I could get a system that was exactly what I needed without having to pay for power that I wasn’t going to use.
Fast forward to a few years ago. My son was getting into Fortnite and was frustrated because his machine was too low-powered to pull rendering all the graphics clearly and quickly enough. People with faster machines were beating him. His computer was several years old and was originally just for school work, not gaming. So, I figured maybe I’d build a gaming PC for him.
I started to look into the various parts and I basically had no idea what anything was anymore. I didn’t want to spend forever trying to figure it out either. I’m not in a place where I have the time or desire to build a bunch of custom computers anymore. I just wanted a Gaming PC that would plat Fortnite at full capacity.
At first I started reading all the details the latest GPUs and CPUs, various types of cooling systems, RAM requirements, etc. I hadn’t even started digging into the different types of monitors and refresh rates. I wasn’t enjoying the process. All I wanted was a Fortnite Gaming PC setup and it would be great if I didn’t have to study all the parts to build one myself. I was happy to pay more for a system that was already built and ready to go where I know it would get the job done. If someone had put together a package with a gaming computer, gaming mouse, monitor, and keyboard and called it the Ultimate Fortnite Gaming Rig, guaranteed to play Fortnite at the highest quality, I would have instantly purchased it. I didn’t care what the parts were, I didn’t trust myself to ask for the right parts, I just wanted the outcome.
The Outcome Determines The Configuration
Another thing I really enjoy is songwriting. I’ve thought about building out a home recording studio. The ideal computer for a home recording studio is not the same as a gaming PC. My recording setup needs an emphasis on the sound card and the monitor doesn’t really matter. With a gaming PC the sounds card doesn’t matter that much but the monitor is really important. The outcome determines the configuration, right?
I don’t see web designers thinking like this very often. Most web designers operate like a custom PC parts store where you’re expected to pick the stuff you need. Of course, just like me with the gaming PC, nobody really knows what they need. So, how are they supposed to ask for the right stuff?
The Value Formula
Why not make the equivalent of the Ultimate Fortnite Gaming Rig or the Ultimate Home Recording Studio but for web design and digital marketing? It just requires three basic steps:
- Who is this for?
- What is the primary outcome that person/business needs?
- What stuff do I need to include to create that outcome?
For PCs, it goes like this:
- Who: A kid who wants to be awesome at Fortnite
- What: Play Fortnite at the highest settings with glitch-free performance
- How: All the parts to pull that off
(ideally, without paying for stuff I don’t need)
Web design and marketing has the same pattern:
- Who: Local in-person businesses
- What: More calls from qualified leads
- How: Your lead generation solution
Local Leads Components
Let’s play this out in a real-world example. Knowing the audience and the outcome, it’s not too hard to assemble the components of your package.
Our basic package for local businesses looks like this:
Who: Local service professionals (CPAs, chiropractors, personal trainers, etc.)
What: More calls scheduled from qualified leads
Basic Package Components:
- Professional web design and branding (builds trust and authority)
- Hosting, maintenance, and support (site needs to stay healthy)
- Google Business Profile management (more visibility on Google)
- Review acquisition funnel (more reviews and social proof)
- Local SEO (get in front of “near me” searches)
- Email opt-in lead magnet
- Email drip nurturing sequence
- Online calendar for booking calls
Looking at the details of this package you don’t even have to tell me the audience and I can already see who this is for.
Seeing that Google Business Profile management and a review acquisition funnel are included starts to tell me who we’re targeting. You can’t even have a Google Business Profile unless you have a local, in-person business.
Local SEO for “near me” searches tells me we’re dealing with “service in location” style businesses like professional service providers would need. For example “personal trainer near me” or “chiropractor in Williamsburg, VA.” If we were targeting online-only businesses or national businesses then we wouldn’t be focusing on the “near me” aspect of SEO.
The email opt-in lead magnet and the drip campaign show me that this is a client that needs to provide some degree of education in their marketing to make sure they are attracting qualified leads. That means we’re probably not focusing on utilitarian home services like plumbing and electricians. We’re targeting service providers where you probably need to learn a little bit about what you’re getting yourself into before you book a call.
The online calendar for booking calls tells me we’re dealing with appointment-based businesses, not memberships, or reservations.
The Customer Journey
Even with this basic package you can already see how these particular components begin to tell the story of the customer journey.
You can see where the traffic is going to come from:
- Google Business Profile management + reviews
- Local SEO
We can see how we plan to pull leads from the traffic:
- Email opt-in lead magnet
We’ve got our system for qualifying and converting leads to clients:
- Email drip campaign (educate and qualify clients)
- Online calendar (book calls to onboard new clients)
Can you see how if the audience had been different, we would have needed different components? Or even if the outcome was different we would need to include different features.
For example, if our target audience needed the ability to take online reservations like for hotels, bed and breakfasts, rental cars, etc. we’d probably want to include a way for customers to check for availability and possibly even make online reservations.
If you were targeting clients like florists, farmers markets, specialty food stores, and bakeries we’d probably want to include components to enable online ordering, curbside pickup, and possibly even home delivery.
Is this making sense? See how the audience and the outcomes shift the components of your packages? This is the secret to building packages worth money.
Outcomes Deliver Value
Today, standalone websites have virtually no value to most business owners because everybody knows that a website – by itself – doesn’t move the needle for the business.
Create a package designed to create a specific outcome for your target audience and I guarantee you’ll land far more clients at much high price points and everybody will be happy.
Getting Attention and Pulling Leads
Remember the custom PC vs. Fortnite system we were talking about? I saw plenty of people on Facebook and even Craigslist who said they would build me a custom PC. I suspect I could have told them what I needed and they could have put something together for me. But I didn’t call any of them.
If I had seen someone say, “This is the Ultimate Fortnite Gaming System” I would have immediately bought it.
I ended up going on Amazon, looking at different gaming PCs, and I found one that had several people commenting about how they were playing Fortnite with the top settings with no glitches. I bought that one.
Tell people you have what they want and you’ll get attention and pull leads.
I didn’t want “a computer.” I didn’t really even want a “gaming PC.” I wanted my son to play Fortnite without glitches.
As a web designer, what do you think would happen if you said, “I help local business owners pull leads from within driving distance of their location with a modernized approach to web design and online marketing.“
I guarantee you’ll be remembered if you say that.