I co-founded a web design agency, Sideways8, nine years ago. For the first six years, we grew a little at a time, there were three of us, and we did OK. Then we shifted gears, got more serious about growth and web design marketing, and now we have 15 people and continued growth.
4 web design marketing ideas for 2018
I often meet with new agency owners who ask how we have grown. Here is what I tell them:
Know exactly who you are, and own it.
Network, but not the usual way.
Start a podcast for the wrong reasons.
Be THE choice.
Let’s explore each of these concepts in-depth.
1. Know exactly who you are, and own it
Know who you are and market that, first. Too many agencies and web designers are generalists. “We design awesome websites” is the phrase that rolls off your tongue at networking meetings. The only problem is that isn’t actionable.
But, if you say, “we build the best custom WordPress sites,” you are getting more specific and it might help someone refer you. The best is to be able to say, “We build custom WordPress sites for nonprofits.” When you tell someone that, they are likely to suddenly remember that they know a nonprofit that you should meet!
The more clear you are about who you are as a web design company (or individual), the more likely you will be to get referrals from networking.
2. Network, but not the usual way
Network, network, network, but skip the networking meetings. When most people start to think about web design marketing, they immediately start looking for the next networking cocktail hour. Don’t do that. Instead, make it your goal to network strategically. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who do I know that can give me business?
- Who do I know who knows a lot of people?
- Can the people that my contacts know give me business?
Next, start meeting with the highest level people in your network and create a system to be sure you remain on their radar. During the meeting with them, ask them who else you should meet. You can also do some recon ahead of time — know who they are connected to on LinkedIn and ask for direct introductions.
Go for valuable conversation and seek to provide them with value. If you want to build a network quickly to market your web design services, I recommend aiming to have 15 to 20 meetings per week. Having that many meetings will help you to focus on your web design marketing and growth, and it will force you to be strategic about when and how you work, helping your business to grow.
3. Start a podcast for the wrong reasons
Start a podcast, but not for the reasons you think. A podcast can help you with the two things above more than you can imagine.
Make sure you start a podcast that is very focused on your niche. There are a lot of podcasts out there and it’s easy to get lost in the noise. To avoid that, talk about something specific instead. For example, if your web design work is mostly around coworking spaces, start a podcast about coworking spaces. This will help you to position yourself as an expert in that space as you build more and more material around that niche.
Starting a podcast is the secret sauce that will help you market your web design services, because you get the chance to network with your perfect client without having to try to sell them at all.
Next, use your new podcast as a networking tool to talk to your target market. This is the secret sauce that will help you market your web design services. In the example above, you do web design for coworking spaces. You have started a podcast about coworking spaces to establish your credibility in the area. Now leverage your new podcast to network with your target market, the people running coworking spaces.
This approach is fantastic because you get the chance to network with your perfect client, without having to try to sell them at all. You simply ask them to be a guest on your podcast, and boom! You’re in!
Also, a massive bonus to this approach is the organic SEO benefit. When you produce a new podcast, you should always have it transcribed into text and then post that on your website along with the podcast itself. That transcription will be chock full of keyword phrases that will help with getting your web design marketing rolling.
4. Be THE choice
Web design marketing is mostly about credibility. The problem with the web design community is that everyone is a web designer. Your competitor is not just the excellent freelancer down the street or the agency in your city that you both love and hate. The competitor is also your client’s high school kid taking their technology class.
When you talk to someone about your web design and marketing experience, they have to know that you are the choice in your niche, not just a choice.
To compete with that, you have to be the expert, hands down. When you talk to someone about your web design and marketing experience, they have to know that you are the choice in your niche, not just a choice.
There are several ways you might consider going at this. Work to get published somewhere. Whether in a small online publication or a huge company’s blog, do the research and find out how to write for them. Having an article published on a reputable site will go a long way.
Next, do some public speaking. It’s not as hard as you might think. Consider this: create a presentation called “Brilliant web design marketing ideas for 2018” and pitch it to your local business association. You will be surprised at how easy it is to get in to speak if you have a solid presentation about something they want to hear. Or, consider writing a book about your specialty and self-publishing it. Being able to put a book you wrote in someone’s hands makes your credibility skyrocket in their minds. When you wrote the book on your niche, you become the choice for their web design and marketing needs.
At the end of the day, brilliant web design marketing boils down to a few simple things.
- Know who you are and how you are different.
- Network with your niche market like crazy.
- Position yourself as the choice within the niche.
If you can do those things, your web design marketing will take off, and next you will be looking for articles about how to manage rapid growth.
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