It’s another work day; your computer is booted up, the coffee cup is full, and your headphones are canceling out the world. Now it is finally time to address that pesky to-do item that you’ve been avoiding – sell more websites.
Selling more websites shouldn’t be as hard as it is, but unfortunately, for many freelancers, it’s an unfortunate reality. As with many creatives, the idea of selling might make you uncomfortable – even with the large number of online tools that make the process easier. Plus, it doesn’t help that there are plenty of web designers nowadays, all with varying levels of ability and pay expectations, vying for the same customers.
Thankfully, selling more websites doesn’t have to be so hard. There are plenty of strategies for freelancers looking to grow their businesses with more sales. While we can’t guarantee that these tips will make you rich overnight, but we can say that mastering all of them will help you sell more websites. When it comes down to it, successful web design freelancing is about creating well-organized sites that help people solve problems – something we’ve built a business on. I guess you could say that Slickplan is the ultimate strategy for selling more websites, but don’t quote us on that.
Feel free to quote these 7 strategies for freelancers looking to sell more websites, however…
1. Focus on the potential of the site
A website is much more than a design. When built well, it is a powerful business tool. Whether you are designing websites for businesses, individuals, or flipping for a profit, you’ll need to focus on creating something that has the potential to make someone money.
One of the best ways to ensure a site’s profitability is to focus on its information architecture. Information architecture helps web designers create websites with the user in mind. Not only will a well-organized site be easier to navigate, but it will also be more likely to convert visitors into buyers and rank on Google.
When you focus on the potential, you have less to sell, because in many cases, a well-organized site can sell itself. If a site visitor can understand what a site is about and how to use it, it’s very likely that those interested in buying it will as well. At that point, it becomes less about selling and more about demonstrating the site’s potential.
2. Don’t be afraid to sell
Many freelancers struggle with selling more websites simply because they have an aversion to selling anything. Unfortunately, this is a part of the job. Unless you can afford to hire someone to sell your work for you, convincing someone to buy your work is just as important as creating it.
Selling doesn’t have to be hard – especially when you focus on creating something that will make people money. At that point how you think about selling should go from convincing a potential buyer that your design is the best, to explaining how your design can help them.
In other words, selling changes from convincing to helping. Helping people is good right? Why would anyone be afraid to help?
Once you’ve explained to a potential customer how your site can help their business, all that’s left to do is ask for the sell. Yes, you must ask – don’t expect them to offer. Make it clear what benefit you are offering them and what you’d like in return. Remember, your website is a service that helps them – and you are the superhero that can get the job done.
3. Advertise and market your work
Nowadays, there are millions of websites and likely millions of people who create them as a profession. As a freelancer, it can be very hard to stand out among the DIY website solutions and well-funded creative agencies. If you want to attract new clientele for the purpose of selling more websites, you’ll need to advertise your work.
But wait, you’re a freelancer; how can you find the time to build amazing websites and write compelling ad copy? You don’t have to. Instead of using traditional forms of online advertisements, try marketing your work around the internet. When you are a solo shop, sometimes the simple act of putting yourself out there is one of the most effective strategies for freelancers looking to sell their services.
There are many ways to market your work. It can be as simple as listing your services on online marketplaces, or as involved as using social media to become a thought leader in your niche. You could teach web design classes or create websites pro-bono for exposure. How you get your name out there is entirely up to you, but just make sure you do it. Once people begin to know who you are, selling more websites will just happen naturally.
4. Partner with agencies
While no one should be afraid to sell a website, it is understandable that many people prefer not to. One way around this predicament is to partner with agencies that can sell your design services for you. When you do this, you still must sell your work, but you only have to sell it to the agency, and they handle it from there.
Partnering with agencies is one of the most effective strategies for freelancers that are focused on selling more websites and can work on multiple projects. This method frees up time for the designer to focus on what they are good at instead of negotiating new terms with clients or collecting payments. It also makes it easy to streamline processes, leaving plenty of time to focus on other projects or take on more work than you could on your own.
As a freelance web designer, you can partner with a wide variety of agencies including internet marketing firms and creative agencies. You can also subcontract to larger web design firms if they work with customers you are not interested in working with personally (such as corporate clients when you focus on small businesses). Subcontracting with agencies is one of the easiest ways freelancers can quickly start selling more websites and maintain a steady stream of work.
5. Create website themes
If you are lucky enough to partner with agencies, you will find that much of the work will be repetitive. This is actually a good thing because it will likely force you to create themes (if you haven’t already). What many don’t realize, however, is that website themes aren’t just timesavers; they are also a great marketing tool.
One of the lesser-known marketing strategies for freelancers is promoting your work by selling website themes on online marketplaces. These themes are purchased by agencies, web designers, and individuals who are looking for a simple way to create professional websites without all the coding. When freelancers develop themes and sell them, they not only make a little money whenever their design is purchased (if they charge) they also establish their expertise as a website developer.
Sharing the themes that you no longer use is an easy way to show off your skills without trying. You help anyone who purchases them, and you also make it easy for them to return for custom work.
6. Focus on your website
Even if you use marketplaces to sell your work, there is no reason to neglect your website. A well-designed site is one of the most straightforward strategies for freelancers that do not want to spend any extra effort on marketing.
Even though your website is likely your primary marketing tool, in its purest form, it is still a portfolio piece. It alone can be the most gratifying way to master selling more websites, because you can focus on what you are good at – making websites. If selling makes you anxious, hire a copywriter to help plan the content, then let your work speak for itself. You’ll still need to do some form of marketing, but chances are you’ll spend a lot less time selling.
7. Sell the solution, not the design
Perhaps the hardest part of selling websites is remembering that you are not selling websites. You are selling solutions. If you create e-commerce sites, you are creating storefronts for people to buy the products they need. If you build websites for local businesses, you are creating marketing tools to help them gain more customers. If you design blog and magazines sites, you are developing publications so that people can consume information.
While the design is likely what closes the deal, it is the solution that brings them to the table. That is why it is crucial, from the website planning stage to the negotiation phase, to keep the solution in mind. Always show how your website will help solve the customer’s problems. Always approach potential customers with the desire to help – not sell. There are many strategies for freelancers that want to sell anything online, but in the end, the ones that put the needs of their customers first, are the ones that keep customers coming back for more.
Written By Jenn Marie
Jenn Marie is a freelance copy writer and internet marketing strategist based out of the Seattle area. A true tech evangelist, Jenn previously helped individuals utilize the full potential of Dell, Microsoft and Amazon products. She now focuses on building authentic online presences for small businesses and entrepreneurs through her company, Jenn Marie Writing & Marketing. Find her on LinkedIn