Are you restlessly pacing around your house racking your brain about how to get web design clients fast? We get it. After all, the web design industry is a $40 bn industry with a 5.8% annual growth rate.
That’s why you need to do everything possible to step up your game and not fall behind your competition. This article is here to help you do just that. We’ve compiled a list of 4 ultimate hacks to get clients really fast and maximize your revenue.
So, make sure to take a look – your agency’s survival and growth depend on it!
- Level up your client acquisition strategy in 3 simple steps
- Go viral!
- YouTube marketing done right
- You gotta network to get work
1. Level up your client acquisition strategy in 3 simple steps
Client acquisition can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 3 very simple and very doable steps that’ll ensure higher conversion rates.
Know how to find potential clients
So, you have an agency but not enough clients, what’s the first thing you do? Consult Google, right?
And that’s exactly what we recommend. There’s no need to make it more complicated than it has to be.
- So here’s your first step:
Just enter the following in Google search: site:linkedin.com/company/ “agency,” and just like that, an endless list of agencies’ LinkedIn pages will show up. (BTW, feel free to change the search keyword to any other type of business.)
- Next, start selecting.
Contacting businesses with flawless website design will only lead to rejection, so be selective. You do this by quickly screening the companies’ websites, looking for the ones with obvious shortcomings that you can help resolve. Only this way you’ll have a realistic chance at conversion.
You’ve managed to find some websites that you can help optimize through your services? Great!
- Now, make a list and do some digging.
Once you’ve gathered all businesses which you think have shortcomings in their web design and could benefit from your services in one list, it’s time to study these companies’ social media presence more closely. That way you’ll get a sense of what your prospects like or dislike, allowing for a much smoother approach.
From here you can easily reach out to your carefully selected prospects.
Know what value you can bring to your clients
Now that you know how to find the right clients, it’s time to pay attention to another key component of getting web design clients fast, namely showing off your expertise.
Your web design services may be top-notch but businesses won’t make use of them unless you offer them the ultimate reason for spending their hard-earned money on your services.
- Tip #1: Don’t let that reason be your agency’s low prices.
Following the logic that the lowest prices attract the most clients, some agencies focus on getting more clients through low prices rather than high value.
This approach is very short-sighted. Yes, it can lead to temporary success. But, ultimately, the time will come when you lose your advantage to those who offer even lower prices than you. Easy come, easy go, right?
- Tip #2: Qualify your agency’s services by showing off your unique assets.
Now, this one may be the most fun part of the client acquisition process. “Why,” you ask. Because you get to do what you do best: show off your skills!
For web design agencies in particular we suggest you express your creative genius through design banners, GIFs or videos. You have the power of visual presentation, so use it! It’s the perfect way to leave a lasting impression on your prospects.
This is all well and good, but you’re probably more excited to learn the ultimate way to approach your targets that’ll guarantee fast results. Well, if that’s what you want then that’s what you shall receive.
The art of emailing: How to leave them wanting more
Now that we’ve taken a look at the preparation process let’s shift our focus to your first move, which we all know can be a maker or a breaker.
There are multiple communication channels you can use to reach out to your leads. You can do this via different social media channels or via email, whichever one you feel works best for you.
In this article, we’ll focus more on the good ol’ email and take a look at how you can best approach your clients to generate fast wins.
Prepare templates that tell a good story. Start with a placeholder for an introductory sentence. We recommend starting your emails with a polite “thank you” to your reader for taking the time.
Follow this up with a strong hook to capture your reader’s attention through counterintuitive or revolutionary statements. There’s a bunch of ways to do this. You can take something that’s currently trending and put your spin on it. Alternatively, you can highlight a certain phenomenon from a rather unexplored and counterintuitive perspective. The point is, you need to make your reader understand why your content matters.
If you’ve done this successfully, it’s time to introduce your agency through the lens of your prospect’s business. Basically, avoid saying “we offer this” and “we offer that.” Instead, try something like “our agency specializes in [enter type of agency] which we’ve noticed you might need for your business based on a recent publication that you released.” For this part, the research you’ve done in the first step about the social media presence of your prospects will come in handy!
Next, pitch your service by highlighting the connection between your service and the prospect’s needs. What is your prospect’s pain point and how can your service help?
Finally, end the email with a simple thank you and a CTA that’s not too desperate for attention. Keep in mind that you’re trying to find out whether your prospect is interested in your services and, if you’re lucky enough, to spark their interest. So, there’s no need to scare them with talks about pricing and the like. Sometimes a simple question such as “Would you like to know more about our services?” works wonders. See? Not scary or pushy at all.
Having a template is a must for saving time, but that doesn’t mean they’re set in stone. Take the time to adjust each template to the respective client category. This means that you need to personalize on multiple levels.
It all starts with being on a first-name basis with your clients. Make sure to get rid of all that social distance that we have too much of these days.
Does your agency offer different services? If yes, this means that you’re dealing with different types of clients with different needs and pain points. Make sure to segment your clients and create buyer personas for each segment. That way you can develop different strategies catering to the different preferences of your prospects.
Besides adjusting your templates according to different buyer personas, you can also adjust your hook to include current events, such as COVID or the holidays. You can easily use this as a way to start a discussion or you can use it as an “excuse” for reaching out to your prospect, to begin with.
Also, remember that research you did about the social media channels of your prospects? (We know we can’t stop referring to it – it’s annoying us, too!) You should use it to include things which you know your prospect likes. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it will help you establish an emotional connection.
And then there’s visual content (memes, GIFs, etc.). This one is a perfect way to reach out to prospects, especially for web designers. It humanizes your outreach effort more, makes it less sales-driven, and more fun. Just remember to keep it light!
Here’s an email template that we’ve stumbled across recently. It stuck with us because it’s so simple and effortless.
Subject line: Love your LinkedIn Post
Was reading one of your recent LinkedIn posts about #growth, and I loved it 😍
I saw an opportunity for you to boost your LinkedIn posts.
Check it below 👇
Ping me at any time if you’re interested in boosting your LinkedIn content.
Of course, it doesn’t check all our above-mentioned boxes, but it doesn’t really have to. We’re here to provide an overall guide, you should always feel free to make your own.
Another thing that we’d like you to do is track your email open rates. Say, for example, you send out an email campaign to 100 prospects and only 50 of them actually open the email. This leaves you with half of your recipients not receiving your content. Now that’s just no good if you ask us! That’s why you should select those who have managed to resist the charm of your email campaign and send them an email with the same content as the first one. But this time use a new subject line.
Why is this such a genius move? Well, for one, you get to retarget prospects thereby potentially increasing your chances of higher open rates. Secondly, by using a new subject line you don’t give the impression that you’re spamming your prospects. Thirdly, you get to test out different subject lines and see which ones work best.
Just make sure to wait for about 48 hours after you’ve sent the first round of emails and then start the second round.
- Subject lines:
The subject line is the first thing your email recipient will look at. Based on that he or she will decide whether your email is worth reading. If you use bad subject lines you’ll end up with unopened mails rather often. And what happens to emails that aren’t opened? That’s right, they go straight to email hell, aka spam.
In fact, about 69% of recipients decide whether to report an email as spam based on the subject line.
So, let’s take a look at what you can do to save your emails from eternal damnation.
1) Keep it short and sweet. We suggest you make sure that your subject line is somewhere between 4-7 words (40-50 characters). Here you also have to take into account that your recipients might read their emails on their smartphones. So make sure that your subject line is visible even on mobile devices. You can do this by using the following tool. A great example for keeping it short is this subject line: “Baby I’m back!” It’s from a designer boutique alerting their subscribers about their favorite pieces being back in stock.
2) Keep it simple. The language you use for your subject line should be informal. If it’s too formal or too eloquent it might come across as stand-offish. At the same time, don’t get too familiar by using all caps and hitting your recipients with an emoji overload (never use more than one emoji at a time).
3) Create a fear of missing out (FOMO). You can do this by adding urgency to your email through a time limit. What we really love are the “LAST CALL/CHANCE” subject lines (e.g. “LAST CHANCE to get free banners). Or you can specify how much time your recipients have left to benefit from a discount. For instance, according to Mailchimp the subject line “January flash sale!” had an open rate of 72.7.
For more detailed insights and free email pitch examples take a look at this article.
Now, having discussed how to prepare the perfect email outreach, let’s take a look at which software you can use to make your life easier and spare your valuable time.
We, at 10Web, use lemlist for exactly this purpose. It has a lot of features that’ll allow you to apply all the before-mentioned points. This tool offers ready-to-use cold email templates, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own templates, too. The available templates cover the most important categories such as sales emails, follow-ups, backlink generation emails, and much more.
Lemlist also leaves room for personalizing emails and at the same time can reach prospects en masse. This is made even simpler through the fact that a lot of tools, such as salesforce, LinkedIn, or Slack, are easily integrated with lemlist. Meaning, you can easily connect contact information between different platforms and accelerate your outreach process.
What’s awesome about lemlist is that they offer a 14-day free trial, no credit card required. So, you can check it out without any commitment and decide whether it’s worth spending money on. The prices for this tool start at $29 per month for the Silver edition and can reach up to $99 for the Platinum edition.
2. Go viral!
To go viral means to get something to spread very widely very fast. In other words, if you produce content that gets 100k views over 2 years, it’s not considered viral. Get the same result within 4 hours and you’ve hit the jackpot.
But why should you go viral in the first place? Easy. Brand awareness. You want to get your brand name in front of as many people as possible and as organically as possible. That’s what viral marketing will help you achieve in a matter of hours – your content will get distributed through social media users that don’t necessarily belong to your clients or aren’t necessarily from your field of business. This makes it more authentic and explains its success.
Nowadays, somewhere between Instagram stories and TikTok challenges, going viral has become ordinary. If non-celebrities manage to go viral every day, why can’t you?
There are, of course, different ways to achieve social media-level fame. But here are some of the main channels web design agencies can use to have their share of limelight by creating viral visual campaigns.
For your visual content to go viral, as with anything else in marketing, you need to reach the right people. Do you remember that infamous Dove commercial featuring women of different sizes and different ethnic backgrounds? Wasn’t it just the perfect way to stand out from their competition, by not showcasing perfect-looking size zero models?
It’s ingenious if you think about it. Other brands use models to advertise their products, but that’s not what most women look like. Dove, in contrast, targeted “real” women, differences and imperfections included. Ultimately, it allowed them to grab the attention of the majority of women, which made the ad go viral.
Once you’ve chosen the right target, you need to strike the right emotional chords. Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions is a great guide. According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, positive emotions achieve better results than negative ones unless they’re able to rouse anticipation and surprise. The survey showed that the following emotions seemed to be commonly represented in viral content:
You increase your chances of going viral if you connect those emotions to a message dedicated to the public good. A good example is the campaign of the Metro Trains rail service in Australia, called “Dumb Ways to Die.” The video itself is very light and funny with a very sobering message that raises awareness of the fragility of life. As of today, almost 200 million people have viewed the video because of this genius clash of emotions.
Another thing to consider is that your visual content needs to be valuable enough for people to share it. The more useful your visual, the higher the likelihood of it going viral. A good way to ensure this is to make it actionable. A perfect execution of this is Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, which has been shared and used for several different purposes. Why? Because it sends a very clear, precise, and motivating message.
Now if you have no clue where to start, here are some creative examples to give your imagination a kick.
As a web design agency, you need to have really unique banners to stand out. Remember what we said earlier? In order for your banner to go viral, a) your viewers need to connect emotionally and b) your message should be shareable.
This Nike banner is the perfect example. It keeps it short and to the point, making a pun out of the expression “meet your soulmate,” which is something that’ll stick to everybody’s minds because it’s so commonly used. The cleverness of the pun also makes the content of the image fun, encouraging people who have purchased these pairs of shoes to post about it adding this hashtag.
Of course, we all remember the “FIRST KISS” viral video. If not, you have to check it out. It’s an absolute must. The video went viral back in 2014 and has had 146,960,330 views ever since. The video description says, “We asked twenty strangers to kiss for the first time…” Pretty bold and intriguing if you ask us!
Why have we chosen this specific example? Because Wren, the company that had created the video, was a small clothing brand that was unknown in the fashion world and had limited resources. They were basically outsiders. Despite their shortcomings and huge competition, the brand managed to make a name for itself through one of the most successful marketing campaigns of that year. What does this show us? That people like emotional content.
Melissa Coker, the founder and creative director of Wren disclosed that the video resulted in a 14,000% traffic increase and a 13,600% sales increase in the online store. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?
Perhaps you can already predict why we picked this GIF ad as an example. Exactly, it’s an online store that sells sandals. The GIF says “Let it Slide” in the middle and is surrounded by sliding sandals.
It’s great because “let it slide” is an expression that means that you should let something go without any repercussions. The message is laid back, has a double meaning, and is thus shareable. Plus, it’s colorful and fun, which makes it easy on the eyes.
3. YouTube marketing done right
A great way to get web design clients fast is to have a YouTube marketing strategy. That’s why we recommend you start your own YouTube channel.
At first glance, this tip may not sound groundbreaking at all. But the fact is that YouTube is the second largest search engine. Think about it. What do you do when you want to purchase a new product or service and need a tutorial or a review? That’s right, you head over to YouTube and look for the needed information there instead of reading larger-than-life articles.
And the most awesome thing about this technique is that it’s still untapped by a large majority of businesses, because they fear that it takes up too much of their time and resources. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be like that. For example, you don’t need a studio or a fancy camera. The thing about video marketing nowadays is that it should be as authentic as possible. Basically, you could just take your phone and start filming. Nothing’s stopping you!
This is great news for you because it gives you the chance to outdo your competitors. Especially if you compare your chances to land on the top of the results page on Google, you’ll agree that YouTube is a more efficient target.
Be that as it may, YouTube is still a search engine, meaning that it has its own algorithm to determine which videos land on the first page. That’s why you need to make sure that your videos are always optimized according to those standards.
Without delving too deeply into the details of YouTube SEO rules, here are some things you should look out for:
- Video title: Just like with Google, you have to do thorough keyword research. Once you find a strong keyword that you also have a chance to rank for, make sure to include it in your title. Check out Google Trends and Google Ads’ Keyword Planner to see if there are any popular keywords that you can put into your title. But whatever you do, don’t ever clickbait. Trust us, it’ll end up causing more harm than good. Also, make the length of your title less than 60 characters. Titles that have 20-40 characters seem to be performing best.
- Thumbnails: When you search for something on YouTube what besides the title decides whether the video is worth watching? The thumbnail, of course. For your thumbnail to effectively capture users’ attention, you need to make sure that it corresponds to your title. Additionally, your thumbnail has to create some sort of suspense to be intriguing for visitors. For that you can, for example, show a preview of the outcome of your video’s content or a before and after image to lure your audience into watching the video. And remember, your thumbnail has to have a high resolution (max 2MB), while your specs have to be 1280 x 720 (16:9).
- Video description: YouTube allows for a description of max 5000 characters and 15 hashtags, of which the first 300 characters (more or less 3 lines) are displayed under the video, while others are hidden under the “Show More” button. Just like with any other content, you have to optimize it by researching the right keyword (and keyword frequency) and hashtags (here are the YouTube hashtag rules) that need to be included. Based on research and our own experience, we highly recommend you include your keyword in the first 25 words. The overall length of your description should be about 300-350 words with a keyword frequency of 2-4. A keyword density of 3- 4% is said to be the sweet spot. Don’t forget that you can include links in this description, so you have the opportunity to redirect your viewers to your website or to your social media channels. Use these opportunities wisely!
- CTAs: To achieve fast results, you have to call your viewers to action. You can do so with cards, end screens, bumper ads, and watermarks. Cards are see-through CTAs and enlarge once clicked. You’re allowed to use up to five of those. End screens are frames that you can add in the last 5-20 seconds of your video. You’re allowed to use 4, which can redirect viewers to similar videos. Bumper ads can be included in the beginning or the end of your video and are video ads that last for 6 seconds and can’t be skipped by viewers. Finally, watermarks appear only for viewers who haven’t yet subscribed to your channel. It’s a custom subscribe button to encourage them to follow you. 48% of brands match their CTA to a color within their brand logo.
- Tags: Tags allow YouTube’s algorithm to capture your video content and rank it. Here, the first few tags have top priority. So make sure to make your first tag your keyword and then add other keywords sorted by importance. Make sure you use a mixture of broader keywords for YouTube to know the context of your video and more specific ones so that your content becomes clear.
We, at 10Web, have been running our very own YouTube channel for a while now and are here to share with you our strategy for success.
The first thing you have to ask yourself is who you want your audience to be. Based on that, you can easily work out a content strategy. We, at 10Web, for example, provide managed WordPress hosting services that freelancers, agencies, and small business owners benefit from immensely. Consequently, we made the decision to put the focus of our video strategy on agencies because a) they represent a great part of our customers and b) our services are optimized for their needs.
But the choice of agency-specific content isn’t the only reason for the success of our YouTube channel.
At 10Web, we release at least 3 videos per month. Here frequency and consistency are key. If somebody subscribes to a YouTube channel and then realizes that it’s a dead channel, they’ll unsubscribe faster than you can say “please don’t leave.”
After some trial and error we have also come to realize that it’s best to have the following types of content to have a successful video strategy:
- Informative content: We like to start off every month with an informative video. It’s a great way to catch the attention of your targeted audience because you’re providing them the exact information they’re looking for. These videos can either discuss your own services and give your audience some insights into how to make use of them or they can simply answer frequently asked questions in the field of web design.
- Entertaining content: After getting the attention of your audience through valuable information, you have to make sure to keep them engaged. A user might have stumbled upon your site because he or she needed help with a problem. But once that problem is solved they most likely won’t feel like they need you. That’s why you need to diversify your content and make it interesting enough to follow.
- Trendy content: We dedicate the last vid of every month to new trends. By discussing important updates and developments within your industry you’re still feeding your audience with information. The difference this time is that it’s information that they didn’t even know they needed. This will increase your value in the eyes of users because they’ll start relying on you to keep them up-to-date.
Once all of this is done, you have the amazing opportunity to analyze your performance and optimize it even more. YouTube Analytics allows you to track your performance. More specifically, you should pay attention to the age demographic of your audience, your subscription number, the location of viewers, and from which device your visitors are viewing your videos.
Another option is to use the YouTube Community Tab. This helps your agency engage with users outside of the context of your published videos. You can use polls to enhance engagement and ask the community which type of content they’re interested in. But the polls don’t have to be about your video channel, it can be more effortless and fun polls to get the conversation going.
You can also use the community to pre-promote upcoming videos or promote older ones. But you should make sure to not overdo it. Another alternative is to post exclusive content, giving people a reason to follow your updates. There’s an endless list of possibilities.
4. You gotta network to get work
Everything in life is give and take. At least that’s how it should be. And the same goes for the vast and colorful world of agencies. That’s why you need strong partnerships with connected businesses that can outsource certain parts of their workflow to your agency and in return deliver clients to you.
One type of strategic partnership is between agencies and software vendors. A great example of this is the partnership between the agency GetUWired and Infusionsoft, which the agency swears has rapidly increased the agency’s growth. The key to this partnership is that GetUWired partnered up with the software provider very early on when Infusionsoft was just starting out. Since then, GetUWired has been sending clients to Infusionsoft and vice versa.
Another way to go is to partner up with an influencer. So, for web design agencies it’s best to cooperate with an influencer within their field, perhaps an author writing about website design. This way you’ll get referrals to your services while the author gets something in return (e.g. a percentage of the revenue gained for projects they referred to). An influencer can come in different shapes and forms. They can be another business’s CEO, well-connected people, podcast owners, online tutors, etc. You don’t have to confine yourself to authors.
But how can you find the right agencies to work with? The easiest and fastest way to do this is by interrogating your clients about what other agencies they’re working with and for what. It’s important that your questions are precise enough to allow you to figure out who the decision-maker of the other agency is so that you know who you have to reach out to. You also have to be mindful of potential competitive clashes and understand if they could potentially hinder a constructive partnership. So, basically, figure out who else is serving your clients but isn’t your direct competitor.
To give some examples, as a web design agency you could partner up with PR firms, content agencies, web development or branding agencies.
There are many ways you can partner up with these agencies. Besides finding agencies your clients work with, you can go the other way and refer your clients to other agencies in exchange for a fee.
Alternatively, you can white label services. White labeling means that an agency includes services of another agency or business in their own portfolio and sells them to their clients under their own brand without having to do the actual work. It’s a win-win for both parties involved. While one gets higher sales, the other gets percentages.
Now that you know your possibilities, let’s take a look at how to build your partnerships best.
- Know your target. This is something that we can’t decide for you, but you can use the above-mentioned points as a starting point or inspiration.
- Understand the essence of this partnership. You need to be fully aware of what added value you can bring to the section of agencies/businesses you want to partner up with. This also means that you have to pitch your services and explain why they’re good enough to refer.
- Don’t try to sell your partnership. Other agencies and businesses are fluent in sales pitches and most likely won’t appreciate being sold to. Instead, try to be as direct and authentic as possible with your outreach. You can use conferences and other online events to create new connections. This will make the partnership seem more natural.
- Strengthen your established partnerships. Besides making sure that you deliver on your promises, you should also try to make the partnership with you stand out. You can do so by generously rewarding your partner agency when it delivers top-notch results. This will lead to an increased appreciation for the collaboration with your agency because it shows that you not only appreciate their efforts but are willing to award them accordingly.
Now that we’ve shared with you our tips on how to get web design clients fast, let us know which one do you think is most effective. And do you think it’s feasible for your company to implement it?
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