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7 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Web Design Clients

Many freelancers are often faced with the challenge of finding new clients. With so many designers and agencies out there competing for work, the process of landing new clients can be frustrating if you are having a difficult time.Obviously, being able to get new clients on board is a big part of being able to survive and thrive as a freelance designer. However, the focus on new clients sometimes leads to overlooking the opportunities that already exist with your current clients.In this article we’ll look at the subject of increasing the value of your current web design clients rather than focusing on finding new ones. If you’re able to increase the amount of money that you are making from your current clients you will be able to reduce the dependency on constantly bringing in new clients.There are a few reasons why this is a productive way to look at the challenge of increasing, or stabilizing, your income as a freelancer. First, it’s typically easier to sell to those people who have already hired you and trust you. If they are happy with your services all you really need to do is find another way that you can help them in addition to the work you’ve already done.Second, it can save you a lot of time. Landing new clients requires a lot of leg work to develop quotes and proposals, and that client could easily wind up going with another designer. Selling to existing clients will cut out some of that wasted time because you will already be familiar with each other, and your conversion rates will likely be higher because existing clients are less prone to shop around with several different service providers.So if you are looking for ways to increase the value of your own clients, here are a few suggestions.1. Offer On-Going MaintenanceIf the bulk of your income is generated by designing new websites or re-designing existing sites, one of the easiest ways to get more value out of your clients is to offer on-going services to help the client maintain the site or make changes and updates. Even with modern content management systems that allow anyone to update a website without touching any code, many businesses find that they still have a need for a designer or developer to be available. In some cases it may be a small business and the changes or updates are something they could do on their own if they had more staff, but it’s just more convenient and cost effective for them to hire someone else (you) to take care of it. In other cases the work may be outside of the what the client could do on their own with a CMS.The on-going work may not even be directly related to the website that you designed. For example, maybe the client needs help putting together an email newsletter each month. Or maybe they need a designer to create flyers and print materials for their marketing efforts on a regular basis. Regardless of the details, most of your web design clients could benefit from some type of on-going services that you could provide. The key is simply communicating with the client to find their needs, and then proposing a solution that would allow you to help.2. Offer Additional ServicesIf your primary service is web design and you’re looking to increase your income from the average client, adding new services is a great way to help clients and to bring in more money. Not all of your clients will have the same needs, but the vast majority of them will be in need of some other service that you could provide. Possibilities could include logo design, print design (brochures, flyers, business cards, letterhead), search engine optimization, social media marketing, content development, and more.Not every possible service is going to be something that you are interested in offering or something that you are experienced with, but there are probably at least a few possibilities for you. Since almost all of your clients will have a need for some additional services, adding income in this way is not very difficult. And it’s also a huge benefit to your clients because it saves them the trouble of going out and finding someone to provide those services. Plus, it’s more convenient for them to deal with your for multiple types of work rather than working with 2 or 3 different service providers.If you’re not sure where to get started, first look at your own experience. What other services would you feel comfortable offering? If you don’t have experience in a particular area, is it something that you could learn fairly quickly. Next, look at the needs of your typical clients. Do you notice many clients that are hiring other people to do the same services? For example, if half of your clients are also hiring someone to manage their social media presence, maybe this is a service that you could develop for yourself.3. Pursue Projects More ActivelyGoing along with the previous point about adding additional services, if there are other services that you offer, don’t sit back and wait for clients to approach you about those services. Instead, take a proactive approach to identify potential areas of need for your clients and put together a proposal. For example, if you have a web design client that you have been working with and you notice that their printed materials could use some attention, talk to them about the possibility of doing that design work for them as well. Maybe they need new business cards and stationery. That could be extra work for you and it could be a great help to them.Almost every web design client that you work with will have other needs. You’ll just need to identify them and find a way to help. If you have been working with a client for a while and they are happy with your work, why not approach them about taking another step and adding more to your responsibilities?4. Partner with Other ProvidersOffering additional services isn’t the only way to help your clients and to increase their value to you. Not every service a client needs will be something that you are interested in providing. For those services that your clients frequently need that you do not provide yourself, why not find a provider that can become a partner? For example, maybe your clients frequently need help with writing and distributing press releases, but this is not something that you can offer. You could find a qualified professional who would be happy to help your clients in this way, and you could negotiate a referral fee for the clients that you send to them.As long as the provider that you partner with does a good job for your clients, this will be a good situation for everyone involved. The client will get a great service without needing to dedicate a lot of time to finding the right provider, your new partner will get more business, and you’ll get a referral fee for simply helping out in this way. Of course, you’ll want to be very careful to only recommend someone who will do a great job for your clients because your reputation is on the line any time you recommend them.5. Offer Re-Seller Hosting or Use a Private Label CMSEvery website needs a host. Unless your clients are hosting their own website, every one of them will need to pay someone to host the site for them. Re-seller hosting accounts make it possible for you to offer hosting to your clients and to make some extra money from it. Re-seller accounts are fairly inexpensive to purchase and you then set the prices that you’ll charge your clients. If you have a decent number of clients on your re-seller hosting account you can bring in some significant income each month. The downside of being a hosting re-seller is that you will typically have to provide some support, which means it may or may not be worth your time.If re-seller hosting isn’t for you, another option is a hosted CMS that can be private labeled. An example is LightCMS, which is targeted towards designers who want to be able to re-brand the CMS as their own. This means that your clients would see your own branding when they login to the CMS and they wouldn’t even have to know that it was a re-branded version. You would also be able to make money each month off of the monthly hosting fees, which can add up as you get more clients on the platform.6. Increase Your PricesOne of the most basic ways to increase the value of your clients is to raise your prices. Designers often get stuck in the rut of charging the same rate without evaluating how long it has been since they increased the rate, and how their current rates compare to others in the industry. It’s not uncommon for rates to increase slightly every year or every two years.Of course, there are some risks of losing clients so be careful how you go about increasing prices for your existing clients. The best way to start and to test the new rate is to start with increasing the rates on proposals to new clients. If you see that you’re still able to land new clients at the higher rates, take a look at what you are charging your on-going clients and see if there is a possibility to increase that as well. If you have a contract with the client you will need to honor the details of the contract, but when that time is over you can consider increasing your rates.7. Get ReferralsReferrals are the critical for many freelancers, and if you’re not already making it a priority to get referrals from your clients, this is one more way that you can increase the value of those clients. While you may not be adding a new service or bringing in more money directly from the client, qualified referrals certainly have value as well. Referrals typically convert to clients at a much higher rate than other types of leads, so by getting more referrals you could wind up saving yourself a lot of time.Make sure that you ask your clients for referrals every now and then. Good times to ask for referrals include: 1) towards the beginning of the project when you are getting started and the client is especially excited about moving forward with the project, 2) at completion of the project when the client sees your work going live, and 3) any time the client sees results or improvements to their business as a result of your work, and 4) periodically as you are working with the client on an on-going basis (maybe twice per year).In effort to help the client to think of people to refer it is best to be specific rather than to simply ask for referrals. You could give them a little bit of detail about the type of clients that you typically work with or provide them with some details that may help to bring someone to mind. For example, you could say that you typically work with small businesses that currently have no web presence or that need to get more out of their existing web presence. You could say that you work with a lot of businesses in the local area, but also with businesses throughout the U.S. You could even specify that you are looking for clients in a specific industry. Whatever details you can provide may help to bring someone to the mind of your client.Conclusion:While new clients will always be important to freelance designers, there are great opportunities available to get more value out of the clients that you already have. Many freelancers overlook these possibilities, but by putting some of these tips into action you can get more value out of your clients and decrease your need to constantly find new clients. Authors: Vandelay Website Design

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