What A Potential Client Doesn't Know CAN Hurt You

Many potential clients out there don’t know a thing about the web or about marketing in it. They may know they have a good product, but they don’t know how to get that across to their target audiences. I’ve found that the less a client knows about the web, the harder it is to sell them what they need. Think about it: the client or agency who comes to you knowing exactly what they need, are normally fast sales right? They know what they want and they know you can provide it. So what about clients who don’t know about the web and how can it hurt your business?

1) My business doesn’t need a website.

Many small or local business still don’t believe in the power of the web. They think that because their business is small or in some tiny rural town, they don’t need to go “global”. What these businesses fail to realize, is that they can reach a lot more of their local audience through the web. Even a business as obscure as say, a local farmer could definitely benefit from a website. While they may not need all the bells and whistles of a modern website today, even a small 3 page website can bring in more business. How? Google of course. When I’m looking for something local what do I do? I search on Google and if the competitor’s website is online, but theirs isn’t, guess who’s business we’re going to? Good examples are flea markets, food stands, local restaurants and more. Your potential client can be missing on on good search keywords and therefor, more busienss.

2) My daughter’s son’s best friend’s dad’s nephew’s 13 year old cousin is going to build me a website.

Perhaps they can. But will it be a good website? That’s why we are professionals isn’t it? This is one of the biggest letdowns we, as web professionals, can hear. How do we try to steer a potential client away from this? We need to clearly lay out WHY we are different from their daughter’s son’s best friend’s dad’s nephew’s 13 year old cousin. Here are a few key points:

  • Do they know proper coding techniques and that these techniques can better your chances at higher rankings?
  • Did you know a professional website increases your visibility in your marketplace, while also making your business appear modern, professional and approachable?
  • Did you know that every $1 spent on the web, normally returns $5?
  • Did you know your competitor, X has a website they spent $XX,XXX on, and that their revenues have grown X% (this takes some market research to find out) OR:
  • Did you know I did a similar campaign for X company in X town and their revenues increased by X%?

It’s important to lay out facts to our potential clients. We can tell them why a pretty design and coding is important, but many won’t see why this will affect their business directly.

3) I have zero budget for any marketing at all

Then you should also be prepared to have zero sales. While you can’t tell your potential client that, unfortunately, you can direct them to that conclusion. During a recession, many business actually cut-back on advertising and marketing, when it should be the time they spent more. Recently McDonalds made a HUGE profit. Because they’re food is great? Not necessarily. They beefed up their marketing budget, lowered their prices and BAM…they beat the competition. A recession is a good time to market your company, as advertising also tend to be cheaper; and as most companies are pulling the plug in their advertising, that means less competitions for your client’s business. Show them some numbers of companies who spent money in advertising. Find some articles that show the more money you spend in advertising, the quicker and more money is returned. Teach them that target advertising can make or break their company.

4) How much do websites cost anyways?

This is the biggest thing a client can not know that can hurt you. Many are under the impression that either: a website costs only $500 OR a website will cost them over $10,000 or some exorbitant number. While this all depends on what features they are asking for, I generally charge about $2,500 for a basic design and HTML/CSS coding for a simple 5 page website. I would advise not to pay much less than that, as they then run the risk of getting a designer with little or no experience in the web world, and then they run the risk of #2. Probably 99% of your non-agency clients have no clue how much work goes into a website. So it’s our job to explain the hours and work that you’ll have to do to get them what they need:

Instead of saying:

  • $2500 for a website –  Say: $2500 for a design mockup with 15 hours of work total, plus 20 hours of XHTML/CSS coding that comes with SEO friendly code, validated for good practices and rankings and 10 hours of support and admin time and 5 hours to set up website on hosting with email and domain setups. Or whatever your hourly rate is.
  • $1500 to add on a CMS – Say $1500 for 15 hours of programming to create a custom CMS that will tie to all your content areas and allow you to update these (with audio and video uploads) yourself.

While this doesn’t always guarantee a client will get it (one once told me all I had to do was copy and paste….ha!) It will at least get across that you just don’t wave your magic mouse wand and a wonderful workable website will appear.

Just remember, it’s our job to sell what the client needs, not what we want them to need; as it is also our job to teach our clients WHY they need it.