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Marketing A Web Design Business

Q:Long time reader, first time poster. I have started a web design business on the side, thus far I've been working mostly locally and by word of mouth, but as I am running out of friends in need I'm looking to do some advertising. I think my marketing background is something that sets me apart from most designers and am trying to take that approach. Obviously, my budget is limited but I was curious to see if anyone has much success marketing a design business and what did you find to work the best, online or off? Currently I'm doing some things with Adwords and getting a few nibbles.

A:I've found my best work comes from referrals. When I started I jump started my referrals by building non-profit sites free. That gave me access to the board of the non-profits, who are usually business people. I can't remember a non-profit site that didn't bring in atleast one paying customer. Oh, and yeah, building non-profit sites free makes me a better person. Best Ad outlets for a web design business? Good question. The short answer is benchmark a shooting star in your arena and find his one mistake. The long answer is as or more important.... How about letting the advertising serve to support a decision, to use YOUR company, that is already in play from a personal interaction? The thing I see is more people throwing their hats in the ring of being designers, driving up competition and driving down price. So you have to specialize... and this takes you to your niche. So... Where does the rubber meet the road with your having a marketing background? If it means you can write copy to beat the band... show me the stats and show me the money. (Research or something to hang my hat on). Or if it means that you can rewrite my marketing plan as part of your package, show me the effects of THAT to my bank account also.. with real proof that my wife (or CEO) and I will understand in a five minute jury, tops. And... Can you qualify and quantify that to me with a free consultation including spreadsheets left for me to show my CFO partner, Bookkeeping wife, or vertical stakeholders? What can you do for me that I will feel within the next 30 days, that you can prove, and that I can't easily find anywhere else?. I think that this is where the dialogue begins between you and your market, and that the advertising question comes only after all of this is resolved. That question... WHERE to place ads... is TOTALLY dependent upon these other issues, unless you're just looking to throw up a few sites and make some quick mullah, and that's about it. If you want sustainability... then the question does not start with advertising, and I'm using 'advertising' in the literal sense. It's all about Niche, Niche, and Niche again. BTW, Lower prices is NOT a niche, fast turn around is NOT a niche, Fast loading websites is NOT a niche, ability to talk marketing speak 202 is not a niche, and having your web tricks and scripts in a row and talking techie is not a niche, so be careful.

Discuss It!

Sophia said:

I have the same problem as you! That is why, I am so happy that I ended up on this website. The answer was very insightful. Now I know what should I try to do and how can I enlarge my client base. Thank you!

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Fast loading websites is NOT a niche, ability to talk marketing speak 202 is not a niche, and having your web tricks and scripts in a row and talking techie is not a niche, so be careful.

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I know how difficult Marketing A web design Business could become. I know that as I myself used to do the same earlier. Although these pieces of advice could certainly allow me to become much more efficient.

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