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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Web Designers - what has worked best for you to gain customers?

    Dear fellow Web Designers/Developers,

    I am very interested in techniques that have truely worked well for you in gaining customers on a regular basis.

    Some things I have tried:
    Online:
    Search engines, classifieds, safelists, writing articles
    Offlne:
    Cold calling, index cards

    Thank you in advance for your input!

    Herman Drost
    Herman Drost
    http://www.isitebuild.com
    Affordable Web Site Design
    and Web Site Hosting

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    send broshures to companies in your local area, especially those who have a website that isnt quite upto scratch... these sites are generally relatively easy, as it is just a redesign, and adding whatever the client likes

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast bstrawse's Avatar
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    Re: Web Designers - what has worked best for you to gain customers?

    Originally posted by vision2000
    Dear fellow Web Designers/Developers,

    I am very interested in techniques that have truely worked well for you in gaining customers on a regular basis.

    Some things I have tried:
    Online:
    Search engines, classifieds, safelists, writing articles
    Offlne:
    Cold calling, index cards

    Thank you in advance for your input!

    Herman Drost
    I get several inquires from our listings on guru.com and elance.com - if properly constructed, and you take the time to do up a nice portfolio for inclusion there, and seek out projects, you can do fairly well..

    Bryan

  4. #4
    busy Steelsun's Avatar
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    Best method I have found is through referrals from satisfieds clients and word of mouth.

    Also I like to do this:
    Donate your time and skills to do a web site for a non-profit, charity, or church. (You may also be able to use what you would have charged as a tax write off). This way you are helping the non profit and are getting a new site for your portfolio, and getting good connections. Think about who the main financial suporters of non-profits are: businessmen and the wealthy. They will see your 'selfless' work and may use you for their own businesses or whatever. Plus many non-profits will also list your company name and info in their newsletters, bulletins, programs, etc, which is great free advertising.
    Brian Poirier
    SunStockPhoto: Stock Photos, Fine Art Photos, Event Photography

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Thank you so much for your input!

    Still trying to get my business off the ground - so looking for the most consistent ways to gain customers.

    Best Wishes

    Herman Drost
    Herman Drost
    http://www.isitebuild.com
    Affordable Web Site Design
    and Web Site Hosting

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot Jason_Therrien's Avatar
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    Howdy Herman!

    With my experience, WORD OF MOUTH is king! People just trust word of mouth more than advertisements, in my opinion.

    Of course, in order to get word of mouth started, you need a decent client base and some incentives for those clients to share your name...

    GOOD LUCK!!

    Jason
    www.SmartWebBusiness.com
    Where "smart" businesses learn about the Web

  7. #7
    SitePoint Member
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    what works?

    Word of mouth is the ONLY thing working for me right now. I work very hard for my clients, above and beyond the call of duty wherever possible. I want them to tell their friends, and they do. I offer my clients 10% referral fees if they send me someone who signs a contract for a new or rehab site, but my clients aren't going to knock themselves out selling me for that referral fee. They'll be happy to receive it, but the fact that an edit to their site is done within minutes of the time they call is what makes them give my name to people. So many of my clients have had bad experiences in the past with designers who were unreliable and often untrustworthy, designers who registered their domain names in THEIR names instead of the client's, who charged them for a year of web hosting and then disappeared after 3 months, who accepted the only copies of their photos and never returned them, the list goes on. Earning the client's trust, surprising them with your efforts in their behalf, and showing you care about their needs and concerns means everything and will get you a long-term relationship AND great referrals.

    I bought some national magazine advertising this year. Lots of people saw my ad and filled out the form on my site, but not one of these contacts resulted in work. These folks seemed to hope that I'd send them an email telling them a web site would cost them $50. They didn't even return my calls. I only got to talk to the ones who happened to answer the phone and of them, some didn't even have a business yet and the others acted like I was bothering them even though they had filled out my form asking me to call them. What a waste!

    I invest quite a bit of time in the search engines and also listing my site on women in business sites, etc. I feel like it has to be done, but again, I get hits but no work. I've also worked hard on my guru.com profile, bid on jobs, and got nowhere.

    I did a free site for a friend of a friend who was starting a new business. It was an ecommerce site and I worked very long hours on it. She was delighted with my work. Unfortunately the lady failed to promote her business and she took the site down within a few months because she wasn't even making enough money to pay for the merchant account. Well, the homepage is in my portfolio...

    I plan to join the local chamber of commerce this year. I have high hopes for that because my web site will be in the online directory and the competition isn't bad. I fill a niche that isn't well covered. I might buy some advertising in the local small business monthly down the road. Worth trying! At least focusing on promoting locally I can meet with people in person if I can get their attention.

    In the meantime, I got two calls today from people who are desperate for redesigns of their ugly web sites and got my number from people who love what I did for them. Hey, I'm happy!


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