I’ve been building and marketing websites for small-medium businesses for about five years full time now. In the last six months or so I’ve tried my hand at buying some domains (for example one was a kitchen renovation related domain) and doing some SEO (doesn’t require too much if you can write well and have a bunch of local sites you can use for one way links). So, now I have four sites consistently in positions 1 or 2 (occasionally 3) in the organic results, even added two of them to google local business, will be adding the other two soon).
They generate a good amount of leads (I pass them on either for free or for $30 a lead to one existing client in the same industry) both through the contact form and by phone (skype to go). The thing is, I haven’t written up a really compelling sales pitch for any of them yet (I am a copywriter first and foremost) and I know when i do, the leads will increase even. But even at current levels, they generate at least as many enquiries as a full page yellow pages ad ($20k AUD a year here, so about $19k USD). I have clients in the same or similar industries that get slightly less traffic (mainly using adwords as they don’t yet want to pay the larger upfront for me to do SEO while adwords makes them money), because I went through my sales copy process.
So, it’s time to do something with them, just wondering if anyone had thoughts on how I should go about positioning these sites. One thought is to do the sale copy properly, and let a business that clearly has the budget test it out for a week or two. I would so the usual method of using skype or a cheaper local option have a ‘local appearing’ phone number redirect to their office so that I can track how many call they get, as well as of course tracking contact form submissions and anyone clicking the mailto link.
Assuming it performs at least as well as it has been (and it will improve with the copy done properly) and knowing that even my clients using adwords get more work from that at a fraction of the price of yellow pages, I am wondering what and how I should sell it. I’m thinking:
a) Sell it for slightly less than a years full page yellow pages ad, with detailed instructions on how to maintain the spot and or availing myself at a generous rate to maintain it (it doesn’t take much so either way, this won’t contribute much to the cost).
b) Rent it out, minimum three months period paid in advance (I charge three months in advance for my regular SEM clients, never had an issue with the pricing and payment option). Advantage for me is that I can get a better idea of whether I should be charging more during this time and or I am in a better position to say to them, 'look it works, you know I will sell it if I talk to a few of your competitors, so how about you make it yours).
c) Sell each lead on a cost per lead basis (aka the shoemoney philosophy) - I do like this, I sell my bathroom renovation leads at $30 a pop and it does add up (again, have been lazy and need to do the sales copy for that site too). However, $30 is low for bathroom renovations and even lower for kitchens, so while I might let them test it at a lower rate, I will be pressing for something higher pretty soon once they’ve had enough time to evaluate if it’s worth it for them.
b) and c) Open the door to still sell it for a nice lump some down the line with more confidence. On the other hand, I have some debts I would love to clear asap and I have several of these sites and can get more up pretty quickly (have a deck builder site just crept on to the first page for the best search phrase, as well as a kit home and modular/prefabricated house page not far away either).
Really interested to hear people’s thoughts on what option they’d go for, how they’d position it, how they’d close it (especially selling it outright). Cold calling is not an issue, have built my business on it, offer it as a service to a few regular clients that run small telemarketing teams (only train people selling b2b products) and more recently referrals. One area I have constantly struggled with though it going in for the close, especially when I know they are close, I know what I have will make them money. That and charging more for that I do (or have in this case). Not so high that it becomes poor value for the client, just more in-line with the intrinsic value of what I’m offering (I know how much my clients make of the sites I build them).
If I could close better and charge more in line with what I’m offering, knowing i can pick up the phone and book a weeks worth of appointments in 4-5 hours, would be very handy - so any books, audio tapes etc you could recommend in this area, would really help (don’t mind if you Wack an Amazon affiliate code in a link if you genuinely think it will help )
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.