PRO TIP: If you can’t be bothered to read 1,000’s of words right now, you can watch the YouTube video a few paragraphs below, or listen to the podcast episode right here. 🙂
So you want more web design clients, eh? I mean, who doesn’t?
There are a lot of different methods to go about getting these clients, but I’m willing to bet you’ve tried most of them already.
- “Set up an Upwork profile!”
- “Ask your friends and family for referrals!”
- “Engage your professional network and tell them about your new web design business!”
- “Hire a teenager to sign-spin your company’s logo in front of Staples!”
These aren’t bad strategies. Many of them can pay off handsomely. (let me know how that sign-spinning goes, I just came up with that off the top of my head)
But, they’re not as effective as using Google Maps.
That’s right. Google. Maps.
Here’s how you can use Google Maps to acquire new web design clients:
1. Get on Google Maps and pull up your neighborhood
2. Find all of the service-based businesses in your area
We’ll start with restaurants. Because every restaurant should have a website.
3. Choose a restaurant and click on their profile
Looks like we’ve found our winner. Su-Good Chinese Restaurant in The Beaches of Toronto, Canada. (yes, we have beaches they’re just not pretty OK)
4. Click on the website link in their profile
Now let’s see what their website looks like…
5. Determine if their website is in serious need of a redesign
Yah… their food might be tasty, but I’d say their website is not Su-Good…
Worse yet, it’s not even responsive! *dies inside*
6. Pull all of the content from their website and redesign it for them
Nope, I’m not kidding.
A site like this should only take you an hour or two to remake into something much prettier and more functional. Maybe a bit more if you’re a complete newb. 😉
Once you get into a groove, you can do it even faster. By focusing on the same niche (restaurants) you can quickly build similar sites from the same template.
So just download all of the images you can and copy and paste the text.
Just make sure not to publish this site anywhere publicly. This is all copyrighted content and we’re only using it for temporary demonstrative purposes. Delete it if they’ve indicated they’re not interested in your offer.
7. Email them with a link to their hot new site
Send them a quick email with a link to the new website you built for them. Here’s an example of something I’ve sent out in the past.
Hey X!Your restaurant looks delicious. I wish I resided in X area so I could come by and taste it myself!Honestly, I don’t even remember how I found my way to your website, but I couldn’t help but notice that… it’s not great.So, I hope you don’t mind…but I went ahead and built you a new one. I’m not kidding. It’s right here (insert link here)Let me know what you think!
You can obviously use other variations of this. Or write something completely unique to your style.
For example, it would be super helpful if it is a business or restaurant that you frequent often. They’d love to know that you’re a happy customer of their establishment.
Be personable, honest and transparent. And don’t be afraid to be a little bold!
Also, make sure you use a link tracker like Bit.ly. That way you’ll be able to confirm that they received your email and viewed the website.
8. If they love it, sell it to them
Now, the hard part. Convincing them to buy it from you.
Fortunately, it’s much easier to sell a website to someone when they’ve already seen the finished product and love it.
Highlight the importance of having a solid web presence that is accessible from any device. Tell them how you found their restaurant on Google Maps and the first thing you did was visit their website.
If they are integrated with one of the myriads of food delivery services out there, ensure them that the new site will not negatively affect that integration. If anything, it will enhance it.
Practice, practice, practice
The rest is simply rinse and repeat.
Yes, you’ll end up doing some work for free. Not everyone will buy the site from you once you’ve put in the effort to build it.
And you’re going to have to brush up on your sales skills in order to convince people to buy.
But if you can get a 20-40% close rate with this strategy, it’s more than worth it for a scrapping new web designer like yourself.
Because most of the other “typical” client acquisition strategies will take months to see results from.
So, how bad do you want it? 😎