Welcome to part 2 of my series on starting a web design building. In part 1, we covered many of the fundamentals required to set the foundation like writing a business plan, accounting, company website, and networking. Now we’ll be looking at factors like marketing, customer retention, and scheduling reports to ensure everything goes smoothly. The Internet is a great way to connect with people all over the world, increasing the chances of you finding customers, but it’s given them more options. If they don’t have a good first impression, they’ll be quick to leave, heading over to your competitors. This is why it’s important to have a system in place that will ensure the highest customer satisfaction and retention.
Here’s what we’ll look at in Part 2:
- Marketing Channels
- Organizing Sales and Leads
- Scheduling Customer Reports
By now, you’ll have your website up and running, so it’s time to utilize some of the marketing channels to drive traffic to your page. In your business plan, you outlined how much money you’ll spend on marketing and it’s important to stick to that budget. I like to start with free marketing through by networking and social media, keeping a close eye on statistics for traffic flow to my page. If you have networked with the right people, or have an email list of your own, then you can utilize them for traffic. I have 2-3 blogs in SEO so I can utilize the same audience, sending them a message about my web design service. However, for all those just starting out, here are some cool options:
- Social media (free)
- Link exchange (free)
- CPA marketing (paid)
- PPC marketing (paid)
- Banner advertising (paid)
It’s not harmful to invest in paid marketing, but follow your budget to ensure you don’t drain your resources right away. A cool strategy is to drive people to your website, capturing their email address so you can follow-up with them later on. No matter what channel you choose, it’s important to track and tweak so you know what’s an optimal marketing plan going forward.
Organizing Sales and Leads
Once you find the right marketing channel, you’re going to start generating sales quickly. It’s important you have a system in place to organize your sales and what they expect from you. Each customer is going to have different demands in terms of customizations and preferences. For you to get the job done right, you’ll want to keep things organized and documented so you can go back, reviewing requirements. I’ve used different application to make notes of when customers need me to complete work. For example,
Microsoft Word – awesome to make quick notes and I’ll save it on “3” drives for backup. I’ll highlight important points, but they don’t provide an alarm when things are due.
ToDoist.com – offers a Chrome and Firefox browser plug-in for you to make easy notes. In the Pro version, you can set it to remind you when things are due.
Microsoft Excel – because you can list tasks in different columns and rows, it’s a great application to keep track of each customer. Start by listing customer name and what needs to be completed then check each one off as tasks are done.
There are more applications you can utilize, but these are the ones I’ve been using for many years. I’m just used to them, but always use an application you’re comfortable with so things are organized and done right.
Scheduling Customer Reports
Whenever I’ve done work, I’ve always requested a progress report every two to four weeks. When you are designing a website, customers are going to ask you for progress reports so they know things are moving in the right direction. You have to make sure you provide it for them or they won’t continue if they think you haven’t started work. This doesn’t have to be difficult, but you need a system in place to streamline the entire process. This is why you should have created a checklist of the different steps involved from start to finish. If you’ve been designing websites for some time, you’ll have a good idea of all requirements, so write them down. Going forward, as you complete a task, check it off and have it ready for the customer when reporting is submitted. The reporting should be organized like this:
- Each task written in checklist format
- You and the customer should agree on reporting date
- Submit report and “1” week should be given for customer to view work done
- A clear feedback session should be in place to exchange thoughts
- An adjustment period for you to make changes
Having a system in place will keep you on track, systematically following all steps. This will also make sure the reports are ready for the deadline and no issues slow down progress.