Upselling web design clients to monthly maintenance

by 37 comments
I'm doing a service where I do a brand new professional version of their sites (FOR FREE - I make money off the hosting), for small businesses with crappy old websites.

It's going pretty well, 4 clients just completing now, and they love there sites and seem really happy (they are only paying for hosting £6 per month with first month free, so of course they are happy )

Now.... I want to offer an upsell for monthly website security and maintenance.

I will basically do a security overhaul for their site, and make it much more secure (there's a fear factor in there that i can use to sell, just need to work it out in a way that's not seedy) I will also do monthly; (or weekly - might offer different levels) website backups (with multiple backup locations), updates to site software (WP plugins and version) and will also allow them to request a couple of basic changes per month.

So in summary, the service will be:

*Complete initial professional Security overhaul
*Monthly website backups (stored in multiple locations)
*Monthly software updates
*Monthly security checks and updates
*2 (lets say for now) basic changes or additions to your website per month

In terms of pricing, I'm thinking of charging somewhere in between £40-£60 quarterly/every 3 months - I think charging quarterly seems less expensive for some reason..

Anyway, I need some ideas on how to go about pitching this to them. I don't want to come across like they MUST buy it to have a safe website, but at the same time, I want them to take this service, of course..

I was thinking of just mentioning the benefits casually when I provide them the logins and final required details of their new free site....

What do you think?

Any help and thoughts appreciated..


#offline marketing #clients #design #maintenance #monthly #upselling #web
  • Profile picture of the author MaxwellB
    I am sorry but it was absolutely horrible idea to do it the way you did at least the $6 per month price.

    Small businesses just need an informational site, you trying to sell them a XX per month maintenance and security package is going to seem unnessary to them.

    So now your getting $24 per month from 4 clients....I'm sure your costs are most of that. Are you making the sites yourself or using like weebly or homestead?

    You should change your price to at least 29.95 per month for a hosting and maintenance plan, a lot here charge 40-60.

    then you won't need to upsell them on a security package they aren't going to buy and you can get them for SEO
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Beatty
    I would put together a sales funnel of other products that might be a more beneficial "upsell" to your clients. It's good that you have your foot in the door (I wouldn't have done it that cheap) but at least they like you now.

    What type of businesses are they? Figure out what they really need and fill the order with your upsell
  • Profile picture of the author Stranger Danger
    I agree - offer them hosting (with) maintenance - and charge MORE!

    I also wouldn't set revisions with a quantity limitation - I'd go by time. For example, each website/subscription will be allotted approximately 1 hour for revisions each month. That does not include the time required for backups, updates, customer support etc. Any additional changes (beyond that first hour) may be accommodated for an additional fee (charge whatever you want per hour - no less than what you charge each month, IMO).
  • Profile picture of the author azurews
    I agree with MaxwellB, most people tend not to worry about security until it becomes an issue, but every new web site owner wants,
    1.) people to come to their site (ego)
    2.) To get more customers and make more sales (profit).
    Those are the two things that your client will be thinking about. Upsell them the seo and package the security in with it.
  • Profile picture of the author Matt Lee
    Yeah, you're prices are really low bro. You should make a comfortable living doing what you are doing, not working for peanuts. You are a professional, offering a professional service & now you need to charge a professional rate for your service.

    Stop giving away crappy websites. Charge for quality basic designs, and up charge for premium designs. Make it affordable, but offer them unlimited support/updates whatever they need each month for $199 or $99 each month. That is dirt cheap, but still 10X what you were charging before.
  • Profile picture of the author Mark465
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    I don't think I explained how I was making money off this very well. I'm making money as an affiliate for HG, making $125 per signup.

    The idea is not to make a lot of money up front, but gain their trust first, and then offer them other services later on.
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    I appreciate your comments, the point is, I need to keep the site very cheap (if not free) because that's my whole sales pull. I wouldn't be getting such a high "yes rate" if I said, oh it's only $100 or whatever. By saying "the design aspect is literally free, you only pay a small amount per month for the hosting" I have a WAY easier sale, and I can bring much higher %s into my funnel, which to me is more important than making better money on the front end.

    More people in funnel = greater long term income and a real business

    Having said that, the idea I'm toying with now, is to offer "hosting, backup and security management" for like £10-£15 per month, which I'll add on as an OPTIONAL extra, and that will show up in my steps to get their new site done (Just after they have taken action and signed up for hosting)

    At least this way, I'll be creating the chance for recurring income from each freebie site.

    The only thing is I'd have to have a good story for why they are paying the hosting company AND me for managing it. But I guess most people will believe that that's fair enough, and after all I am offering them a service, even if I'm not actually providing their hosting directly. Kind of like a host manager I guess

    What do you think of that for an idea?
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    Nice plan, Thanks for your time taken!

    are you talking $500 per month retainer SEO packages? What would you recommend as far as contracts go? Like how long should I ask them to sign up for minimum?

    Also, are you talking about normal SEO or places?

    I want to go this way, but to be honest, I'm a bit apprehensive with all the Google BS recently... It's not exactly inspiring confidence...

    Thanks for your help man!

    You're right, security etc will be a pain in the ass UNLESS I can find a way to have an employee do it, and it's worth the time for the small residual. My line of thinking was, offer cheap residual service, more people will take it up, when I get to 100 + clients, the extra £500-1000 residual is still nice monthly for something that can theoretically be outsourced pretty easily. There's also WP twin auto backup, which makes the backing up very easy.


  • Profile picture of the author mojo1
    Imho, If you really desire to build up your SEO offering, I would discontinue this free give away business model once you've reached maybe 25 clients and then switch gears entirely by focusing on client referrals.

    To help with the transition to SEO work, I would reward your current clients handsomely for any referrals that become new, well payingwebsite clients.

    The free website hosting model is lucrative but only if this is your only business model. You really shouldn't muddy the waters with upsells for this particular biz model. It's telemarketing outsourcing scaleablity based on the simplicity of the model is where the big money takes place. Adding SEO to the mix is kind of like trying to move your vehicle forward on square tires my friend. Yes it can be done but not without eventually burning your engine out.

    Either do the free website hosting model or simply charge for your website and hosting maintenance plan right out of the gate.

    It really shouldn't take 100 clients using this business model to gain momentum.
  • Profile picture of the author mojo1
    You interpreted my post wrong.

    I said it is a profitable model indeed but if you're going to work this model then focus on it entirely.

    He is targeting 100 clients, many of which are probably going to have very tight budgets.

    No problem there, however anyone who follows this model should be conscious of this fact and simply scale this business model up with telemarketers to continue promoting his free website giveaway versus trying to pitch more costly SEO services to this group of clients.

    Yes, upselling can be done but with many in this group it's an uphill battle. To transition to selling SEO services, I'd suggest he goes to fresh waters like the friends and associates of his current free website clients who should not be marketed to using the free website give away approach. Strictly paid websites going forward once he reaches 25 free website give aways.

    Again this business model is viable...I bought a WSO on the free website give away & hostgator affiliate system, which is very nicely laid out on how to get this thing going. So I definitely see all of the potential the model offers.
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    I'm loving the ideas in this thread guys.... keep em coming!

    By the way, I'm planning on doing both - outsourcing and automating the free site client gen using telemarketers and relationship managers, and also going into SEO in the way that you suggested.

    I'll focus on greasing the wheels of that first machine, and then move onto the SEO and other recurring services part in 6-12 months
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy

    Speaking of referral reward programs.

    I've already got my first few referrals from 1 client! Just got an email then, the guy was super happy with his free site, and now he's getting his wife, who works at Thomas Cook to spread flyers around the place, etc...

    Yeah baby!!

    Nothing like going viral!

    Edit: my other post went missing - I'm also planning on doing both of the things you guys have mentioned above there. I am focusing on growing the current client acquisition model with free site upgrades/giveaways using telemarketers and relationship managers. Once I've got that rolling pretty well, I'll start focusing on the more long term, SEO client upselling, etc - hopefully within 6-12 months I can have the free site/telemarketing on a pretty high level of automation!


  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    Good points guys, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing for now (not charging hosting) and then when I get to a certain number, work out my metrics, how many people I called, how many become customers from that, and then test it against the second
    method (asking $20-$25 per month hosting too)

    Ultimately, I think whatever gets me the most repeat customers long term, is the winner.


  • Profile picture of the author MrBigLocalMarketing
    IM Nice Guy... what types of businesses are you targeting?

    We've always been able to charge much much higher prices by targeting specific types of businesses that have professional or high dollar value products and services.

    However, I can see your approach would be valuable to the "mom & pop" type of businesses that get overlooked... but you have to be doing a lot higher volume of customers (and outsourcing as many aspects of it as you can) to make it worth your while.
  • Profile picture of the author Blogacious
    Even though this is an old thread, this is a great one and should be made to be sticky. Terrific advice on how to create residual income, similar to having a membership site.

    Good stuff!
  • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
    I remember when I thought cheaper = easier. After selling about a hundred websites I quickly changed my mind.
  • Profile picture of the author Yvon Boulianne

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