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..

Thanks,

Nick
#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 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 AfteraDream
    Originally Posted by IM nice guy View Post

    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.
    Good but you still charge way too little for hosting. Charge $20/month at least. If someone wants security update, add 10 bucks.


    Charge for updates but not monthly, do it on case-by-case basis. Suggest an upsell after some time to a better design and SEO.
  • Profile picture of the author MaxwellB
    Originally Posted by AfteraDream View Post

    Good but you still charge way too little for hosting. Charge $20/month at least. If someone wants security update, add 10 bucks.


    Charge for updates but not monthly, do it on case-by-case basis. Suggest an upsell after some time to a better design and SEO.
    That's not what he's saying.

    Now it makes a alot more sense.

    He is building them free websites, having them host with hostgator (he as the affiliate) and hostgator pays 125 upfront (as long as you get over a certain amount of sales per month)

    So he is basically making 125 for the site and making nothing each month on the hosting.

    Since this is the case yeah go ahead and sell them SEO...and at least charge SOMETHING for the site, $199 bucks or jeez even $99...then you'll make $224, as long as your not outsourcing anything 5 sales a week and you can atleast make a living income.

    Most people would say charge full price, I can see you don't want to do that you want to make it super easy to sell and I get that so IF I were you, what I would do is do $199 for the site, include in with that package a guaranteed first page ranking on google for their major keyword like "plumber springfield pa"

    Outsource that to mattlaclear or octavyo ($99 and $75 respectively, you get a time guarantee of 90 days with octavyo but get to do the seo using 5 keywords with mattlaclear)

    So you just sold a website, got $249 (using octavyo) or $225 (mattlaclear) and you can give them a taste of your "internet marketing skill" so that way in 3 months when you get them the first page ranking ( or much shorter) you can have the bullets you need to sell them a 500-1000 per month SEO package.

    Hope that helps.
  • 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 MaxwellB
    Originally Posted by IM nice guy View Post

    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?
    Whatever you do get in there the first page ranking. I'm telling you SEO is where you want to go. If you can bring 50 clients in in a couple months, get them a first page ranking and 50% let you do a $500 local business listing optimization or small business SEO package there's $12,500 in revenue you'll probably be pulling in within 5 months from now. You pay $220 per month to endless rise or something and make 7k profit per month from the SEO...

    So you want to do the security and maintenance fine do it just so you can make a little more residual for NOW but for now I mean the next 2-3 months...by that time you'll be selling SEO packages and the little $5 per month profit from the security and maintenance is going to actually be a burden that you have to deal with. Because you'll have to actually do the backups and all that BS.

    Use 75 of the 125 from hostgator, get them a first page ranking with the site, it'l take 2-3 months tops, and sell them a $500 per month seo package. If you can make 5 sales a week, you WILL make $5,600 per month profit by months 4-5 with just a 40% close rate on the SEO packages of $500 each. Closing SEO appointments from cold calls at 40% is normal! So with the help of a first page ranking to show your the real deal plus they already are a paying customer jesus you'll kill it.

    And not to mention you can outsource the SEO here for a lot cheaper than endless rise so you'd make even more money.

    If you do what I say consistently and your not there in 4-5 months I'll give you $50.
  • 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.

    Cheers,

    Nick
  • Profile picture of the author MaxwellB
    Originally Posted by IM nice guy View Post

    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.

    Cheers,

    Nick
    No problem

    Yes I was talking about $500 per month retainer for SEO packages. You'll be able to start selling those about 2-3 months after you get the client (that's when you'll get them the first page ranking)

    I would say start with google local listing optimization, endless rise you can optimize them for google local for 6 keywords and pay 220 per month I believe. For local I'd say do a 6 month contract but let them know that look once your optimized for local listing your optimized...after that 6 month the work is done and your good to go so that's all you need for local.

    Then you can sell them another contract or month to month organic seo.

    I know Google is an SOB but things always level out and it's just what you have to deal with. I know you want to always make customers happy but if the sites get hit you say "look google made an algorithm change, relax as we change our strategies...or you can stop now and stay on off the first page"

    Don't take anyones BS...let them know that SEO success is based on monthly work...there's actual work involved and when you stop that work your rankings drop....so you can sell them a month to month package if you want but make sure they know it's just like paying for a newspaper ad, you stop paying they stop running the ad, you have to work to stay on top of google.

    I really think your going to kill it you know the direction you want to take and your taking action, which I'm sure your not new to :p Keep it up and I want an update in 5 months. If you can struggle through these first couple months just making $50 profit per site it will pay off when you go to sell those seo packages.
  • Profile picture of the author Zach Crawford
    Here's my 2 cents. I've built a offline business twice now and I will tell you the first time I did it wrong. I was making a little over $5k a month from giving people free websites and then charging them at least $50 a month for hosting.

    Most of my money come in with up-selling for SEO and other services after they were my client.

    If I did this all over again I would never do it this way again. Cheap clients don't equal good clients. Not to mention cheap client always work you to death. Clients who pay me well always end up being less headaches.

    Now I do a similar model, but raised my prices and find it easier to sell the websites.

    I sell websites both in the US and oversea's.

    I sell websites for a large sum $1500-3000 or I get them on monthly retainers. During the meetings I show them the monthly prices and one time charge.

    9/10 they go for the monthly package. I'm still tweaking it, but we signed up 10 people already in the last month and just started promoting it on our website. We first told people about it to test the market.

    One client liked the package so much she decided to do it for all 4 businesses.

    So we offer 3 main packages and then we offer custom packages.

    Package 1: $97

    Custom website, logo, graphics and up to 1hr of updates for $97 a month.

    Package 2: $147

    Same as package 1, up to 5 hours of updates, but Facebook Fan Page and unlimited phone support

    Package 3: $247

    Same as package 2, and includes unlimited updates.

    We also create custom packages for people who need tons of graphic design work, videos, etc...

    I find it much easier to sell sites for $97 a month. People questioned me a lot on why it's so cheap or if it was a scam when I was doing it for free or $50.

    I also ran into the problem of these cheap clients giving me more headaches then any of the clients who paid me well.

    I can tell you from experience-- you don't want to be a offline consultant to every business. I had more trouble up selling cheap clients because they didn't see the value in what I was doing. You want clients who see the value in marketing online, but going about it the wrong way.

    If you sell the benefits and educate them on how you can help your business there is no reason to give sites away for free to get your foot in the door.

    I offer monthly backups, guarantee them that if the site ever goes down it's my responsibility to fix it ASAP.

    Now I should mention how I sell them on this service is I provide a free mockup. We email, cold call, and network to get meetings.

    Most people don't know they want a new shiny website. Most realize they have a crappy website, but they don't actively seek out a new web designer to fix it for them.

    However, if you show them how much better there website can look it's much easier to sell them. Once they see it, they want it.

    We are still tweaking our close rate, but I sold 3 of the $147 packages and 2 of the $97 packages in the first week.

    Now to really make this profitable cold calling will be your friend. I'm not actively marketing this in the states yet, but it's rather popular in the Philippines so far.

    I'm not saying my method is better, but I know I'm much happier now not dealing with cheap clients that waste my time.
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    Originally Posted by 88crxsi View Post

    Here's my 2 cents. I've built a offline business twice now and I will tell you the first time I did it wrong. I was making a little over $5k a month from giving people free websites and then charging them at least $50 a month for hosting.

    Most of my money come in with up-selling for SEO and other services after they were my client.

    Really great advice there, thanks so much. I'm just wondering how I'd tweak my sales "script" not that I use a script, but I like to have an idea of what I'm going to say, and what my positioning is of course.

    You're absolutely right about cheapskates, this is what I'm finding after a short amount of time doing this. They are completely unappreciative, and really don't want to have any surprises after the freeby (upsells). Some of them do initially want other services, so you do get some decent ones, but I think having a decent price point is definitely a way to have some quality control regarding clients.

    I mean at the end of the day, I don't believe in lack when it comes to opportunity/clients out there, so why work with the people that don't appreciate S$$t ?

    Thanks for your input, greatly appreciated!!

    Nick
  • Profile picture of the author AfteraDream
    Originally Posted by IM nice guy View Post

    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?
    You manage site, not hosting. Two different things, you could just upload their content few times a month or charge additionally for writting content.

    In my previous post I meant charge 20-25 bucks for maintenance OR just buy reseller hosting account and your profit for hosting will be $200+ instead of 125 bucks.. Plus, aren't you getting 125 only if you sell certain number of hostings? Otherwise it's less, like 50, then 75 etc... so if you don't hit the number for biggest commission you suffer. AND payout is after 2 months only too, isn't it? So you really need to calculate this again.

    I was thinking of doing same stuff like you, but it is better to get initial clients like by giving away sites, get their testimonials and then move up the pricing ladder as you build up your name and portfolio. You should be raising prices. If not you will make 100's of sites to make a good living..

    Don't undervalue yourself man!
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    Originally Posted by AfteraDream View Post

    Don't undervalue yourself man!

    Thanks for your comments

    The way I see it, I'm not undervaluing myself, as I'm building a targeted list of offline clients, which I'll then be able to market to pretty much for ever with all my other services. If I can do 100 sites in the next 3-4 months, which is kind of the minimum of my goal actually - I'll have 100 clients, and if I can get 15-20 of those that are good to work with, who want ongoing services such as SEO for just 100-200 quid per month, I can easily have a pretty nice recurring income of £2500-£4000 per month (this would be underestimating the potential in my opinion), on top of that, I'll be making $12,500 if not more off the front end, as I will definitely hit that higher commission rate, and should actually be able to get $150 or even more per signup (Hostgator and most other decent hosts will pay you higher if you're bringing the numbers, and ask)

    Also, because I'll be getting more clients than I would if I was asking for money upfront, I can ditch the bad clients that are a pain in the ass (I've already ditched one just yesterday, right after building his site - He was a total pain in the ass from day 1, so I just quoted him ridiculous prices for the SEO he wanted, as I didn't want to deal with him - he kept telling me one thing then changing his mind and getting impatient with me - knob!)

    So, while I do see the point that it's important not to undervalue my knowledge and skills, I really think I'm creating a solid business here, and it'll pay off. That being said, I do need to be aware of the whole cheap skate avoidance issue, I don't want to be working with annoying freebie seekers (but as I said, with loads of clients, I can pick and choose)

    Thanks for your comment though, much appreciate your thoughts

    Nick
  • Profile picture of the author AfteraDream
    Well, according to others on this forum $100-200 a month for SEO is still undervalued.

    I know guy from this forum who closed one client for 6 figures for a year contract. 15k for design, 7k for content and I am not sure about other quotes but SEO and PPC management were also included.. so that is how you price clients lol

    For a first year that's not a bad strategy you're doing wither way.. if it's enough to live well and pretty enjoyable than bigger prices will come later on..

    Good luck



    Originally Posted by IM nice guy View Post

    Thanks for your comments

    The way I see it, I'm not undervaluing myself, as I'm building a targeted list of offline clients, which I'll then be able to market to pretty much for ever with all my other services. If I can do 100 sites in the next 3-4 months, which is kind of the minimum of my goal actually - I'll have 100 clients, and if I can get 15-20 of those that are good to work with, who want ongoing services such as SEO for just 100-200 quid per month, I can easily have a pretty nice recurring income of £2500-£4000 per month (this would be underestimating the potential in my opinion), on top of that, I'll be making $12,500 if not more off the front end, as I will definitely hit that higher commission rate, and should actually be able to get $150 or even more per signup (Hostgator and most other decent hosts will pay you higher if you're bringing the numbers, and ask)

    Also, because I'll be getting more clients than I would if I was asking for money upfront, I can ditch the bad clients that are a pain in the ass (I've already ditched one just yesterday, right after building his site - He was a total pain in the ass from day 1, so I just quoted him ridiculous prices for the SEO he wanted, as I didn't want to deal with him - he kept telling me one thing then changing his mind and getting impatient with me - knob!)

    So, while I do see the point that it's important not to undervalue my knowledge and skills, I really think I'm creating a solid business here, and it'll pay off. That being said, I do need to be aware of the whole cheap skate avoidance issue, I don't want to be working with annoying freebie seekers (but as I said, with loads of clients, I can pick and choose)

    Thanks for your comment though, much appreciate your thoughts

    Nick
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    Originally Posted by AfteraDream View Post

    Well, according to others on this forum $100-200 a month for SEO is still undervalued.

    £ not $ son....
  • Profile picture of the author AfteraDream
    Originally Posted by IM nice guy View Post

    £ not $ son....
    Better.. but still not K's ;D

    Keep us updated how it goes man!
  • Profile picture of the author IM nice guy
    Originally Posted by AfteraDream View Post

    Better.. but still not K's ;D

    Keep us updated how it goes man!

    Sure, Ks would be nice, but this is a recession, and many of my clients are small businesses, many of which are in the trade industry.

    Sure, wish me luck. I'll post back with some more results when I've done more numbers,

    Cheers,

    Nick

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