Web design for local businesses

65 replies
I live in a town of about 12,000 people and my friend and I gathered about 40 numbers of businesses in my town without a website and tomorrow we are meeting together at 9 AM to go ahead and call these businesses, but I need some advice.

  • How do you sell web design to local small business like this? What is the pitch?
  • Should we try to sell over the phone or call and make appointments?
  • Pricing? We were thinking $399 for a 3-5 page HTML website and that includes the domain registration and the first month of hosting and maintenance for free.
Any advice would be great and very appreciated, thank you.
#businesses #design #local #web
  • Profile picture of the author koppster
    A lot of people in my area is charging $950 a month i think $399 is to cheap for all the work you have to do.

    Jim
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by koppster View Post

      A lot of people in my area is charging $950 a month i think $399 is to cheap for all the work you have to do.

      Jim
      A lot of these businesses are pretty small, so I think that might be pretty expensive to them.
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      • Profile picture of the author want2knowhow
        Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

        A lot of these businesses are pretty small, so I think that might be pretty expensive to them.
        And I agree. Does seem like a pretty stiff price....but hey! What do I know?
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  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
    I think that is a good start for a small business in a small town and then add packages.

    * Google Analytics
    * Google Places
    * Blog Posting service
    * And many more

    Quentin
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by Quentin View Post

      I think that is a good start for a small business in a small town and then add packages.

      * Google Analytics
      * Google Places
      * Blog Posting service
      * And many more

      Quentin
      Thanks, I plan on implementing all this after my foot is in the door.
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    • Profile picture of the author jlh
      I don't know about price, but you need to sell the BENEFITS not the features. You can list off a bunch of free junk like google places, but unless you explain how they can use a website to help their bottom line you aren't going to get very far with embattled small businesses just trying to keep their doors open.

      I was reading about small business websites recently and two figures jumped out at me: 97% of consumers search for local businesses online (according to Google). And 44% of people who view a phonebook advertisement will go online to search for more information rather than call the number provided (Telemetrix). Tell the small business owners to put that in their pipes and smoke it.

      Also, if your customers don't have a website by now they are probably intimidated by tech stuff and would benefit from a short tipsheet on engaging audiences with social media and a "How to leverage your new website" mini-ebook. There are numerous sources online that you could paraphrase to quickly produce such a document. Of course they could just google it (if they were internet savvy, which they aren't), but wrapping it all up for them will add a lot to the value of the service you are providing them.

      Take away point: You should focus on creating and delivering value to these small business owners. The rest will take care of itself.
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    • Profile picture of the author jenifer smith
      talking to them face to face will give you the opportunity to find out how much they are willing to do business with you and to respond to your charges. you also have to find out if there are many of you in that city[ i.e.competitors] because if there were, you might just lose them with high charges but if not you might just be having the opportunity of making a monopoly profit especially if they are ready to partner with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author jlh
    Talking to your target audience is the best way to find out what they will pay. They're the only ones who can tell you what it's worth to help them brand their businesses and engage audiences to differentiate themselves from the competition.

    I would advise you to think over your value proposition for a few more days before you start dialing numbers. If you land a customer for a couple hundred bucks, pump out a template design, and say "here's ur website, kthxbai" you still haven't added much value to their business. In a town that small, your reputation can't afford to make a lot of mistakes.
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  • Profile picture of the author sprks79
    Price is all relative to the designer, if you think your worth the bigger money than charge it, however just starting out, I would caution you to not overshoot it. Get the experience of offering your services, make sure you can eat and live with the money made and then if needed adjust to a price more indicative of your living style. No sense in slaving away to "not" make ends meat.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe Mobley
      Hello!!! Once again... overcome by the merely obvious.

      Originally Posted by sprks79 View Post

      Price is all relative to the designer, if you think your worth the bigger money than charge it, however just starting out, I would caution you to not overshoot it. Get the experience of offering your services, make sure you can eat and live with the money made and then if needed adjust to a price more indicative of your living style. No sense in slaving away to "not" make ends meat.
      A lot of wisdom here. The additional benefit of this thought process is that it takes a lot of self-imposed pressure off your mind.

      Just my opinion.

      Joe Mobley
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  • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
    Well today we went through and called most of the numbers, a lot of them were numbers that were out of service, but for the ones that weren't, we failed tremendously. We couldn't even keep them on the phone for a minute and I think its because of the script we were using, it went something along the lines of, "Hello, am I speaking to the owner? oh okay my name is Josh Lucas with Genesis Media (I think we just sounded like telemarketers at this point) and then we asked them if they had a website and we would just get back a "no" or "no and we don't want one".

    Most of the people were complete dicks, so we got nowhere today and I am hoping to find some good advice so I can get back to work tomorrow, because today was a little dis-heartening.
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    • Profile picture of the author JTzor
      Hit me with an email at
      JTzor@yahoo.com

      I have some offline advice for you that has been working for me.

      -JT
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    • Profile picture of the author jrobconsult
      Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

      Well today we went through and called most of the numbers, a lot of them were numbers that were out of service, but for the ones that weren't, we failed tremendously. We couldn't even keep them on the phone for a minute and I think its because of the script we were using, it went something along the lines of, "Hello, am I speaking to the owner? oh okay my name is Josh Lucas with Genesis Media (I think we just sounded like telemarketers at this point) and then we asked them if they had a website and we would just get back a "no" or "no and we don't want one".

      Most of the people were complete dicks, so we got nowhere today and I am hoping to find some good advice so I can get back to work tomorrow, because today was a little dis-heartening.
      That does sound like a telemarketer. If you are going to ask questions, think of ones that will get them to say yes. For example, are you looking to increase your profits? Also, it is easier to sell small business owners who are already paying for advertising.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
      Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

      Most of the people were complete dicks, so we got nowhere today and I am hoping to find some good advice so I can get back to work tomorrow, because today was a little dis-heartening.
      Is there any reason you chose to 'cold call' them over other methods like mail or personal visit?
      _____
      Bruce
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      • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
        Originally Posted by brucerby View Post

        Is there any reason you chose to 'cold call' them over other methods like mail or personal visit?
        _____
        Bruce
        No reason really, I would just rather call then visit in person, but I may rethink that now.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sondor
      Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

      "Hello, am I speaking to the owner? oh okay my name is Josh Lucas with Genesis Media (I think we just sounded like telemarketers at this point) and then we asked them if they had a website and we would just get back a "no" or "no and we don't want one".
      I think the issue isn't that you sounded like a telemarketer, but that you sounded like a bad telemarketer.

      Not trying to sound critical, but I know that telemarketing does work if done well. It's a serious art that I have not myself perfected, but I have done it before and appreciate it when done well.

      I made the following recommendation the other day to another post, but anyone considering telemarketing should really check out John Duram's(sp) forum on the topic and get his free audio downloads.

      TheTelemarketingForum.com

      He has a section dedicated to offline marketing and the folks there are GREAT at helping.

      Best of luck with your future calls, and don't be afraid to call back those folks you already got shot down by once your confidence is back up!
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      • Originally Posted by Sondor View Post

        I think the issue isn't that you sounded like a telemarketer, but that you sounded like a [I]bad telemarketer.



        I made the following recommendation the other day to another post, but anyone considering telemarketing should really check out John Duram's(sp) forum on the topic and get his free audio downloads.

        TheTelemarketingForum.com
        Couldn't agree more Sondor. If you are going to cold call this audio series really works.

        As for pricing you need to find out what the average value of a customer if is worth to your client. For example if he's a lawyer and its $5000-$10000 then its a lot easier to charge them $2-5K for a website than a restaurant where the visitor value is only about $60. You need to figure out how many new customers a month the client would need to get a good return on investment and the pitch accordingly.

        Hope this helps.

        Take Care... Take Action!

        Neil
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  • Profile picture of the author jrobconsult
    Actually, it would be easier to sell mobile websites targeting small business owners with websites. Once you get your foot in the door, maybe redo or redesign their old website. The key is to get your foot in the door so they can see what you can do for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author danielkanuck
    You should see if you can conduct your business on a more national level. That way you can purchase mailing lists of offline business owners who bought something related to website design and internet marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author krikkod
    In my experience personal visit works best but you need to go in their with an affordable offer, or in the very least just to introduce yourself as the local internet marketer who can help them get more business using the internet.

    One thing that is crucial is to know that small businesses do get hit up ALOT by internet marketers and web design/development services. So when you are actively pursuing prospects, you must keep that in mind so you can hopefully then work out how to rise above the noise.

    Also if you are having difficulty with getting them to accept your offer for a website of $400 etc. then i would suggest giving them a free ebook on how to increase their business online (make sure it has your contact details in their). For them to get it you can either email it to them or hand them a slip of paper where they can download it after they opt in.

    Also i would not worry about losing money on the front end even if the offer is a cheap website, because you can always follow up with so many other offers such as ongoing maintenance, SEO, mobile websites, facebook marketing etc.

    The key is to really make that connection with the prospect, more so than trying to make money off them as quickly as possible. If you treat them well they will be more than happy to do further business with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Priester Rolland
    Great start for your small business))
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rayman
    Good luck! I hope you succeed!
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    Master of Trollin
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by danielkanuck View Post

      You should see if you can conduct your business on a more national level. That way you can purchase mailing lists of offline business owners who bought something related to website design and internet marketing.
      I plan on doing that after I have finished with my town.

      Originally Posted by Priester Rolland View Post

      Great start for your small business))
      Originally Posted by Kevin Rayman View Post

      Good luck! I hope you succeed!
      Thanks guys, I appreciate it.
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  • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
    Guys I am having an extremely hard time opening to these businesses and I am in such a small town that I only have about 30 places left to call before I move to the next area. I hate starting off saying "Hi I am josh lucas with blabla designs" I want to just strike up conversation with the business owner and not sound like I am trying to sell him anything, any advice?
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    • Profile picture of the author SamyE
      Call them up,

      Tell them you are a local business owner like them doing some quick fast research for your book on why local business owners are not using web pages as an integral part of there marketing mix.

      That you want to ask them three quick question to the business owner, and that when you complete the book that you will email them an electronic copy as a free gift for there time.



      So make a list of three to five survey questions...

      Why are you not using a web page to promote your business ....

      Whats your biggest challenge with your business right now....

      What information would you need in order to consider a website ....

      Can I have your emial so that I can keep you updated on my book ....

      Here is my contact information .... Call me any time you have any questions....


      SO NOT SELL
      Set your hook
      Set your hook
      set your hook



      Listen and take careful notes and if the are interested ask them follow up questions and or elaborate some more. Best if you tell them up front that you will not be selling them anything. Nothing. (very powerful reverse psychology)

      Follow up by sending them a check list of ALL the issues and problems you gathered from all your calls, and ask them to check off any that they need help with and fax it back to you. Then set up an appointment to come in and do some basic fact finding and learn more about there business and on line challenges. Sell the appointment not your wares.

      You can also do walk in follow ups with them.

      The idea is to build a relationship AND get them chasing you to find and fix there problems. You can NOT chase them, if you chase them you will break the whole system that is built to get them to chase after you.


      Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

      Guys I am having an extremely hard time opening to these businesses and I am in such a small town that I only have about 30 places left to call before I move to the next area. I hate starting off saying "Hi I am josh lucas with blabla designs" I want to just strike up conversation with the business owner and not sound like I am trying to sell him anything, any advice?
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      • Profile picture of the author AmberCat
        Originally Posted by SamyE View Post

        Call them up,

        Tell them you are a local business owner like them doing some quick fast research for your book on why local business owners are not using web pages as an integral part of there marketing mix.

        That you want to ask them three quick question to the business owner, and that when you complete the book that you will email them an electronic copy as a free gift for there time.



        So make a list of three to five survey questions...

        Why are you not using a web page to promote your business ....

        Whats your biggest challenge with your business right now....

        What information would you need in order to consider a website ....

        Can I have your emial so that I can keep you updated on my book ....

        Here is my contact information .... Call me any time you have any questions....


        SO NOT SELL
        Set your hook
        Set your hook
        set your hook



        Listen and take careful notes and if the are interested ask them follow up questions and or elaborate some more. Best if you tell them up front that you will not be selling them anything. Nothing. (very powerful reverse psychology)

        Follow up by sending them a check list of ALL the issues and problems you gathered from all your calls, and ask them to check off any that they need help with and fax it back to you. Then set up an appointment to come in and do some basic fact finding and learn more about there business and on line challenges. Sell the appointment not your wares.

        You can also do walk in follow ups with them.

        The idea is to build a relationship AND get them chasing you to find and fix there problems. You can NOT chase them, if you chase them you will break the whole system that is built to get them to chase after you.
        Hi Samy

        This is one of the best ways I've seen to be able to in effect, get a foot in the door when starting out on doing local offline/online business in your area. It's one of the best suggestions I've seen in a couple of years of looking into this business model (as I haven't yet done anything as I wasn't comfortable with the full this is what I can do for you approach), so thank you, you may have just given me the answer I was looking for in order to get business in my area of things I can do for local/small businesses.

        Thanks very much!!

        Ania
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        • Profile picture of the author swilliams09
          In such a small town, the main thing is to be KNOWN in the town. Join the local chamber of commerce. Go to events and talk to people, give some bits of free advice. Join the church or social organizations. Small town = real people and face to face. Trust is a big thing. Get to know these people as people and they will be more likely to buy from you. All you need is one glowing review from someone they know and trust and the ball is rolling.
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          • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
            Originally Posted by swilliams09 View Post

            In such a small town, the main thing is to be KNOWN in the town. Join the local chamber of commerce. Go to events and talk to people, give some bits of free advice. Join the church or social organizations. Small town = real people and face to face. Trust is a big thing. Get to know these people as people and they will be more likely to buy from you. All you need is one glowing review from someone they know and trust and the ball is rolling.
            Great news, I became a member of our chamber of commerce today and they said at their next morning coffee meeting they are going to do a little ribbon cutting for my business and she wants me to just talk about my business for awhile, so I plan on doing a short little presentation and handing out my business cards and getting to know people.

            It's a small step but its still step forward.
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            • Profile picture of the author jstratford
              Excellent, that's a step in the right direction!
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            • Profile picture of the author seadog33
              I wish I could remember who posted it or where I seen it, but one fella on here said "" he would just go from one business to another and tell them I'll build you a website for 300. And they would say no. And then he'd tell them well alright I'll build you a website for 200, they would say no. He'd say alright I'll build you a website for 100 and by then they'd be laughing so hard and eventually cave in"" - I love it !! I love that approach.

              My point is , and in my experience, don't get too hung up on the stuffy suit and tie and the million dollar sales pitch. Most of the time it really isn't necessary. And you may know what you're talking about , but it doesn't mean they do. They're in the business of making t shirts , or manufacturing parts, not the internet business. So keep it simple . I'd definately go in , in person though and talk with them.

              A few months ago , on a rare occasion , I headed down to a pub for a couple of beers and a game. Just out of casual conversation with the patron next to me , found out he owns a manufacturing company for some automotive parts. And he wasn't happy with his website Then the eves dropping bartender/owner said he'd like one too. Who then introduced me to the band that was actually looking for someone to build them a website and update it. And finished up with the promoter/manager who had another 19 bands he was working with. About an hour worth of chatting in my sandals and casuals and still sat back down in time for 7th inning stretch.
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      • Profile picture of the author jrobconsult
        Originally Posted by SamyE View Post

        Call them up,

        Tell them you are a local business owner like them doing some quick fast research for your book on why local business owners are not using web pages as an integral part of there marketing mix.

        That you want to ask them three quick question to the business owner, and that when you complete the book that you will email them an electronic copy as a free gift for there time.



        So make a list of three to five survey questions...

        Why are you not using a web page to promote your business ....

        Whats your biggest challenge with your business right now....

        What information would you need in order to consider a website ....

        Can I have your emial so that I can keep you updated on my book ....

        Here is my contact information .... Call me any time you have any questions....


        SO NOT SELL
        Set your hook
        Set your hook
        set your hook



        Listen and take careful notes and if the are interested ask them follow up questions and or elaborate some more. Best if you tell them up front that you will not be selling them anything. Nothing. (very powerful reverse psychology)

        Follow up by sending them a check list of ALL the issues and problems you gathered from all your calls, and ask them to check off any that they need help with and fax it back to you. Then set up an appointment to come in and do some basic fact finding and learn more about there business and on line challenges. Sell the appointment not your wares.

        You can also do walk in follow ups with them.

        The idea is to build a relationship AND get them chasing you to find and fix there problems. You can NOT chase them, if you chase them you will break the whole system that is built to get them to chase after you.
        You let the cat out of the bag. It is the method I am using for my book. Business owners have their guard up when anyone is attempting to sell them. This way you can show your expertise and they will chase you as mentioned. Giving some free reports or making a quick video for their business is a way to further build your relationship.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

      Guys I am having an extremely hard time opening to these businesses and I am in such a small town that I only have about 30 places left to call before I move to the next area. I hate starting off saying "Hi I am josh lucas with blabla designs" I want to just strike up conversation with the business owner and not sound like I am trying to sell him anything, any advice?
      I think you'd get a lot farther with a personal visit rather than a cold call. I get those and I hang up. It's a lot easier to strike up a conversation in person than it is on the phone with a stranger.
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  • Profile picture of the author redlegrich
    Lots of good advice, however you might want to call them and say you were trying to find out more about them online and say, I tried to find your website, do you have one? If they say no then ask why. Believe it or not some folks actually have all the biz they want or need. Those folks aren't qualified customers. However, you might find the reason they don't have one and it might open the door for your offer.

    You may want to consider offering to build the site for free and host it for 30 days. If they like it they can then then rent it from you for $99 a month (or whatever works). Do the basic site get the phone ringing for them (you provide a virtual number that you can pull if they don't want the service after the free period). If they want more pages, changes etc., then bill them a fair rate. The other services mentioned previously may then open up for you.

    Yeah, a bit of a time risk and a few bucks as well, but if you get a monthly contract and they get more businesses then you are in the drivers seat.
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  • Profile picture of the author Transcripts
    Hi, Josh, do you have any business meetups or a Chamber of Commerce in your area? That might be a route that works better for you. Just keep trying things. It's the only real way to find out what works for you and your area.
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  • Profile picture of the author KevinW
    I would concentrate on how you can help them with local advertising and lead generation. Show them the power of squeeze pages and what a good local email list can do for the bottom line!
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  • Profile picture of the author tristatemedia
    call after hours and leave a short sweet message. believe they will listen to it on their own time. i get alot of call backs this way. they are relaxed when they are listenning to it and more likely to be more receptive.
    that is just what works for me.
    thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author o2webtech
    Just carefully check all the requirements of client first and then give them a presentation with the required things and make it as interactive as possible and be positive while running a business but follow all the protocols.
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  • Profile picture of the author ashleysmith12
    Hi,

    Soles Web Design is the minute Business' alternative for Web Design, SEO Copywriting and ...Do You require Website intend, SEO Copywriting or Local SEO Services?
    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author em20346
    Banned
    personal visit
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  • Profile picture of the author WAWarrior
    For clients who can afford, consider the option of Geo marketing with Adsense.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewbiesDiary
    I'd put together a directory/web portal site for your town/area. Much like wordpress.com.

    Use WP MultiSite. Enable local businesses to have their own blog (but don't call it a blog to the businesses - they usually think blogs are all about cute fluffy kittens!).

    Install a good directory theme on the site, install a heap of relevant, useful plugins for them, a range of themes they can choose from, and a pay to blog system.

    You can then very easily sell an annual membership - giving them a listing in the directory PLUS give them their own blog. $600 a year up front is an easy sell.

    Make the price $800 a year, but if they join in a pre-launch stage, or while you are visiting you'll take $200 off... but once you walk out the door of the initial visit - they price goes back up to $800.

    Remember to OVER deliver and you'll be sweet.

    From there you can offer other services like Google Places, Social networking etc etc etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author Russell Hall
      Originally Posted by NewbiesDiary View Post

      I'd put together a directory/web portal site for your town/area. Much like wordpress.com.

      Use WP MultiSite. Enable local businesses to have their own blog (but don't call it a blog to the businesses - they usually think blogs are all about cute fluffy kittens!).

      Install a good directory theme on the site, install a heap of relevant, useful plugins for them, a range of themes they can choose from, and a pay to blog system.

      You can then very easily sell an annual membership - giving them a listing in the directory PLUS give them their own blog. $600 a year up front is an easy sell.

      Make the price $800 a year, but if they join in a pre-launch stage, or while you are visiting you'll take $200 off... but once you walk out the door of the initial visit - they price goes back up to $800.

      Remember to OVER deliver and you'll be sweet.

      From there you can offer other services like Google Places, Social networking etc etc etc.
      I reckon this is about the best idea and advice here for your small town. You can't lose doing something like this.

      And .... I'd forget about the phone calling with intro of "Hi I'm Josh from XYZ designs...blah blah" because as you've discovered they couldn't care less about you or what you're selling.
      In addition to the excellent suggestion by my Aussie friend here I'd suggest making some personal calls to businesses and start by finding ways to ask them whether they're happy with the volume of customers they currently getting,... or have they noticed that their usual advertising methods have slacked off in the results department? ... then be quick to jump in with "look I'm not trying to sell you anything,... but I think you might be interested to hear how I can help you" (the emphasis being that you aren't "trying" to sell them at all,... you are going through a sales process with them that involves some Q & A and may result in them giving you some money to help them get more customers from the Internet).
      It all depends on how you look at this and how you approach it.
      If it "feels" like hard slog selling to you then what does it sound like to them?
      One more thing.... forget about the money or about setting prices with clients that might ask you "yeah,.. but how much is all this gonna cost me?" Just tell them "look.... just forget about the money for now... I know you're probably pressed for resources but I'd first like to really be able t help you" Once you've got them talking and they like and trust you they will give their money to you when you present them with winning solutions and creative ideas.... pure and simple
      Best wishes for your success!

      Russell Hall
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  • Profile picture of the author NewbiesDiary
    Thanks Russell

    It's a simple and effective system, giving the business owners a full functioning website for a fraction of the cost... and because it's wp multisite it quickly climbs the search engines with all the regularly updated blogs.

    With contacting people - I'd still be making a phone call to get an appointment... all you want is the appointment. So find the business owners main problem/s, then in the phone call you can tell them that your website is designed to overcome bla bla bla problem, by encouraging visitors to bla bla bla. If you do this right, then at this point they'll start to agree with you about the problem, have a little whinge about it and are immediately open to your suggestion of "I'll be in your area this afternoon and would love to stop by, have a chat and explain how bla bla bla website can help your business, is 2 o'clock good for you?"

    If you've correctly hit on their problem then you should get the meeting.

    Just remember - NEVER NEVER NEVER tell them the price until the END OF THE MEETING. If you've priced it reasonably they'll be amazed that's all your charging and reach for the cheque book.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    The local portal works pretty well in small towns - been there, done that. My company was born after a small town portal.

    It's a damn good advice.
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    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author davechan
    One idea is to create a youtube video showing how your portfolio and or additional things you can do for the client. This includes some up sell opportunities for Google Places, etc. Then send the link to the potential clients. I'd recommend sending email 1st or postcard with follow up calls. We tried door to door but that was a waste of feet power.
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    • Profile picture of the author mattbaehr
      I had success sending a snail mail invitation to a free seminar I did on How Google Can Help Your Business. The seminar itself was just an hour going over many things folks don't even know exist (places, voice, adwords, analytics, etc) while talking about search and websites. No hard sell. Offer a discount for your services to those who attend.

      I got 2 clients who just opened my invite (with business card inside) and called. They didn't even come to the seminar. One just signed a $5000 contract for website, SEO, and more. Then of course I picked up more from the seminar.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

    [*]How do you sell web design to local small business like this? What is the pitch?
    Man, I can't tell you how much I hate the idea of "pitching" anything to a business owner.

    One wouldn't normally walk up to a girl you don't know and ask her to marry you without at least a few dates first, so why would a business owner who doesn't yet know, like or trust you be any different?

    That "people buy from those they know, like and trust" is the best marketing lesson I've ever learned and just like developing personal relationships, business relationships usually take time to develop too.

    Sure, you can take the telemarketing approach and just call a few hundred people hoping one will take you up on your sales pitch, but I've always liked two-step or educational marketing where you provide prospects with valuable, free info educating them about how you can help them while demonstrating your expertise and beginning a relationship with them.

    You can offer prospects anything from free reports, books, DVDs or audio products that they can learn from and I think doing a free seminar like Matt mentioned above is a great idea and so is doing a local directory like Stef mentioned. All of those things can provide value to your prospect while giving them reasons to know, like and trust you and while not everyone will buy what you're selling right away, over time, the odds are good you'll get a large percentage of those prospects as clients.

    HTH some,

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author IdeaFool
      Originally Posted by Steve Solem View Post

      Man, I can't tell you how much I hate the idea of "pitching" anything to a business owner.

      One wouldn't normally walk up to a girl you don't know and ask her to marry you without at least a few dates first, so why would a business owner who doesn't yet know, like or trust you be any different?

      That "people buy from those they know, like and trust" is the best marketing lesson I've ever learned and just like developing personal relationships, business relationships usually take time to develop too.

      Sure, you can take the telemarketing approach and just call a few hundred people hoping one will take you up on your sales pitch, but I've always liked two-step or educational marketing where you provide prospects with valuable, free info educating them about how you can help them while demonstrating your expertise and beginning a relationship with them.

      You can offer prospects anything from free reports, books, DVDs or audio products that they can learn from and I think doing a free seminar like Matt mentioned above is a great idea and so is doing a local directory like Stef mentioned. All of those things can provide value to your prospect while giving them reasons to know, like and trust you and while not everyone will buy what you're selling right away, over time, the odds are good you'll get a large percentage of those prospects as clients.

      HTH some,

      Steve
      Steve and I are on the same page. I HATE pitching as well, and have found that the second my conversation turns "pitchward" I lose the prospect. Planting the seed of the sale works better in my experience. Many people in control of businesses want to think that using you is THEIR idea. Business owners are not general consumers. Often, they may be control freaks somewhat. Woo them, don't push them.

      I would actually go a step farther then the opt-in option for a free eBook. I would actually print out the eBook, hand-deliver it, and personally ask for a company email so that you can send free "updates" of marketing news and marketing tips. There is your opportunity to sell them later. Too often, we get into the "Sell Them NOW" mentality and lose a ton of sales. Invest in offering value and your returns will be incredible.

      BTW, your post was spot-on and fantastic, Steve.
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  • Profile picture of the author RogerV
    I have extensive experience with this and sell sites all day long from $399 to $8000+, depending on features, client, SEO, etc.

    1. Don't re-invent the wheel each time. See Swift CMS Content Management System | Wordpress CMS System - pays 50% for life including hosting and everything... we're split testing now and adding upsells / downsells, but it's hot, and I think we can be the #1 money earner on all of clickbank $1400+ per sale as the recurring kicks in. Most people sell the site for like $397 for example then pocket the $300 cash, run the client's card for the $97, of which 50% (48.50) comes back to you (+$14.50/mo per client!) via clickbank... they then spend about 1-2 hours on twitter, setting up some basics, and they're 100% done in 2 hrs. Tell the client you're the quarterback, we're the linebackers - upsell / future-sell SEO, PPC, ORM, etc. with a "hub and spoke" idea, gotta have the hub first, but you'll help with "spokes" (how they get found).

    2. Don't sell "websites' sell "we get you more business" and "how much biz are you missing because your competitors are getting found online" - know what I mean? Nobody gives a sh*t about websites except as much as it will do for them.

    3. Cold calling blows, but it is a start. Better: Ask for referrals, tell them you want to help them build a Keiretsu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia i.e. wedding planner locked in with a florist locked in with a photographer and they all cross-sell - anyway - use that strategy and your closing rate will go way up, via perceived endorsement. Also note that some of the best, highest-paying clients are NOT online, and are offline types - they are hugs and handshake types of guys.. these are the guys that won't bat an eye at $1500 simple websites, while online-savvy are bombarded with offers for $1 websites (that suck, but they get that pricing expectation).

    4. Pricing: Frame it along side how much they pay for rent. Their website is their home online. Do they rent a $150 storage warehouse? Or pay top dollar for nice retail? the same is true online - and it makes whatever you tell 'em seem cheap. I've sold sites before for $3k+ that took me under 3 hours to make - $1000/hour isn't bad money at all, huh?

    Happy Hunting!
    RogerV
    WSO coming soon, sign up at SwiftCMS.com to get preview access free.
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  • Profile picture of the author cripperz
    I would suggest you ask them what are their target audience for their businesses before even opening your price to them.

    Some might be willing to spend more, some rather spend less. Approaching in an open manner is better than closing them down with a price. Understanding their business and making them understand how I.T can help them would be a plus point for you.

    Also consider outsourcing some of your projects once you get them. In that way, you will keep your business repo in good shape =P. No man can handle all at once. Therefore consider your cost before opening a price for them.

    Also consider to provide them hosting yourself. In this way, you have a recurring income to keep you running and expand from there.
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    • Profile picture of the author johnsander1
      Its good idea for marketing but on phone it's not good, you should take appointment from them call them and say that I have a business deal with you, with this deal your business will boost and you can earn more than previous, then try to covens them that its good for your business don't try to show that think you are selling your product just tell them your business will boost and we charge minimum from you because you are first one who will give us chance to introduce and boost your business. One thing more that your prices are high according to me you should give them possible low prices.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Pitts
    HMMMM this is a tough one cause you live in such a small town. With only 40 businesses the competition is very slim so most of them are content where they are out. I think you are gonna have to sell them on the idea that they still have some growth left in them. I would push getting there name out to the surrounding cities by making an online presence for them

    Push the idea that there are people within a 20 mile radius that could be potential customers for them but may not have any idea that their business exists because of a lack of online exposure. Put together some statistics and possibly other businesses similar to theirs that are within 30 miles or less that have websites.

    See if you can get some data as to how many visitors that business gets a month to their site and how bigger they are compared to the business you are pitching to. It may sound like alot of homework but if you can make the business owner think twice even for a split second about it or even just ponder it for a moment you can win he or she over.

    You just have to be and appear comfortable, knowledgeable and confident in what you are selling. If you keep saying the same old things the same old way it will be just another person calling trying to get them to buy something.
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  • Profile picture of the author bkat52
    Im with Em. Personal visit is the way to go. If im a business owner, I want to meet the person im dealing with before I invest any time in hearing their sales pitch. but hey, what do I know
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  • Profile picture of the author Zane236
    Don't say maintenance is free. Say it's part of the payment.
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    “You affect the world by what you browse.”
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  • Profile picture of the author johnwaugh123
    They should see if they can conduct your business on a more national level. That way it can buy mailing lists of offline business owners who purchased something related to website design as well as internet marketing.
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    • Profile picture of the author JR Rich
      Cold-calling definitely sucks...there's no way around that!

      You've got to have skin like a rhinoceros to be able to handle it and, unless you're really good at it, it's pretty hard to succeed that way (no offense to John Durham intended!)

      The personal touch is a great way to approach this business IMHO. Start making personal contacts with people who have personal contacts of their own with business owners - Churches, Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Golf, Arts Councils, etc.

      Volunteer to maintain some non-profits Facebook presence or do some blogging for gratis. In other words, get your name and reputation as the premier "Go-to" guy for anything related to web marketing out there.

      Market your reputation before you start to market your services. Once your reputation is solid, the work will follow like magic!

      Best,
      --JR
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  • Profile picture of the author CoachGC
    Hi Lucas,

    I understand what you are going through it is sometimes difficult to start and figuring the best approach. The best way to go is actually whatever you feel comfortable with. Definitely combine what people have mentioned here with your personal style.

    Some of the pearls you should use are:

    Always Talk Benefits
    Offer something for free so you can approach your prospects
    Don't push the sale.
    Build rapport

    The problem sometimes is that all the recommendations are great but it is hard to put together something. You normally don't know where to start so I put something together for you. It talks all benefits you need, feel free to use it.

    You can copy it, change some of the text to add your personal style, add your logo and make it the free report you give your prospects.

    You can also use it to create your presentation in the chamber, use what's in it to personalize what you'll say to the client, depending on what he needs, you can even use it to overcome objections.

    Advantages of taking your business online | Start your business, Grow or Improve your Business - Gabriel Collignon

    I am sure it will help your prospects get some perspective of what you are doing

    I hope you find it helpful

    --------------

    If you find this helpful you can always Thank me by clicking the "THANKS" button in the post
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  • Profile picture of the author JustSomeWarrior
    I read about 20 replies before jumping down here. There are a few questions you need to answer (for yourself) before this can be successful.

    The first is: why haven't these business got a website in 2011? I mean, Jesus C, everyone knows about the web.

    Second: How is not having a website REALLY hurting their business? Don't give me that boilerplate crap, either. You are going to have to understand this part.

    Three: Why should they listen to you? You really need to be able to get them to believe that you are legit when you are telling them how this is hurting them. And then they need to feel you know enough to solve that problem.

    I really hope you succeed! But you may be "developing a product" for which there is no market. These people know about websites. They have chosen to forgo one for a long time.

    Here is a great idea... maybe you should tell them, "Your company is one of just many that we found without a website. Lucky for me you answered the phone - most of the rest are out of business. We're hoping to help you avoid that same fate..."

    But this will backfire if they have been in business for 20 years and are still kicking ass.

    You can private message me if you want to talk more. I'm always up for a good sales brainstorming session.

    -Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author IdeaFool
      Originally Posted by JustSomeWarrior View Post

      I read about 20 replies before jumping down here. There are a few questions you need to answer (for yourself) before this can be successful.

      The first is: why haven't these business got a website in 2011? I mean, Jesus C, everyone knows about the web.

      Second: How is not having a website REALLY hurting their business? Don't give me that boilerplate crap, either. You are going to have to understand this part.

      Three: Why should they listen to you? You really need to be able to get them to believe that you are legit when you are telling them how this is hurting them. And then they need to feel you know enough to solve that problem.

      I really hope you succeed! But you may be "developing a product" for which there is no market. These people know about websites. They have chosen to forgo one for a long time.

      Here is a great idea... maybe you should tell them, "Your company is one of just many that we found without a website. Lucky for me you answered the phone - most of the rest are out of business. We're hoping to help you avoid that same fate..."

      But this will backfire if they have been in business for 20 years and are still kicking ass.

      You can private message me if you want to talk more. I'm always up for a good sales brainstorming session.

      -Steve
      Excellent advice.

      Along this same train of thought, I have found that some folks don't want a website because they don't know enough about them to speak intelligently about the subject. And, no one wants to look as though he doesn't know what he's talking about. Ignorance often breeds contempt. If you have the time to make a mock-up of a website on your server and can take your laptop to show the prospective customer that you took the extra time (and respected the prospect's time enough) to REALLY show how you can help him, you have a better chance of getting the sale. It's like those companies that will send a business owner a sample pen with the business's name and contact information on it. It shows what the prospect is getting for the money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Creativegirl
    Originally Posted by jtlucas2511 View Post

    I live in a town of about 12,000 people and my friend and I gathered about 40 numbers of businesses in my town without a website and tomorrow we are meeting together at 9 AM to go ahead and call these businesses, but I need some advice.

    • How do you sell web design to local small business like this? What is the pitch?
    • Should we try to sell over the phone or call and make appointments?
    • Pricing? We were thinking $399 for a 3-5 page HTML website and that includes the domain registration and the first month of hosting and maintenance for free.
    Any advice would be great and very appreciated, thank you.
    Good for you! Your price point is very reasonable and affordable for an HTML site. You might consider $350 for 3-pages and $450 for 5-pages to upsell it. Free hosting for a year or showing them how to save on hosting (with an affiliate) is great. Also, we used to give 6 or 12 months web maintenance as an added bonus (valued at $50 hr, so $300 or $600 bonus - it's limited to 1 hr per month and does include design).

    I'd use an approach that you're comfortable with. A mix of phone, email and site visits are great (for testing yourself and the business climate). In fact plan to use all three for every contact, just mix up the order to test.

    There are plenty of threads on there about scripts to use for phone and email.

    You're there to solve a problem, and you have an affordable solution as a starting point. You want to speak to their objections, barriers, and what has prevented them from taking their business online. The fact that local search increases every day (month, year) and mobile search is increasing so quickly, it should be a no brainer. But then again, that's why you want to get to the root of why they're not online and speak to it.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author SiteSmarty
    There's no difference between a business owner in New York or a business owner in your small town. Why would the location determine your price or your approach? Why would you only want to design sites for those who don't have sites? Why not upgrade the old site to a new shiny WP powered site?

    You see my point.

    You're restricting yourself and you're sending a message that your services aren't worth much by charging a low fee for the website.

    Website design isn't a local offline thing. I design websites and I live in the Costa Rica jungle, with most of my clients living in the USA. I have more business than I want.

    If you want to sell websites locally, get your foot in the door another way. Then upsell websites, mobile sites, SEO or whatever you want.

    What I like about serving offline clients is that they're loyal. Once you do good work for them, they'll use your services for whatever you offer and they'll refer you so you don't have to be chasing new clients all the time.

    You're trying to barge into these businesses and sell them. They won't go for that approach. It doesn't work. Pre frame them so they know your name. Direct them to your sales page so they know what you can do for them. Offer them something useful so they'll bite.

    Cold calling, meeting in person and such things to make a sale is no way to run an online business serving offline businesses, when there's easier ways.
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    • Profile picture of the author jtlucas2511
      Originally Posted by SiteSmarty View Post

      There's no difference between a business owner in New York or a business owner in your small town. Why would the location determine your price or your approach? Why would you only want to design sites for those who don't have sites? Why not upgrade the old site to a new shiny WP powered site?

      You see my point.

      You're restricting yourself and you're sending a message that your services aren't worth much by charging a low fee for the website.

      Website design isn't a local offline thing. I design websites and I live in the Costa Rica jungle, with most of my clients living in the USA. I have more business than I want.

      If you want to sell websites locally, get your foot in the door another way. Then upsell websites, mobile sites, SEO or whatever you want.

      What I like about serving offline clients is that they're loyal. Once you do good work for them, they'll use your services for whatever you offer and they'll refer you so you don't have to be chasing new clients all the time.

      You're trying to barge into these businesses and sell them. They won't go for that approach. It doesn't work. Pre frame them so they know your name. Direct them to your sales page so they know what you can do for them. Offer them something useful so they'll bite.

      Cold calling, meeting in person and such things to make a sale is no way to run an online business serving offline businesses, when there's easier ways.
      Not only myself, but I believe that the majority of this section of the forum would completely disagree with you.

      It's not your way or the highway, there is many ways of making sales, to each their own.
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  • Profile picture of the author maricelu
    Calling? NO WAY!

    Why not just to make a sample website + a presentation showcasing why they need a website, walk to them, ask for the owner and reserve 10 minutes, turn on your laptop and present the sample website, presentation and say it is very unprofessional for biz not to have a website in this century, say if they order NOW they will get a mobile website for FREE or whatever. base your price on their needs. I plan to do this.
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  • Profile picture of the author NateC
    It is easiest to start off with people that you already know and have a relationship with (family and friends). If you can do something for them first and they see success from it you will have someone to give you a testimonial and they will tell all of their friends how great you are! Word of mouth is very powerful.

    If you are in that small of a town you have to get out and meet with them face to face. It is not hard and it will give you a great opportunity to tell them what you will be able to do for their business.

    When I meet with someone that has a website already I like to do a top 10 report on their SEO and compare them to the top 10 in Google so they know exactly what they have to do to rank for their keywords. It is very powerful and you can leave with a check in your hand on the first visit, even if they don't know exactly what they want in terms of a website right then.
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  • Profile picture of the author vinayalchemy
    How about facebook ads for geo marketing , will that work for a town ?
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