I just wanted to make a quick post.
I have been running my business here in the Chi (south suburbs actually) for quite awhile now. And I have tried and tested a bunch of lead in services trying to figure out what works the best.
And... with all the new services coming out (what seems like day after day) there is one service that has always converted the best for me on the front end and in return allows me to upsell them on other services down the road.
This service is.... "Website Redesign".
Now there's a reason I'm calling it "Redesign" and not just "design". You see, it is 100x easier to sell a business owner on a redesign opposed to trying to explain why they "need" a website.
Most people on here are looking for businesses that don't have a website. I do the opposite. I look for businesses the DO have a website but it may be outdated or awful. (note: about 70% of websites ARE awful/outdated)
Business owners that already have a website understand the importance of one. Business owners that dont (statistics show almost 50% of business owners STILL don't have a website in 2012) have a website, also don't understand its importance.
Once you have successfully redesigned a website for the business owner, you can go ahead and offer any add on service that is beneficial to the owner.
A few tips that have helped me:
1.) When contacting the business owner, let them know that you would like to design a FREE mockup for them. (don't waste your time coding a site, or using a wordpress template, put a design together via photoshop,gimp, or hire someone on Odesk.com $15/mockup) heres a few examples
2.) Focus on a vertical. Create a website design for a specific industry and have all of your marketing resonate with that vertical.
3.) Before creating the "Free" mockup, ask for their budget so you can design accordingly. This makes closing them ALOT easier, and you don't have to "guess" and pray that your proposal fee won't get turned down.
Anyways, just wanted to show you that web design is still one of the most effective lead in services even after all these new services to offer come out.
Hope this helped someone.