Check out your local competition often

2 replies
Just to keep up to date with what other web designers and consultants were doing in my area, I posted the following craigslist gig in the computer services section:

I own a landscaping business and I need a website built that offers the following features:

contact form
high res before/after lawn picture gallery (pics provided by me)
Map showing which areas we service
full list of services and qualifications
general business info
mobile friendly
clean and professional looking

Please be as detailed as possible in your email regarding your previous experiences and what platform you plan on using to complete this project.
I used my dad's landscaping business as an example since it was the first to pop into my head and it fit the profile of the kind of gig I would at least send an email to to gauge interest if I were browsing CL.

I received 12 emails in the first hour, and another 8 in the second hour. Most of the responses fit a very standard "this is my name, here are some website urls that ive done, this is my price" format.

Price ranges varied from $200 to $12,000. I'm not kidding, someone quoted me 12 grand for a Drupal site on a gig that needs at most 5 pages.

Only a few people replied with emails that followed most of the principles I've learned from lurking around here. These guys didn't give a price in the initial email and went straight to trying to get me on the phone.

Here's the best reply I received in those first 2 hours, with the info removed of course.


My name is XXXXXX and I'm the Senior Project Manager at a boutique full service marketing and design company called XXXXXXX Marketing Group.

I know you will probably get a lot of emails from overseas companies but we're a U.S. company so we will be available to you during normal business hours.

Anyway, I saw you were looking for some assistance on a web project so I thought I'd shoot you a quick email and see if I can help.

We specialize in design, development, and implementation for both desktop and mobile web projects.

If you want to know a little more about our app services just go here real quick:

OR you can check out our website so you can see our portfolio and what we're all about:

I'd like to learn more about your ideas. What would be a good day/time/phone to reach you on for a quick 5 min chat?

Talk soon,

Senior Project Manager, Web Design
XXXXX Marketing

P.S. We also do Mobile Apps, Social Media, SEO and Consulting in case you have a need for any of those services as well.
Based on the extreme lack of variety in all of the responses, I'm thinking about a really short email that links to a video. If I was an actual business owner getting 20 emails in 2 hours, and who knows how many in the next few days, I'd have a really hard time keeping all of the emails, people, and services straight.

I learn a lot from secret shopping the competition and finding out what I can do better and what will make me stand out. What other ways do you guys stay ahead of the competition, and how do you make yourself stand out from the crowd?
#check #competition #local
  • Profile picture of the author thattaway
    A small effort that paid off with a lot of good information. Thanks for sharing!
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    I did the same thing a year or 2 ago. But I actually needed real work done (a custom made form).

    And I wrote on here that I got over 60 messages in the first 4 weeks. If you leave your ad up, you will get A LOT of messages.

    I wound up going with the guy who said "I can do this for you right now for $40!" And he put a smiley face at the end of the sentence. THATS ALL HE WROTE. What sold me was the fact that he wrote 1 sentence that was straight to the point, he used an exclamation, a smiley face, and that was it.

    Everyone else was overselling, trying to qualify themselves, listing all these bullet points about why they're so talented, and none of them realized that I simply didn't give a shit. I didn't care if I was hiring a pro or a rookie. I just needed someone who could do exactly what I said and do it fast.

    So I definitely think a short response is the best. When I was reading all the bullet points people were sending me, I would quickly become overwhelmed and be like "wtf? Are they trying to sell me a car? I just need a simple custom made form".

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