Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Direct mail tips for web designers

If they're local...

Just walk in with your portfolio, ask for the marketing director (manager or "boss"), say hi and give them a well-designed, full-color portfolio to keep. A sharp black duotang to hold all the paper/art works well, print your logo on and stick it on the front. Putting your entire portfolio website on a mini-CD adds intrigue and usually gets someone to take notice (rather than "desk" it).

Be sure to get someones business card before you leave...then follow up with a phone call a few days later. Remember, the first phone call is really a REMINDER that you dropped something off to them...don't really try to close the sale at this point, just say HI and see what they say...the second phone-call is where you KNOW they've seen your work and now you can try to set a meeting to talk business.

If they still aren't interested at the second call, keep sending them your marketing materials in the mail every few months...eventually they'll bite, when one of their clients asks for their website address and they embarrassingly don't have one. That's when they remember you.

There's no hustle in getting someone to buy a website, be nice and respectful of their intelligence, and if they need one (and you're professional enough for them) they'll bite.

The hustle is getting them to pay the big bucks for it...
That's where your silver tongue comes into play, making them think a blog costs $1000 to create.

The worst thing you can do though, is treat them like a mark...using cheapo sales tactics that you normally find in the newspaper classifieds to take advantage of old ladies...that will certainly lose you the professional edge that you're trying to sell them on in the first place. These are (usually) college educated professionals, don't offend them with condescending marketing ploys they may have already learned in school...make your money by showing them the uses of the technology out there, and how it can benefit them. Once they fall in love with the potential, cost becomes less of an issue.

As a word of advice...
It's a LOT easier to sell a company that already HAS a website, than it is to sell one that doesn't.

Things like "feature upgrades (blogs, forums, podcasts, Web2.0, etc)" and "visual revamps (stylistic redesign, web2.0 interface, identity makeover, etc)"...these are MUCH easier to sell, and they let you use buzzwords on people who may actually KNOW (or at least CARE) what you're talking about.

You generally can't charge $4000 for these "component" things...
but you can usually complete these tasks in a couple days for a quick $1000 (and a repeat long-term client).

Making big promises creates big expectations for you to live up too...
it's easier and more beneficial to create little (affordable) promises, then over-deliver.

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