My Design Process – How I help Clients Grow Their Online Presence
I recently conducted a discovery session with a potential client and followed up by sending a branding and web design proposal. The client liked what I proposed for his project but expressed that he was not sure about how the services I provide are priced given his limited experience in this area. He mentioned another company that quoted him at a lower price by charging him for pieces of the website. After responding to the client, I thought this would be a great opportunity to better explain my process and how I approach each project for my clients. Understanding that his question is probably one that I will be faced with in the future, I thought it best to write a blog that goes wider and deeper into how JWM Designs & Marketing sets itself apart from other companies.
I Begin With The Client’s End Goals In Mind
For starters, I can’t speak to what other website developers do but I can do a better job of explaining what I do for my clients. When I work with a client, my goal is not to sell $7,200 websites. My goal is to sell a $7,200 marketing platform that generates leads and fully meets the needs and goals of my clients. How do I do this? For instance, I don’t charge based on pieces of a website (prices per page, photos, fonts, or design elements). Instead, I charge for the full web design experience. This means that I help clients find their online voice and build a community on their websites and social media platforms.
To better illustrate what I do, I like to use the analogy of representing a new client. Many of my clients are lawyers who are either starting their own practices or changing careers altogether. When a lawyer meets a new client for an initial client interview to discuss their case, they don’t know all of the records to request in discovery or all of the witnesses they will ultimately need to depose. As an attorney, you always set out with the goal of getting your client the compensation they deserve but the route you take to get to that goal may be different each case.
In my business, that can translate into me designing 10 web pages of content (not to mention the required disclaimer, privacy, and terms and conditions pages) for general consumption by the public. However, depending on the client’s needs or goals, I may create private pages for specific purposes (i.e. a thank you page for those who complete a contact form, a free ebook (how-to guide) page for lead generation and downloading, an events page, a landing page for a specific purpose like an upcoming event that the client is hosting or speaking at, or a password protected page for specific content available to a select group. Because I begin each project with the end goals in mind, it is not productive to continually go back to a client to renegotiate the costs of adding additional elements. That is the reason why I take significant time at the beginning of each project to talk through all these possibilities with the client. Just like an architect takes time to sketch out the blueprint of a building and plans for every contingency, my process in developing websites is more than cut and paste, fill in the blank work. It’s true that it would be quicker and easier for me to have a less custom approach to branding or creating websites, but my goal is to help business owners grow their digital footprint.
I Partner With My Clients
When I build websites for my clients I consult with them and guide them through the process. Nothing is prepackaged because each client is different. I don’t cut corners or charge separately for SEO, social media set up/integration (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google My Business), or analytics. It’s all apart of the package. I choose the right keywords for each page using informed research and SEO tools and implement best practices from day one. I make sure the client’s web assets (logos, photos, branding) are in sync with their goals and transferable from the web to print media. I help clients create copy for their websites, blog posts, and social media campaigns (all of this included in the initial build and launch of the website) that gets noticed and keeps traffic flowing to their website and social media channels. I provide photos from my stock photo subscriptions that are licensed and available for commercial use that I have researched and collected so that clients don’t have to waste time finding the right photo. I set up systems so that clients can collect reviews (i.e. Google, Yelp, Facebook) and explain the various “call to action” functions on their website. I help clients set up their MailChimp account, configure it, and get the code needed to include it on their website.
I Build More Than A Website
In short, I help clients do more than set up a website. I help them launch their businesses. I am there for my clients before, during, and after the launch to be a resource to them. My goal is for my clients to see a return on their investment of time and financial resources. It is not enough for me to create a beautiful website for my clients. My costs are directly related to what I believe it will take to reach my client’s goals. This may mean that companies like [insert low-cost company name here] will undercut me with lower prices, but I’m okay with that. Often times their fees eventually surpass mine once you add in all the elements that I provide wholesale. Or worse, their work is mediocre and clients end up with a website that does nothing to grow their businesses. Regardless of what other companies do, I’m invested in getting results for my clients, not seeing how many websites I can turn over every week.
Trusting The Process
When I sign clients up for web design or marketing projects, I often refer them to my process throughout the project. I do this because I want them to understand that in order for us to achieve the goals they set out, they must trust the process. Growing your online presence from scratch takes time but when done correctly will generate great returns. I am a firm believer in transparency with my clients and want them to truly understand what it means to work with me. So, here’s to trusting the process and taking client’s businesses to the next level.