updated: January 25th, 2007 / Ross Johnson / 0 Comments

Web design firms need to do more for their clients

How common is this scenario

Client wants website, they contact firms for pricing, pick a firm, site is designed and developed, they contact them again when they need a refresher, maintenance, etc…

Pretty common, and some reading this might think why this is a problem?

Mutual Benefit from a broader relationship

It takes a lot of time, and effort to find a web design company you want to work with. On the other hand it takes a lot of time and effort to acquire most clients. Further, website owners need more than just a functional and attractive website to get the most out of their “web presence.”

It is to both client and providers benefit to go beyond simply doing a one off project that has some ongoing maintenance. We as firms should be catering to other aspects of a clients needs through technology and the web. So many companies live day to day through constant client acquisition, which dilutes the available support and attention they can give to current clients – as well as leaves them with a cut and dry service that is only half the picture. We need to do more, and clients should expect more.

This rant may sound like a simple “pay more attention to your clients” but that is not it. Designed and developed properly a website should provide a specific function. For many it is to generate leads, provide information, or specifically sell items. Through almost any website there will be an interaction between the user and the owner/staff. And of course, people need to know and find out about the website.

So what am I proposing?

My business plan has from the beginning been designed around an ongoing multi-level relationship with clients. Because of this business model my clients get more out of their website, well paying off it’s fees. It’s really little more than connecting all the online dots.

  • Promotion
  • Customer Relations
  • Refinement

Ok? So what do those mean?

Promotion

Promotion is probably the most common service that designers will offer beyond actual “design.” Promotion often times is little more than SEO or SEM. Many designers scoff that SEO is unethical and that good content is all that is need, they are “above” SEO. Well guess what, your clients are not.

If no one is visiting a clients site it is of little use, and simple writing off the idea because “it is listed on their print material” is not a valid excuse. We all need to become high quality link baiters, and find ways to get our clients websites listed in local online publications. Much like a news article, an online link/reference at a local hotspot can generate traffic and business.

Developing a website with out giving the client any help in promoting it is no different than an advertising agency filming a commercial but not giving the client any help on how/when/where to distribute it.

Customer Relations

How many web sites do you develop that have a contact form? All of them? Exactly. Keeping track of those who are filling out your forms is not only confusing and hard to organize but you can also gain some very valuable information about what market your site is targeting and appealing too.

There are plenty of open source Customer Relations software packages available that provide very powerful solutions in organizing and categorizing the data that is retrieved from your forms. Track when the last time you e-mailed a client that contacted you, you can sign people up for newsletters or drip campaigns, and get some very valuable statistics. Studies show that many buyers take 8-9 contacts before they buy – making this step easier can have a huge benefit on business.

Refinement

Web Statistics are extremely important in tweaking a web site to maximize its potential. Yet many web designers can’t be bothered to keep track of clients statistics to help them make changes that could take their site to a new level of lead generation. Sure you could sign a client up for Google Analytics and show them how to long in, but the chance that they will know what to do with the information that they are presented with is very low. As web experts we should be able to generate monthly reports focusing on the user trends and how to maximize or improve the site based on them.

Sounds like a lot more work?

Yes it is more work, and a lot of it is not terribly inspiring. However it improves your client relationships, helps them in their business, and it is something you can charge for monthly. With a “project” industry like web design it is very comforting to know that even if you don’t pick up a single client you are still having generous income through your SEO, CRM, and WebStats services.

This is not just a trick to get more money of course, business smart individuals will see the value in these services and be willing to pay monthly to use them. In a situation where everyone benefits mutually it is hard to find reasons not to offer this broader range of services.

How much do you do for your clients?