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Helping successful old-school companies with a shitty online presence

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Idea threads

Dimitron

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Hey, brothers-in-arms!

TLDR: I've found a non-scalable, but highly paid freelancing gig idea that could support me until my Fastlane business picks up. I want to stress test it with you guys. :)

(There was a thread or two covering this topic, I just can't find it! If anyone could point me to it, I'd appreciate it.)

So let me explain this via an example:

Today just out of curiosity, I googled around how much does a concrete mixer truck driver makes. I didn't find an answer. I'm not even sure if they're freelancers or employees.

Anyway, I did stumble upon several companies that offer construction services that boil down to pouring concrete.

One thing in common with all of these concrete companies was that their web presence... left a lot to be desired. Their websites' were straight out of the 2010s. They looked outdated by even those standards, let alone today.

Now, in Hungary, companies' have public records on the internet - it shows stuff like date of registration, numbers of owners, number of employees, and net revenue.

One of these companies had net revenue of ~1.000.000 euros last year, with 11 employees!

So I was thinking, maybe there's an opportunity here?

I'm by no means a designer or developer - but over the years, I managed webstores, blogs, and websites. I learned to use Webflow - a website builder with unlimited customization. It has a learning curve (that I surmounted) but requires no coding (but you could, if you wanted to).

I'm pretty sure I could create a top-notch web presence (website, Facebook, google my business, etc.) for these sons of bitches.

So, I'm thinking, maybe I could pitch it to them?

I would quote a high, but reasonable price based on results - not on hours worked. Probably in the 1-3k range. For these guys, the average client probably pays thousands of dollars per gig. I could ask, "How many people find you on the internet?". Then I could say, "Do you want to double that?"

And this is just one company in one industry.

I'm curious how you guys would go about it:

- how would you pitch it to the clients
- should I email, call or go there in person?
- pricing
- service scope (what should be included, deliverables, etc.)
- anything I'm missing here

Thanks to anyone who chips in. :)
 
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Andy Black

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Sounds something @Fox and his programme go through.


I’m curious about this part though:

I could ask, "How many people find you on the internet?". Then I could say, "Do you want to double that?"

How will you double the number of people who find them on the internet?
 

Dimitron

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Feb 13, 2015
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Sounds something @Fox and his programme go through.


I’m curious about this part though:



How will you double the number of people who find them on the internet?
Thanks, I think I was looking for exactly for this Fox guy!

I just threw that out there - obviously, in the beginning, I wouldn't have social proof or case studies of previous customers to convince them.

I'd adjust my pitch based on the results of my past jobs - I'd need a few case studies and then follow-up on them.

I could show them, "Look, this [INSERT INDUSTRY] business that I worked with had an X increase in organic traffic and Z increase in revenue". I can't promise results, but it's highly likely results would improve considerably.

I know for a fact, that simply by moving their website to web flow and implementing a decent design they'd rank higher in google (faster website speed, better UX). And that's not even counting improved conversion rates and other KPI improvements.
 

Tiago

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What if they answer "0" to your question of how many clients they find through their website? Seeing as their web presence is already shitty, that doesn't seem unlikely.

I'm all for your idea, but perhaps @Fox has some good ideas on how to explain the value proposition in a way that makes sense to them.

If they were tech-savvy and understood how important an online presence is, they would already have it.
 
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MTF

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One problem I see here is that in these industries people often don't give a f*ck about a website. Their clients don't care. Their suppliers don't care. They don't care. It's all done oldschool with a phone and a handshake and nobody wants to change that—unless you find young, more open-minded players.
 

Jerma

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Your plan rely on you approaching people that don't feel like they need a good online presence (otherwise, they would have one) and convincing them that #1 they need one and #2 you are the most qualified person to do it.

In my experience, this kind of pitching is tough to pull off, but possible if you are great a selling I guess.

Imo, it would be easier to educate your prospects first and let them come to you. Maybe do your first job for FREE. Write a case study and blog posts about it. Show up to relevant conferences and talk about it. Idk, just an idea.

@Andy Black has a great thread about becoming "The XYZ Guy" HOT! - MARKETING - How to use forums (and Facebook groups)
 

Andreas Thiel

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Immediately thought of Fox as well. I think his book is:

$1,000,000 Web Designer Guide: A Practical Guide for Wealth and Freedom as an Online Freelancer (English Edition)​


What I remember from it is that business owners usually have maybe 2 top priorities (web design is rarely it - in their eyes) and everything else suffers.
Instead of promising things and mentioning how shitty everything is you should get a pitch meeting and just get them to talk.
Then discuss if you can solve the problems that they bring up with web design.

I have worked for a company with 1m revenue and more than 10 people before. They really had to worry about costs because that was roughly the amount that kept the company afloat.
 
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Dimitron

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Some of these objections are valid ("If they cared about it, they would've already done it", "Web presence is not important, people do deals offline").

My answer is: this sort of thinking makes you give up before you even try.

Yes, maybe some of them don't care about an online presence or aren't interested. But maybe some of them have never been pitched at all, or never been pitched well or been offered a compelling offer. Or [insert reason].

Maybe I just need to be at the right place and time.

The way I think about it: It's a numbers game. All I need is a 1-5% conversion rate. There are definitely enough "yes companies" out there out of thousands for me to earn a decent income. If Fox and his students managed to pitch companies and get work, then the whole business model is proven to work.
 

Speed112

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Over here, over there.
As other people have pointed out... There's a reason their websites are stuck in the 10s or even 00s.

I've tried pitching these type of people for copy, and while I got a few clients and things went ok, the overall sales experience is a nightmare. They are not people who are in the market for your service and you basically have to take them through the entire buyer's journey before they convert.

And then they don't understand the value of the service and scoff at whatever number you throw at them even if it's 50% of the market rate. "Pfft... my sister's kid is good with computers. I'll have him give it a go. Thanks."

It's definitely a good avenue to approach. Their contact info is public. Their revenue is public. And you can directly qualify their business' need for your service.

But there's a difference between the business' need and the business owner's need.

In their mind, they don't need whatever you have to offer to have a successful business. They already have a successful business. They're not hungry for a solution.

They are hungry for something, though...

What worked better for me was discussing their pains and frustrations first and then trying to collaboratively figure out how to solve them. They've already tried a whole bunch of stuff and if you act like you're a know-it-all who has the thing they've always missed they'll just look down on you as an arrogant prick.

If you frame it as a discovery process, though, they will be a lot more receptive to feedback and ideas, may open up to trying new things, and then when you prove to them that the new thing actually works for them and their specific audience (because they think they're special after all) then you can use that success to pitch them a big long-term contract for above-market rates.

Ideally, try to get them to be the ones who come up with the website idea. "Do you have any systems in place to attract clients that aren't doing too well?" "Actually, we do have a website and I don't remember the last time someone sent us an email off it. Maybe we could do something about it." -> Bam opportunity to agitate and propose a solution.

They will never find the time to focus on these things on their own, because they're swamped with work and are focusing 100% on the few things that drive their business. Things they've entrenched over decades of the same method. You can't easily get them to look at alternatives, but what you can do is get them to trust you to do it on your own, have them throw some cash your way for the privilege, and then you'll have the chance to bring them results.

Once you have the results then they'll listen.

Good luck.
 

Jerma

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I've tried pitching these type of people for copy, and while I got a few clients and things went ok, the overall sales experience is a nightmare. They are not people who are in the market for your service and you basically have to take them through the entire buyer's journey before they convert.

That's exactly it. Most people won't even be in the "awareness" stage of the buyer's journey funnel. They don't know that they don't know. It takes a lot of effort to walk someone through the entire funnel.

The funnel is like this :

Unaware
\/
Aware (pain/problem aware)
\/
Consideration (solution aware)
\/
Decision (provider aware)
\/
Sale

Most people are in the upper stages and aren't even close to buying from you unless you build trust and educate them first.

I recommend the book The 1-Page Marketing Plan. He talks about how to switch from the "hunter" approach to the "farmer" approach.
 
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I Am I Said

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hey @Dimitron I totally agree with your idea, it's exactly what I'm trying to do. I feel like the guy who says, I like hamsters too - we should share recipes!

Your progress thread makes mine sound like a corpse that accidentally started talking, but quietly.

Somewhere on here there's a link to a Freshbooks ebook on turning web design into a value proposition. I think that's the answer. They may not realize that a digital upgrade would solve something for them, but there's no way they have no problems to talk about.

I'd love to keep trading notes with you. I see no reason a business like this couldn't first grow then scale, with the number of cheap web designers out there who know nothing about business.
 

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Hey, brothers-in-arms!

TLDR: I've found a non-scalable, but highly paid freelancing gig idea that could support me until my Fastlane business picks up. I want to stress test it with you guys. :)

(There was a thread or two covering this topic, I just can't find it! If anyone could point me to it, I'd appreciate it.)

So let me explain this via an example:

Today just out of curiosity, I googled around how much does a concrete mixer truck driver makes. I didn't find an answer. I'm not even sure if they're freelancers or employees.

Anyway, I did stumble upon several companies that offer construction services that boil down to pouring concrete.

One thing in common with all of these concrete companies was that their web presence... left a lot to be desired. Their websites' were straight out of the 2010s. They looked outdated by even those standards, let alone today.

Now, in Hungary, companies' have public records on the internet - it shows stuff like date of registration, numbers of owners, number of employees, and net revenue.

One of these companies had net revenue of ~1.000.000 euros last year, with 11 employees!

So I was thinking, maybe there's an opportunity here?

I'm by no means a designer or developer - but over the years, I managed webstores, blogs, and websites. I learned to use Webflow - a website builder with unlimited customization. It has a learning curve (that I surmounted) but requires no coding (but you could, if you wanted to).

I'm pretty sure I could create a top-notch web presence (website, Facebook, google my business, etc.) for these sons of bitches.

So, I'm thinking, maybe I could pitch it to them?

I would quote a high, but reasonable price based on results - not on hours worked. Probably in the 1-3k range. For these guys, the average client probably pays thousands of dollars per gig. I could ask, "How many people find you on the internet?". Then I could say, "Do you want to double that?"

And this is just one company in one industry.

I'm curious how you guys would go about it:

- how would you pitch it to the clients
- should I email, call or go there in person?
- pricing
- service scope (what should be included, deliverables, etc.)
- anything I'm missing here

Thanks to anyone who chips in. :)

Ya, this is basically the overall idea of freelancer web design and there are a ton of businesses that need help with this.

As for prospecting, there are lots of different ways to reach out - you can do that in many different ways.

What matters most with selling something like this is that you have a full conversation with them.

Why this matters is you need to find out what is most important to the business first - and then you can see how to sell a website by connecting it to that. Basically, don't just make it about the website, make it about their overall goals.

The great thing about a website is it can be sold in many different ways (it increase leads, you can better communicate your value, you can build more trust, you can have better systems etc). So as long as you know what problems or goals really matter to them at the moment you should have a really good chance of connecting a website to that.

Also what can help a lot to get the attention of potential clients is having one good case study already. So just focus on getting one good project for now and then focus on how to leverage that int much bigger sales.
 
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AusTex

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Concrete guys are on personal, business to business relationships mostly. You'd do better targeting concrete companies that do retail work as well. Or just promise to have it done asap for a set amount. These guys are in the field all day and don't have time to coordinate and go back and forth on these things. Source, I'm in concrete.
 

dkohara

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Some of these objections are valid ("If they cared about it, they would've already done it", "Web presence is not important, people do deals offline").

My answer is: this sort of thinking makes you give up before you even try.

Yes, maybe some of them don't care about an online presence or aren't interested. But maybe some of them have never been pitched at all, or never been pitched well or been offered a compelling offer. Or [insert reason].

Maybe I just need to be at the right place and time.

The way I think about it: It's a numbers game. All I need is a 1-5% conversion rate. There are definitely enough "yes companies" out there out of thousands for me to earn a decent income. If Fox and his students managed to pitch companies and get work, then the whole business model is proven to work.

Don’t pitch. Ask them what help they need and just point out what you can do to increase their orders. You may not even need to build a website for them at all. You could just optimise their GMB presence. If they haven’t got a website, local search is probably where they get their business. If they haven’t claimed their GMB profile you could work miracles for them quite quickly.

Do all this for free at first, then see how it improves things for them. You need a measurable metric, like the number of local Google searches, number of phone calls, etc. Then just say if they’re impressed with improvements, would they like you to continue improvements? Only then talk about a fee.

Just my thoughts,

Dave
 

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