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WEB SCHOOL Is this how you make sites that SELL?

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spirit

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Still feel unsure of how you make websites that actually sell.

From what I understand, this is the process:

Let's say it's a brick and mortar business, and they want more customers.

1. Visibility, getting people to actually visit the site
  • SEO
  • Online advertising (ex. Adwords)
2. Copywriting
  • Use language mixed with persuasive psychology (ex. the principles of influence)
  • Attract the ideal customer
3. The client gets results
  • Have clear and concise Call To Actions (in this example, a brick and mortar business would have a map, or a phone number)
In addition: small things to make the clients life easier, like having a FAQ, or a contact form.
 
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spirit

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Is there anything missing?

Just felt a bit lost on how you make websites that actually SELL for companies. :clench:
 
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Simon Angel

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You're looking at the wrong businesses if you want your site to really sell.

The brick and mortar store you're talking about, nobody here would truly make a difference to their business with a website, including Fox.

And that's simply because it's a physical business and the site would mostly serve as a business card more than anything else.

However, if you were to create an online store for the brick and mortar business and ran some PPC ads while also doing SEO work on every product page, then yes, you'd get them actual, quantitative results.
 

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Is there anything missing?

Just felt a bit lost on how you make websites that actually SELL for companies. :clench:
Look, the first and most important commandment in online marketing as a copywriter is PICK THE RIGHT CLIENTS. If you pick the right clients, even subpar copy will get results.

So THAT’S what you’re missing. You’re still under the spell cast by the pro copywriters who tell you that great copy can sell anything, which is wrong. It’s a huge struggle to sell anything. You need the right product-market fit to begin with.

Much easier to sell what people already want/need. So the most important thing is to find the right clients… clients who already have resources AND a solid business foundation (strategy, offer), and they just need the marketing spark that you give to create a big explosion of cash!
 

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Is there anything missing?

Just felt a bit lost on how you make websites that actually SELL for companies. :clench:

There are two main website types: those that complete a sale on the website (ecommerce) and those that help people move towards a sale (your typical website).

Dealing with the normal website here - you sell by getting the right message to the right people.

Start with the business - who are they, what do they do best, who do they help, what do those people want, and what do they need to see to trust this business as the people to work with.

Your website is just presenting this information in the best way possible and adding in any systems that make it easier for them to take the next step forward.

So how do you get this info?
- question the business owner
- study their business model and approach
- study the niche
- research competitors and/or similar niches

The website is just a box to put this info and these systems into - design won't get you the sales by itself.

Also keep in mind you don't need to create this info - it is there already. Study the business and find what they already do to get sales. And then just work on cleaning that up into a presentable website that presents it well.

Hope that helps.
 

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Look, the first and most important commandment in online marketing as a copywriter is PICK THE RIGHT CLIENTS. If you pick the right clients, even subpar copy will get results.

So THAT’S what you’re missing. You’re still under the spell cast by the pro copywriters who tell you that great copy can sell anything, which is wrong. It’s a huge struggle to sell anything. You need the right product-market fit to begin with.

Much easier to sell what people already want/need. So the most important thing is to find the right clients… clients who already have resources AND a solid business foundation (strategy, offer), and they just need the marketing spark that you give to create a big explosion of cash!

100% - can they already sell (and are selling) what they do? This needs to be a yes or ideally a strong yes.

If they aren't then you won't to be able to fix a bad business with a good website.

Start with people with a great business and then just help them represent that online.
 

spirit

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I was going to select a small local coffee shop as a starting platform, but I suppose that was a bad idea?

I also suppose I was misled by copywriters, as they gave me the impression that I'd be able to sell any company with words.

I feel like I'm lacking knowledge in marketing, and in particular online marketing. Are there any books you would recommend?
 

Liberty84

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you won't to be able to fix a bad business with a good website.


So true!

I was going to select a small local coffee shop as a starting platform, but I suppose that was a bad idea?

What is special about them? Before you can convince other people about buying their product, find what would make you buy their product (if you were in the potential customers shoes)?

As explained in Unscripted , it's all about relative value. It might be a nice coffee shop, but if it doesn't have anything that distinguishes it from a hundred others, that'll be a complicated road.
I'd go out figuring out what makes them special (if any), and if there is an addressable market (also means close enough for an offline shop) for that kind of special.
 

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I was going to select a small local coffee shop as a starting platform, but I suppose that was a bad idea?

I also suppose I was misled by copywriters, as they gave me the impression that I'd be able to sell any company with words.

I feel like I'm lacking knowledge in marketing, and in particular online marketing. Are there any books you would recommend?
A small local coffee shop is not a bad idea at all.

Think it through like this.

Will the coffee shop likely sell more if they have a website than if they don't have one?

Yes.

Does this particular coffee shop have a website?

If no, then ANYTHING you put up will probably be better than nothing. You'll have a great portfolio piece. Go for it.

If yes, then what is their current website missing and how can you improve it?

This is where your expertise comes in, because it could be anything.

- Their branding could need improvement
- Their design could look outdated
- They might need better seo
- They might be missing an online menu
- Maybe they're missing online ordering and curbside pickup
- Maybe the site doesn't do a good job of portraying why they're special
- etc

The question is, can you confidently look at the site and say, "Yeah, I can improve this!"

Whatever you identify that they need to improve, sell that.

But sell it in the context of meeting a business goal. It's not just, "Your site is missing an online menu," it's, "Your potential customers are not able to tell if you would be a good coffee shop, because they can't see what there is to order. This is likely hurting your conversions."

Hope this helps!
 

spirit

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A small local coffee shop is not a bad idea at all.

Think it through like this.

Will the coffee shop likely sell more if they have a website than if they don't have one?

Yes.

Does this particular coffee shop have a website?

If no, then ANYTHING you put up will probably be better than nothing. You'll have a great portfolio piece. Go for it.

If yes, then what is their current website missing and how can you improve it?

This is where your expertise comes in, because it could be anything.

- Their branding could need improvement
- Their design could look outdated
- They might need better seo
- They might be missing an online menu
- Maybe they're missing online ordering and curbside pickup
- Maybe the site doesn't do a good job of portraying why they're special
- etc

The question is, can you confidently look at the site and say, "Yeah, I can improve this!"

Whatever you identify that they need to improve, sell that.

But sell it in the context of meeting a business goal. It's not just, "Your site is missing an online menu," it's, "Your potential customers are not able to tell if you would be a good coffee shop, because they can't see what there is to order. This is likely hurting your conversions."

Hope this helps!

Wow, that was great advice! So, it's OK to target brick and mortar businesses, assuming they actually have a viable business?

The coffee shops I'm considering don't have websites. They only have Facebook pages. I have a feeling they are mostly word of mouth. How would I sell this is in terms of business goals?

Also, on this forum, I noticed a lot of people talk about online marketing, which I know nothing about! Are there any books you would recommend, so I don't have to bug people with so many questions?

Thanks! :)
 

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The coffee shops I'm considering don't have websites. They only have Facebook pages. I have a feeling they are mostly word of mouth. How would I sell this is in terms of business goals?
An easy way to do this would be to talk about how most people find coffee shops. They go to Google maps and look for "coffee shops near me."

If your coffee shop doesn't have a Google maps listing linked to a website, you're definitely hurting your visibility and limiting your foot traffic.

Here's a good book that I think would be a great starting place:
 
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I also suppose I was misled by copywriters, as they gave me the impression that I'd be able to sell any company with words.
If it would be as easy as that, the richest people on the planet would be copywriters. However, you will find no copywriter amongst the billionaires. And you'll struggle to find one or two people who were copywriters at one previous point in their lives, if even that in the billionaire class. No billionaire copywriters come to mind. The closest would be Tom Anderson, founder of MySpace, who worked as a copywriter previously.

So no, you definitely cannot sell anything with words, at least not profitably. Sure, you may find one or two dumb people who will buy just about anything, but you will not find a mass-market demand that you can sell into and make millions or billions through copywriting alone.

I feel like I'm lacking knowledge in marketing, and in particular online marketing. Are there any books you would recommend?
My recommendation is to just go out there and try getting clients. The coffee shop is imo not a great idea. I'd start looking at people who need websites for serious reasons... construction companies, oil companies, real estate companies tend to be great choices. They all use websites as brochures to illustrate their capabilities to investors and other potential clients, and the websites "sell" based on how efficiently they do this. In addition, one sale = a lot of cash for these companies. One sale for a coffee shop is nothing.

I recommend that you think BIG from the very start. There is little to no benefit that you get by trying to work with small potato businesses.
 

spirit

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An easy way to do this would be to talk about how most people find coffee shops. They go to Google maps and look for "coffee shops near me."

If your coffee shop doesn't have a Google maps listing linked to a website, you're definitely hurting your visibility and limiting your foot traffic.

Here's a good book that I think works be a great starting place:

Hmm, their Facebook pages already have directions, and on Google Maps. Is there anything I could do for these businesses with a web site? They don't have websites, but I don't know if there's any way I could add value.

And, haha, I did read that book. I learned how it's important to sell results, and not just a website. Before I read that book, my mindset was totally off. I was trying to sell pretty websites that did nothing. Maybe I should read a certain section again? Or are there any books that go deeper into online marketing?
 

spirit

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If it would be as easy as that, the richest people on the planet would be copywriters. However, you will find no copywriter amongst the billionaires. And you'll struggle to find one or two people who were copywriters at one previous point in their lives, if even that in the billionaire class. No billionaire copywriters come to mind. The closest would be Tom Anderson, founder of MySpace, who worked as a copywriter previously.

So no, you definitely cannot sell anything with words, at least not profitably. Sure, you may find one or two dumb people who will buy just about anything, but you will not find a mass-market demand that you can sell into and make millions or billions through copywriting alone.


My recommendation is to just go out there and try getting clients. The coffee shop is imo not a great idea. I'd start looking at people who need websites for serious reasons... construction companies, oil companies, real estate companies tend to be great choices. They all use websites as brochures to illustrate their capabilities to investors and other potential clients, and the websites "sell" based on how efficiently they do this. In addition, one sale = a lot of cash for these companies. One sale for a coffee shop is nothing.

I recommend that you think BIG from the very start. There is little to no benefit that you get by trying to work with small potato businesses.

How do I gain their trust though? The coffee shops are very small potatoes, but I've been to them many times.
 

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How do I gain their trust though? The coffee shops are very small potatoes, but I've been to them many times.
Gaining their trust is not the first step. The first step is initiating conversation and getting their interest. After they are interested, THEN you get their trust.

As for books, there are no step by step books for what you should do, simply because the tactics vary widely from industry to industry.

A good tactic though is to search stuff that you're interested about and you have good knowledge about on Google and like/join pages/groups related to it on Facebook, and see what sort of ads you see. People who are paying money for ads have a direct interest in copywriting. Then you can have a look at both their landing pages and their ads copy. In fact, you can start just by trying to beat their control for the ads. These people are already spending money to get customers. They are who you should target. PROVEN BUYERS.

In the podcast episode I'm releasing this Monday, I go over the factors you should look for in your audience, but basically:
1. They have MONEY - if they don't, stop wasting your time.
2. They are HUNGRY - they have a strong desire to find a solution for their problem, a burning itch.
3. They are proven BUYERS - they bought (or likely bought) similar things in the past for the same sort of problems.

If you're interested, I recommend you watch Monday's episode. You can find it here once it's released.
 

spirit

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I'm getting some mixed messages.

Some people say starting with a coffee shop is a good start, and some say it's a waste of time.
Some are saying to go for the BIG companies first, while some say to first build trust.

In @Fox's book, a coffee shop could be a starting point. And, there's an entire chapter on starting with people who trust you.

So f*ck it, I'm going to take action.

I'll contact these 2 local coffee shops, who are already proven to be viable businesses.

I will ask them if they are looking for a website that could represent their business.

Then, I'll ask questions to figure out their problems.

After that, I'll see what problems I could solve with a website. Hopefully they'll see more customers, because I'll point the entire site towards action.

Worst case scenario, they have a site that represents their business, giving them an edge over all the coffee shops that don't. If no one bites, I'll learn more about sales.
 

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I'm getting some mixed messages.

Some people say starting with a coffee shop is a good start, and some say it's a waste of time.
Some are saying to go for the BIG companies first, while some say to first build trust.

In @Fox's book, a coffee shop could be a starting point. And, there's an entire chapter on starting with people who trust you.

So f*ck it, I'm going to take action.

I'll contact these 2 local coffee shops, who are already proven to be viable businesses.

I will ask them if they are looking for a website that could represent their business.

Then, I'll ask questions to figure out their problems.

After that, I'll see what problems I could solve with a website. Hopefully they'll see more customers, because I'll point the entire site towards action.

Worst case scenario, they have a site that represents their business, giving them an edge over all the coffee shops that don't. If no one bites, I'll learn more about sales.
They are different strategies, what matters is that you pick one, stick with it, and make it work! :thumbsup:

So you've done the right thing, congratulations! Let's hear some progress on this soon. Don't overthink things!
 

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Some people say starting with a coffee shop is a good start, and some say it's a waste of time.
Some are saying to go for the BIG companies first, while some say to first build trust.

In @Fox's book, a coffee shop could be a starting point. And, there's an entire chapter on starting with people who trust you.

So f*ck it, I'm going to take action.

I'll contact these 2 local coffee shops, who are already proven to be viable businesses.

I will ask them if they are looking for a website that could represent their business.

Then, I'll ask questions to figure out their problems.

After that, I'll see what problems I could solve with a website. Hopefully they'll see more customers, because I'll point the entire site towards action.

Worst case scenario, they have a site that represents their business, giving them an edge over all the coffee shops that don't. If no one bites, I'll learn more about sales.

Way important than the type of business for now is that they actually have something real you can help with.

Starting projects are to show you can solve problems.

That being said start at the level you feel is is right for you at the moment - if you feel you can provide some real value to a coffee shop then they are a good pick for now.
 

spirit

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Way important than the type of business for now is that they actually have something real you can help with.

Starting projects are to show you can solve problems.

That being said start at the level you feel is is right for you at the moment - if you feel you can provide some real value to a coffee shop then they are a good pick for now.

OK, I got pretty gung-ho there, but this is a valid point.

Is there a way I could screen potential clients and see if they actually have solvable problems?

Oh yeah, and I made a Facebook account to contact this coffee company, and Facebook disabled my account! Maybe they thought it was spam? I don't know, but if I decide to still pursue this company, I'll have to go in person.
 

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I'm getting some mixed messages.

Some people say starting with a coffee shop is a good start, and some say it's a waste of time.
Some are saying to go for the BIG companies first, while some say to first build trust.

In @Fox's book, a coffee shop could be a starting point. And, there's an entire chapter on starting with people who trust you.

So f*ck it, I'm going to take action.

I'll contact these 2 local coffee shops, who are already proven to be viable businesses.

I will ask them if they are looking for a website that could represent their business.

Then, I'll ask questions to figure out their problems.

After that, I'll see what problems I could solve with a website. Hopefully they'll see more customers, because I'll point the entire site towards action.

Worst case scenario, they have a site that represents their business, giving them an edge over all the coffee shops that don't. If no one bites, I'll learn more about sales.
Congrats on taking action.

Is there a way I could screen potential clients and see if they actually have solvable problems?
Everybody has solvable problems. The question is whether you can solve them.

The way you find out what problems a business has is to ask questions.

The bigger the problem you can solve, the more you will likely be able to be rewarded.

If you're not comfortable solving the bigger problems yet, look at the coffee shop as an opportunity to hone your sales skills as well as your problem solving skills.

Find out what their problems are, present them with an offer of how you will solve their problem, and then do research if needed to be able to deliver on your promise.
 

spirit

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This might seem like a step back, but I don't see any problems I could solve with this coffee shop.

They get customers through word of mouth, and they are doing very well by that. They have high ratings on Facebook. Their Facebook account handles their web presence. They have pictures, including their menu, and directions on a Google Map. What else can I do with a web site?

How do I find businesses that have glaring problems I could solve?
 

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How do I find businesses that have glaring problems I could solve?

Any local company near you with an advertised Sales or Marketing Vacancy, by default, is about to throw $tens of thousands at a problem you could fix.

So if you want to create lead generating or sales websites look for companies who employ active sales staff rather then passive sales staff . eg The suppliers of equipment to coffee shops have the former and the actual coffee shops have the latter.

Dan
 

spirit

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Any local company near you with an advertised Sales or Marketing Vacancy, by default, is about to throw $tens of thousands at a problem you could fix.

How do I find such a company? And by advertised sales or marketing vacancy, do you mean companies that have no advertising or marketing plan? I really need to learn more about sales and marketing. My knowledge is very limited at this point, so if I need to, what do you recommend I read?

So if you want to create lead generating or sales websites look for companies who employ active sales staff rather then passive sales staff . eg The suppliers of equipment to coffee shops have the former and the actual coffee shops have the latter.

I'm looking to solve any major problems. This way I can use case studies in my portfolio, and leverage my types of clients.

I just figured sales would be a good focus, because all businesses need a cash flow. By sales, I meant anything that increases customers.
 
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You might try flipping it around so instead of asking:

How does this website sell x?

you can ask:

How does a person buy x?

Then you can ask:

How can a website help someone buy x?

People buy things for all sorts of reasons. For most businesses out there, the sale doesn't happen on the website. The website might be the first interaction they have with the business because they found it on Google or whatever but usually the person will get in touch with the people at the business to finish the buying process.

A few ways a website might help someone buy are:
  1. Convey professionalism - pro design, logo, clean and orderly, copywriting, etc.
  2. Garner trust - social proof, reviews, pictures, about page etc.
  3. Provide pertinent information - copywriting, blogs, spec sheets, etc.
  4. Provide a means of contacting someone - contact forms, phone numbers, etc.

My company builds website for businesses, mostly local service businesses. Their customers usually find them online, vet them by reading reviews and browsing the website, and then move offline to get a quote. Sometimes they will return to the site after getting a quote and seek additional information or compare various companies. I see this a lot.

If you're talking about an ecom website or perhaps a landing page for an online course or something, then in this case the website might actually do the selling. This is done through copywriting, videos, social proof, etc. Often times the sale moves to another medium such as email marketing.

At the end of the day, it's all about helping people get what they want. That's why I like to look at it as "helping people buy" rather than "selling". Selling implies you are convincing someone to do something but in reality it's the people that want to buy that buy.
 

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How do I find such a company? And by advertised sales or marketing vacancy, do you mean companies that have no advertising or marketing plan?

To clarify, I was referring to companies near you that have sales jobs going.

You might see a board outside or a newspaper Ad.

I have just clicked onto an online job site and keyed in Sales Representatives and town name and 581 jobs have popped up.

On the first page which shows 20, dismissing the IT Enterprise sales and Charity Door Knocking type things there are three that would possibly be relevant.

1) A small family run security company

2) A company that does Edge Banding Supplies (a term I have never heard of)

3) A family Electrical Wholesalers

All are offering in the range of £35k to £45k plus car, laptop, 25 days holiday etc etc plus commission.

The commission bit tells me straight away these companies need leads.

This exercise alone can open your mind to what types of industries need regular sales that a website can solve.

So now I can look at the security company online and see what their website is like. If it is better than I could do, I wouldn't approach them but can now look at other local security companies. One will have a rubbish site from 2012 that can do with an upgrade for reasons stated in above posts by the others.

See? I am skimming the local area for companies that are actively looking for sales and have staff to deal with sales enquiries. They all need enquiries so even a simple, smart new brochure style website will be of benefit to the ones with bad web presence and I am sure you can accomplish this.

After a while you will instinctively know which businesses are good fits. eg A local jewellery shop can sell nationwide with a decent site, a gym needs more members, a florist, service based companies, small pet shop etc.

A newsagent, corner shop? Not really.

Dan
 

spirit

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To clarify, I was referring to companies near you that have sales jobs going.

You might see a board outside or a newspaper Ad.

I have just clicked onto an online job site and keyed in Sales Representatives and town name and 581 jobs have popped up.

On the first page which shows 20, dismissing the IT Enterprise sales and Charity Door Knocking type things there are three that would possibly be relevant.

1) A small family run security company

2) A company that does Edge Banding Supplies (a term I have never heard of)

3) A family Electrical Wholesalers

All are offering in the range of £35k to £45k plus car, laptop, 25 days holiday etc etc plus commission.

The commission bit tells me straight away these companies need leads.

This exercise alone can open your mind to what types of industries need regular sales that a website can solve.

So now I can look at the security company online and see what their website is like. If it is better than I could do, I wouldn't approach them but can now look at other local security companies. One will have a rubbish site from 2012 that can do with an upgrade for reasons stated in above posts by the others.

See? I am skimming the local area for companies that are actively looking for sales and have staff to deal with sales enquiries. They all need enquiries so even a simple, smart new brochure style website will be of benefit to the ones with bad web presence and I am sure you can accomplish this.

After a while you will instinctively know which businesses are good fits. eg A local jewellery shop can sell nationwide with a decent site, a gym needs more members, a florist, service based companies, small pet shop etc.

A newsagent, corner shop? Not really.

Dan

That's a great idea for brainstorming businesses. Thanks!
 

spirit

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You might try flipping it around so instead of asking:

How does this website sell x?

you can ask:

How does a person buy x?

Then you can ask:

How can a website help someone buy x?

People buy things for all sorts of reasons. For most businesses out there, the sale doesn't happen on the website. The website might be the first interaction they have with the business because they found it on Google or whatever but usually the person will get in touch with the people at the business to finish the buying process.

A few ways a website might help someone buy are:
  1. Convey professionalism - pro design, logo, clean and orderly, copywriting, etc.
  2. Garner trust - social proof, reviews, pictures, about page etc.
  3. Provide pertinent information - copywriting, blogs, spec sheets, etc.
  4. Provide a means of contacting someone - contact forms, phone numbers, etc.

My company builds website for businesses, mostly local service businesses. Their customers usually find them online, vet them by reading reviews and browsing the website, and then move offline to get a quote. Sometimes they will return to the site after getting a quote and seek additional information or compare various companies. I see this a lot.

If you're talking about an ecom website or perhaps a landing page for an online course or something, then in this case the website might actually do the selling. This is done through copywriting, videos, social proof, etc. Often times the sale moves to another medium such as email marketing.

At the end of the day, it's all about helping people get what they want. That's why I like to look at it as "helping people buy" rather than "selling". Selling implies you are convincing someone to do something but in reality it's the people that want to buy that buy.

This answer was very important to me, so thank you!

You are right, I should have rephrased it as "helping people buy". I think when I said "selling", some people thought of eCommerce, or sites that directly sell, like landing pages.

Here's the thing though, I can help people buy for any business that doesn't have a website. How does your company pick and choose?

I know @Fox says to solve business problems. Well, would helping people buy be a major problem that I could solve?

For example, I wanted to do a local coffee shop. They don't have a website, although they have a Facebook page. However, would a website help people buy? I think so.
 
Last edited:

Simon Angel

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Apr 24, 2016
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This answer was very important to me, so thank you!

You are right, I should have rephrased it as "helping people buy". I think when I said "selling", some people thought of eCommerce, or sites that directly sell, like landing pages.

Here's the thing though, I can help people buy for any business that doesn't have a website. How does your company pick and choose?

I know @Fox says to solve business problems. Well, would helping people buy be a major problem that I could solve?

For example, I wanted to do a local coffee shop. They don't have a website, although they have a Facebook page. However, would a website help people buy? I think so.

That's not how it works. When your business is in services and you're working with a client you should be focusing on THEIR clients.

How to get THEIR clients to buy. How to get THEIR clients to click on CTAs more. How to make it easier for THEIR clients to navigate through the website and convert.

I don't think every business REALLY needs a website i.e that they'd get amazing results from it. But you can never know without setting up a meet.

Also, you need to learn to ask the right questions to your prospects.

Don't just walk in and start blabbering on and on about how the website you're going to make for them is supposedly going to help them make more sales. You still have NO idea if that's so, and they don't either.

It all boils down to letting the prospect talk because, at the end of the day, they're the one who knows their business inside out. And by letting them speak, they'll usually serve you their problems on a silver platter.

Then, all you need to do is link their problem to a solution that involves web design.

And if you don't get a lightbulb moment while you're talking to the client, just tell them you're going to need a few days to come up with viable solutions to support the areas they lack in.

It's all about identifying a problem, coming up with a way to solve it, presenting your idea to the client (preferably backed by data), and charging for your services.

With time, you'll acquire enough confidence and experience to go after much bigger, THRIVING businesses than the local coffee shop and help them thrive even more.
 

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