I just got off the phone with a web designer I’ve known for about a year from LinkedIn, Trent Smith. He runs Jango Studios, website design for attorneys. I had the privilege to peek deep into his web design business and see what’s working for him when it comes to finding clients. Here are my notes from the call …
A year ago, he mentally made the switch, the change in behavior which made his business less stressful and more profitable. When he started in 2007 he designed websites for any company. He always felt he should specialize but had the bit of uncertainty. He had worked with some law firms in the past and just never looked at them serious in terms of a niche until one of his close friends started a practice.
His friend needed to generate clients for his firm. The short of the long is the Trent developed a template, and mapped out content marketing and SEO plan and in 3 months, his attorney friend started getting clients from his website. After 6 months, it started to take off, and he was making a killing online – from searches. That success lead to referrals and more clients. This lead Trent to just focus on attorneys. And Trent slowly started transitioning his site to appeal to lawyers.
It was also about the time that Trent read my guide, Web Design Clients Galore. The book gave him the affirmation to do this. To focus on lawyers. Trent saw my website, profile and LinkedIn group and felt that niching to attorney’s made sense.
He found many benefits of specializing (niching). The benefits for niching is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every single client. It’s also not hard to find more attorneys in his area. There are 3,000 plus within 100 miles. And, they have a high demand for marketing and spend money on it. And, for him, it felt like a good fit. He also considered the blue-collar market, but found they weren’t as computer savvy as he’d like. They are more difficult to work with. Another great thing about niching down, you have fewer competitors in terms of SEO.
Some tips on the sales conversation – how to get clients to sign up. Trent asks a lot of questions. He allows clients to speak plenty, and tries to get to their pain point. He finds that these attorneys want to get more clients. So, it’s more than building a website. Thus, his services include marketing content and search optimization. (Kenn note: Trent is really positioning himself as their superhero, their teammate, their trusted advisor, and the high-paying, well-behaved clients love this).
You need to find what they really want, Trent explains. The analogy is the guy who went to buy the 4-inch drill bit. This guy isn’t after a drill bit. He’s after a quarter-inch hole. Therefore, keep the conversation to what they are really trying to get.
Also, Trent finds that the more business he gets, the more confident he is. The less needy he seems because he’s not seeking approval. And as a result, sales go up. When you don’t come across needy or desperate, it comes out in your tone of voice. And you become somebody they trust because you’re not just trying to sell them.
Trent’s focus going forward is on more search leads. The biggest thing. The important question in his mind, is how do I, personally get more leads. The things that have worked so far are his organic ranking and referrals, many starting to come from LinkedIn.
One piece of advice for newbie web designers on LinkedIn. Don’t expect overnight success. Trent connected with a lot of attorneys. He got to know them personally, without selling. Nine months later, these clients started reaching out to him and even book Trent online.
One of the biggest changes he made, was creating a well-defined website design process. Trent made it clear and systematic – something he was moved to do via The E-Myth. Now, due to his good marketing and smooth systems, Trent gets paid in full up front instead of the typical 50% to start and 50% upon completion.
His first-ever client was a parade float company. It was a referral from someone he can’t remember. Was like an $800 project. (Kenn note: to all newbie designers, and even seasoned ones, tell everyone about what you do – friends, family, connections, followers, colleagues, past employers … everyone).
Niching went well for Trent. He regrets not doing it earlier. He explained to me that one might think that niching means you can’t create new designs – but this isn’t true as each client is different from the next. They need different copy and visuals. While some structural and strategic elements will be similar, there is room to be creative. He explains that they (his design team) don’t try to get overly creative, but aim for a nice looking site but focus more on usability, marketing message, SEO and content marketing.
Trent, I wish you much more success and thanks for taking the time to chat!