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Landing Web Design Clients: A Comprehensive Guide

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Landing Web Design Clients: A Comprehensive Guide

Discover proven strategies for landing web design clients, focusing on local businesses. Learn about different methods of outreach, the power of local SEO, and the golden question that opens doors.


In the world of web design, landing clients can often seem like a daunting task. However, I’ve found that selling websites to local businesses is the easiest way to land web design clients. In this article, I’ll share my five proven strategies to find these local clients, provide an example of one of my local business projects, and reveal the golden question that I ask every prospect to get them interested in hiring me for a website project.

The Advantage of Local Focus

Focusing on a local geographical area has its advantages. There’s less competition as you don’t have to compete with all the other web designers worldwide. Usually, if you look at just your city, there’s just a handful of other designers, making it a lot easier for you to compete and stand out.

Understanding Local Businesses

One thing to keep in mind about selling websites to local businesses is that these are not going to be $10,000 – $20,000 websites. Typically, these companies have smaller budgets, and you should aim to charge between $3,000 and $5,000 for a website. Of course, this will depend on the client’s budget and their needs.

Local businesses rarely need some type of custom website or custom solution. Typically, they just need a standard brochure website with a few pages. So while these are going to be lower ticket projects, they’re going to be faster to turn around, easier to manage, and easier to find. For most of these, you can use templates to build the website because the clients don’t care.

The Power of Referrals

The best part of working locally is the insane referral potential. If you do a good job for one company, they’re much more likely to recommend you to some other local business. In tight-knit communities, people talk, especially business owners.

Five Methods to Find Local Clients

1. Cold Outreach

Cold outreach often gets a bad rap because it is one of the less effective ways. But what I found is on a local scale, it works well. It never is purely cold outreach. A lot of times, you can make it feel like warm outreach because you live in the same community, have common interests, and have common connections. It’s really easy to bring something up that’s relevant and personal to them, so it’s not going to feel like cold outreach, and they’re much more likely to respond to you.

Cold outreach can be done through a phone call, an email, and through social media. I found the most success doing cold outreach through Facebook because it seems that Facebook is a lot better at keeping things grouped into communities, whether that’s a Facebook group or just common connections that you have through your friends.

2. Local SEO

Local SEO is my bread and butter. It doesn’t take a whole lot for you to rank toward the top in the organic search results and on the maps. All you need to do is create a Google business profile, which is completely free. You need to verify your location, which you can just use your home location if you don’t have an office, and then you can hide that location on your listing. Then, you’re going to want to start collecting Google reviews. If you don’t have any past clients to ask for a review, you can ask friends and family, people who know you, know your work, and know your character, because the more reviews you have, the higher you’ll rank.

3. Open Your Mouth (OYM)

The third method is called OYM, or “Open Your Mouth”. This is exactly what it sounds like. You just need to be willing, confident, and brave enough to open your mouth and talk to everyone you can about what you do. I’ve sold websites to my dentist, to my gym, to people that go to my church, and to people that live in my neighborhood. It doesn’t take a whole lot, and you don’t have to come across as sales. Just be quick to open your mouth and share with people what it is that you do.

Case Study: Landing a Client via Facebook

I want to share a website that I landed back at the end of 2018, early on in my web design career. This was a website client that I landed via Facebook. This wasn’t a Facebook friend. This was a friend that I had on Facebook who posted about this new gym opening, and it was a friend of theirs, so kind of like a mutual friend.

I reached out to this individual, who was opening a gym in Idaho Falls. I mentioned that I saw their post about the gym opening, and shared that I grew up in Idaho Falls, and owned a digital agency that helped small businesses, especially startups, with websites, SEO, online reviews, and more. I expressed my interest in their business and offered to chat and see if there was any way I could help, even if it meant doing a bit of free work just to open the door and get to know them.

The reason that I got a response wasn’t because my intro message was so great. The reason that I got a response was because I mentioned a mutual contact, a mutual friend that we both had. That makes a prospect feel like, “Oh geez, I kind of know this person. I better respond to them.”

A few weeks later, I followed up with them, expressing my desire to chat sometime that week and see if I could offer anything to help them bring in a bunch of new clients. I also mentioned that I had some solutions for online reviews that I would be happy to let them try for free, just because I know starting a business has a lot of costs.

This follow-up message was what finally hooked the client. They asked if I would have time next Monday to meet, expressing their interest in seeing some of my work and discussing how I could help their business with advertising. They mentioned that they needed to get a “sick” website going.

After that, I went and met with the client at his gym, which again is another bonus of working with local clients. We were able to talk about a website, and eventually, I built a great website for them. It was a three-page website, pretty easy to build as they had all the images and videos ready, and they had a style in mind.

4. Local Connections

The fourth method is local connections. There are several different ways for you to connect with local business owners. You can join your local Chamber of Commerce, look to give a presentation at some sort of local speaking event or be a sponsor for local sports teams or events.

My favorite way to get local connections is by finding complementary partnerships. If you sell websites, you might want to reach out to other marketing agencies that don’t offer websites and make some sort of agreement with them where they pass you clients and you pass them, clients. It’s a mutually beneficial agreement. I made a partnership like this with somebody that buys and sells dental offices and they’ve referred me to a ton of different offices to build their websites. If you find those great connections, it’s just going to be a constant stream of referrals.

5. Physical Outreach

The fifth method is what I would just call “physical”. This is doing physical, outward, and visual things that will get people to notice you. This can be passing around flyers, which is a pretty cheap way to connect with tons of businesses. You can get a huge decal on the side of your car or on your rear windshield that just says “I build websites” and then your phone number or your URL.

One of my favorites is just to wear a t-shirt that says “I build websites, ask me about it” and wear this t-shirt every time you go to the mall, go to the restaurant, anything you can do to start up conversations with people about web design.

The Golden Question

Now that we’ve talked about all these methods, I want to share with you the golden question that I ask every single prospect. This question isn’t some crazy Jedi mind trick, it’s very simple. But the reason this works so well is it’s non-confrontational and it’s just a smooth opener to get into a discussion about web design.

The golden question that I ask every single prospect is, “When was the last time you guys updated your website?” For whatever reason, people are willing to answer this question, and usually, the answer is going to be, “Oh, it’s been a while. We’ve been meaning to do it but we just haven’t gotten around to it.” This opens the door for you to share what it is that you do, even offer some sort of free website audit, or just take a look at their website and see if you have any recommendations for them. Once you get your foot in the door like this, it’s going to be a lot easier to upsell them on a full website to help their business.


Thanks so much for reading this article. I hope you land your next web design client soon. Remember, the key is to be proactive, make connections, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Good luck, and we’ll catch you in the next one

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