Joe Kashurba grew the freelance web design business he started in high school into the digital agency Kashurba Web Design with a virtual team and clients around the world. As the CEO and Founder of Accelerator Consulting he also advises and mentors other freelance web designers and digital agency owners on how to develop and scale their businesses.
Joe joined me on “Turn the Page” to provide guidance on how stagnating or declining companies can recharge their sales growth. In this post, he offers pointers for web design and digital marketing entrepreneurs. Here’s what he says:
“Instead of being a generalist, you need to be specialist who offers specific benefits to ideal clients. Take these FOUR STEPS to get started on figuring out your niche or specialization:

1. Make a list of your top 5 best clients or customers.

2. Write down why these clients or customers chose to work with you instead of a competitor.

3. Write down what these clients or customers REALLY wanted.

4. Write down why these are your favorite clients or customers.”

Joe underscores that it PAYS to specialize: “Many of the people that we’ve worked with have been able to at least double their web design and digital marketing prices. One client landed three big projects ($5K+) within a week of working with us by simply getting clear about his ideal clients and contacting people within his network who were a good fit. We helped this same client hire a part-time project manager so that he could free up his time and scale his business faster.”

He suggests, “once you figure out your niche or specialization, develop specific plans and packages with set pricing geared towards your ideal clients. The step that follows is to create a marketing campaign to target those clients. Don’t change the name of your business or spend six months re-designing your website. Simply craft a marketing campaign and go after your ideal clients.”

He shares the story of a web designer to illustrate this process.

“The web designer identified that:

• All of his best clients were construction companies or engineering firms that bid on large government contracts.

• They chose to work with him because he was willing to meet with them in-person and because they liked the  professional look of the websites in his portfolio.

• What these companies REALLY wanted was to look big when they were bidding on contracts and to recruit high- quality employees.

• He liked these clients because they were very organized and typically trusted him on the creative direction.

He developed new packages and eliminated an existing service:

1. One new website package included a basic listing of job openings, and the other offered a more advanced job board  where people could apply online. Both packages provided a custom design since the professional look was important  to his construction/engineering clients.

2. He added a new service, developing a graphic design package that included a trade show display and print  materials that clients could use at job fairs.

3. He stopped offering search engine optimization. He hated doing SEO, and his clients weren’t looking to attract    new leads online anyway.

Here’s how he marketed his services:

The designer knew that his clients liked to meet in-person, so he decided to target large construction and engineering firms that were within a 2-hour drive from his office. He made a list of all of those companies and developed a direct email campaign to get in touch with them. In the email, he talked about looking big when bidding for contracts and recruiting good employees—he did not talk about web hosting, meta tags and other technical jargon. He would first sell them a website, and then he would offer them the trade show graphic design package as a second step.”

Joe provides this bottom-line advice:

“A lot of people worry that the web design industry is dying because of Wix and SquareSpace. However, the market is just getting more sophisticated. The businesses that wouldn’t have had a website at all 5-10 years ago are now ready for a simple affordable do-it-yourself website. The businesses that wanted a simple affordable website 5-10 years ago are now ready to invest money in growing their business online. Therefore, it is NOT the right time to be selling simple affordable websites, but it IS the right time to be building serious websites for businesses that are ready to use the Internet to grow.”

“One of the keys to working only with ideal clients and increasing your prices is deal flow. Deal flow means having a consistent stream of new potential clients contacting you, new proposals being sent out, new proposals being accepted, etc. When you have a lot of deal flow, you have the luxury of cherry picking the clients you want to work with and charging higher prices because it doesn’t matter if a particular potential client doesn’t have the budget for your services. The problem is that most web designers and agency owners have very little deal flow because they focus on everything EXCEPT getting more deal flow. Most web designers and agency owners spend time on all kinds of things that don’t actually matter (re-designing their logo, re-designing their business cards, posting on Pinterest, etc.), but they never actually do any marketing or prospecting. The first step is to realize that you need deal flow. The second step is to make sure that something happens in your business every day to generate more deal flow. That could mean sending out direct mail every day, it could meaning having ads running on Google or Facebook consistently, it could mean applying for jobs on Upwork everyday. Many of the people that we’ve worked with have been able to get a consistent flow of high-quality leads by launching paid advertising campaigns.”

Listen to my conversation with Joe to consider how you would add value with clients who need to recharge their deal flow.