How to Get More Web Design Clients

How to Get More Web Design Clients

This week I’m covering one of the MOST frequently asked questions I hear – “How do I get more web design clients?!”

And if you think it’s learning the latest trends on TikTok or coming up with new content every single day….

Then you’ve gotta listen to this episode!

In this episode, I’m sharing:

  • Why you don’t need MORE clients – just profitable ones
  • My top 4 web design business marketing tactics
  • How to get clients when you’re just starting out, even as an introvert

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Getting comfortable being uncomfortable is the one thing that will not only change your business, but will make all the other marketing tactics easier.
  • Businesses are built on relationships. You don’t need to pitch every person you meet, but you DO need to foster relationships with them to organically grow!

Episode Transcript

Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast, where we're all about helping extraordinary web designers like you to stop undercharging over delivering and overworking, and finally create the profitable, sustainable, and scalable web design business you've been dreaming of. I'm your host Shannon, mad founder of the Web Designer Academy, where we teach the business side of running a web design business. So if you wanna make a consistent full-time income as a web designer, but you're struggling with things like pricing and boundaries and mindset and marketing, and you're just tired of going it alone while my friend, you're in the right place,

Shannon Mattern: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer. Today I'm going to break down for you one of the most common questions I get from web designers, which is, how do I get more web design clients? What should I be doing for marketing? Do I need to be on Instagram or making reels or making TikTok talks? What is the best way to put myself out there? How do I get found online? So here at the Profitable Web Designer Podcast, we don't necessarily just want you to get more clients. We want you to create more opportunities to make profitable offers to dreamy clients and actually get a less clients at a higher rate so that you can actually have a life outside of your web design business. And that is why I'm sharing my four best tactics for you to not just get more web design clients, but get more profitable web design clients.

Shannon Mattern: So let's dive in to these four web design business marketing tactics. So tactic number one, create your own opportunities. Do not wait for people to find you. Go out and find them. Now, this one sounds super obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people are afraid to do this. And we'll talk about that fear in just a second. But first, you probably know some people in your life. You might have some friends, you might have some family, you might have some colleagues. And while these people are likely not your dream clients, they also have friends, family, and colleagues. And chances are someone knows someone who is searching for you. And when you are super clear on who you serve and what problems your website solve for these people and what opportunities they create, it's easy to say, Hey, I help this kind of business owner solve this kind of problem.

Shannon Mattern: Do you know anyone who would you mind passing along my info? Would you mind keeping me in mind in case you hear of someone that needs something? The mistake that I see most web designers make when they are asking for referrals is to say, Hey, I'm a web designer. Do you know anyone who needs a website? And sure, that works, but it's gonna bring you the people who think that they should only be paying you a couple hundred dollars because you're just a web designer and it's just a website and you're so-and-so's daughter for who's looking for clients and they'll help you out, right? You want to ask for introductions and connections with the caveat being that you're really, really clear on who you serve, who you work with, who you don't work with, what results clients can create in their business in life as a result of working with someone like you and as a result of using the tools that you collaborate with them to co-create for them, right?

Shannon Mattern: It's just a different caliber and level of marketing and conversation than what most web designers do. And for a lot of people, it totally scares the crap out of them to reach out to their own network and ask for connections and ask for introductions. It just taps on this insecurity inside of us, right? So we think that we're putting people out or inconveniencing them, especially if you're socialized as a woman in the United States of America, we think we're bothering people, we think that we're being pushy or whatever. And I just want you to think about this. It's like if a friend of yours came to you and said, Hey, I'm starting this new life coaching business. Do you know anyone who struggles with this specific problem? Do you know anyone who fits the criteria of this specific client I serve? Would you be willing to make an introduction?

Shannon Mattern: Wouldn't you be more than happy to reach out to the people in your life that you know and say, Hey, remember when you were telling me about this thing that you're going through? My friend so-and-so just started a life coaching business and she's helping people with that exact same issue. Would you like me to connect you with her? You would absolutely do that for your friends, wouldn't you? So don't discount the people in your life that love you and wanna help you succeed. And who would be more than happy to spread the word for you? All you have to do is ask, and you have got to take action, especially in the beginning, to go out there and create those connections and make those introductions and create those opportunities to find those first several clients. I always tell my web designer Academy students that at the beginning of any new business or pivot, it takes effort up front to get that momentum going, especially if you've been working with a lot of low end, low paying expense minded clients and you're shifting to working with higher end, more premium investment minded clients.

Shannon Mattern: It's not starting over, but it's a pivot, and it's a pivot that's gonna take a lot of action up front. You get to plant a lot of seeds, build a lot of relationships, and put yourself out there in a lot of different ways. But it doesn't have to be pushy, sleazy, or salesy, and you are gonna be nervous doing it. And I can tell you it's worth it on the other side because eventually those seeds start to grow and bear fruit and the momentum flips at some point where you just discover that you're doing less work to market yourself and the referrals just start coming to you without you having to ask. But that doesn't just happen. You've got to put yourself out there first. You've got to plant a lot of seeds and make a lot of connections because you do not get to control which of the seeds that you plant are going to grow and turn into something so you don't stop planting.

Shannon Mattern: Not only can you let people you know like and trust, know what your doing and who your dream clients are and what problems you solve for them and what opportunities you help them create and leverage in their businesses with the webs that you sites you build for them. You get to let them know who you don't work with, and you get to reach out to past clients, past consultations that didn't end up booking and stay top of mind. Back in 2017, which was my last year at my day job, before leaving to take my web design and DIY course business full-time, my boss had sent me to this lunch and learn meeting hosted by a local marketing agency, and I can't even remember what the topic was right now, but they taught us something, shared a little bit about their agency, some of their client case studies, and sent us on our way.

Shannon Mattern: And after that, about every month I get an email from the CEO of the company, he'd say, Hey, I just saw this article that you might find interesting. Congratulations on breaking your fundraising record for the foundation, or we're hosting another lunch and learn. Would you like me to send you the details to rsvp? And these were not marketing emails, these were personal emails directly from the CEO of the company directly to me, tailored to what he knew about me and our company. So he reached out and touched base with me every single month, the CEO of the company, and months later, when we decided we needed to hire a marketing agency one, why do you think we decided we needed to hire one? Because they did such a great job educating us on what they could do for us that we couldn't do on our own.

Shannon Mattern: And two, we hired them because they stayed top of mind. And as I got to know the CEO, Bill and I shared with him that I was leaving to start my own business, he said, May I give you some advice that my mentor gave to me that's been responsible for me growing this company from nothing into a multimillion dollar marketing agency? And I'm like, Yes, please. And he said, I personally reach out to 50 potential clients every single week. It is my number one priority before anything else. Yes, we're a marketing agency, Yes, I'm the CEO of the company, but businesses are built on relationships and there is no substitute for personal connections. So if you do nothing else, create connections, deliver value, and build relationships and your company will thrive. So I have taken that advice to heart throughout the whole time I've been building my business, even when I've deviated from this from time to time to try trendy tactics that scale and you know, explode your marketing and all of those things.

Shannon Mattern: And guess what? The tried and true things that always work, our relationships and connections and delivering value and creating trust. So create connections with people, you know, ask for introductions, deliver value, educate, pay attention. Let people know what you're doing, make personal connections and prioritize that over creating content and posting on social media. So that's tactic number one. Tactic number two is market research interviews. So this tactic is not my brain child, it is from my friend Sasha Corba of the Entrepreneur Not Yet podcast. She spoke at a summit I had hosted a couple years ago for side hustlers about how to get clients in any industry when you're brand new and don't have a social media or a website, but taking this strategy and adapting it to web designers, it's just her strategy is genius. And I wanna share it with you today. So as a web designer, you probably already have a website, maybe not if you're working for someone else or if you've been doing freelance projects on the side, but either way, market research interviews are a fantastic way to connect with your ideal client, whether you have a website up and running or not, and start gathering some super valuable information about who your ideal client is and what they value and what they want and what they need, and what problems they're experiencing that you can solve through websites.

Shannon Mattern: And they are a fantastic way to help you build relationships, whether that leads to future work or referrals or some other unexpected opportunity. So to implement the market research tactic first you just gotta figure out who you wanna work with, what's the problem that they're experiencing, and then just go talk to people and pick their brains about their business, their bottlenecks, what's in the way of their success, What do they really want? If you could wave a magic wand and fix it for them, what would that fix look like so that you can start thinking about how to position what you do as a solution instead of a deliverable, meaning a, a solution that solves a problem. Instead of when you hire me, you get a five page website, right? Which one sounds more valuable? . So in exchange for that conversation though, in exchange for that person's time of you getting to ask them all of the questions, you offer something of value in return, like your advice on something, but never your time.

Shannon Mattern: That's one big mistake. I see web designers making that in exchange for these market research conversations, they offer to do some free web design work. Please do not do that. Your time is reserved for your paying clients. However you can offer your ideas and your advice and your expertise on that call, and that is just as valuable to them as being able to pick their brain is for you. So you know how to design a website, you know how to build a conversion focused website. You know way more about technology and how all of the things work than what your clients do. So let them ask you or what these potential clients do. So let them ask you questions for 20 minutes about what they should do and what they shouldn't do, and tools you recommend and whatever, and give them as much information as you can in that time period.

Shannon Mattern: But don't like fix things for them for free. You do not do work for free. You're like, Please, please, please do not use this tactic to undercharge and over-deliver. But market research inter interviews are very reciprocal. They are you getting the chance to get inside the mind of your ideal client and figure out how to position what you do as something that's valuable to them. They're, and they're answering some questions for you that are gonna help you hone in on who your ideal client really is. And then you get to also be a resource and an expert for the person you're talking to. So the key here though is after that conversation to move these people out of what I call the friend zone in a really authentic way, another big mistake I see people making with these opportunities to talk to people who could potentially be or know their ideal client is that they end the interview and they never follow up ever again.

Shannon Mattern: and and then they're like the market research interview or coffee chats or whatever you're doing didn't work. I'm just spending a whole lot of time talking to people, telling them I'm a web designer and then just hoping that they get the bright idea on their own to hire me or refer me. And that's not how that works, right? You have to take action, specific, strategic, intentional action to move people who you've had market research interviews and coffee chats and networking meetings out of the friend zone after it's over because there's a rapport and a trust that gets established during the process and you are establishing your expertise, you're learning a lot about the client. So if you identify something that you can help them with, the next step becomes, Hey, you said you were struggling with that. I would love to help you. Would you set up a time to chat about what that could look like for us to work together?

Shannon Mattern: And you're asking for permission and they might ghost you. They might say no, and they might say yes, or they might say, Not right now, but I know someone who is looking for someone like you. You never know. But if you don't do it, you don't create the opportunity to get new clients. So it's the follow up after the market research interview that is key to turning conversations into clients, which leads me to web designer marketing tactic number three, follow up. If you are in the early stages of your web design business, you've probably said things like, Oh, we had a conversation about working together, but they never got back to me. It didn't go anywhere. Follow up with those people. Reach back out to people, see where they're at. See what's changed since you last talked. Even if they told you no, even if they told you they went with someone else, even if they told you it wasn't the right time, follow back up with all of those conversations.

Shannon Mattern: Find out. You never know. You can't assume that just because someone has a website or hired someone that the project went the way that they wanted it to go, and that there's not still an opportunity there. You also get to follow up with past clients if you've already worked with someone, reach out and see if they need new work. People's businesses change all the time, and you cannot just assume that people are sitting around thinking about us. We get to show up and show up where they are and offer to figure out where they're at and see how we can help. So you get to be the one to do the outreach. You get to be the one to initiate every single opportunity to get a new client. And I know that that sounds like awful, and we wish we could just like write a quick post on social media and everyone would come to us, but that's not how that works, okay?

Shannon Mattern: And that's why so many web designers struggle because they're not willing to take the initiative and take action. Which leads me to web designer marketing tactic number four, Be willing to get uncomfortable. So this is the tactic that actually makes all the other tactics that I talked about easier. It's like the first domino and the line of domino tactics that you can knock over to just create some momentum with the other ones because the things that I'm telling you to do are not the things you were hoping I was gonna tell you to do, right? You want me to tell you something? Like, if you as your introvert self go build this gorgeous website and make it awesome and have a beautiful portfolio and set up this awesome funnel and have every pixel perfect in every word, perfect, and spent all this time creating content behind your computer and SEO, optimizing because you're so talented as a web designer, you will never have to put yourself out there and be uncomfortable and actually talk to anyone ever, because all that work that you did will magically result in people just stumbling upon you and finding you and thinking you're awesome, and filling out your consultation form and hiring you without you having to do anything like that is just not how it works.

Shannon Mattern: It's not how it works. And I would say not in the beginning, but honestly not ever. I'm not, not gonna lie. It is amazing when the momentum flips and people start coming to you and finding you, but there's never a point where you don't have to market. There is just never a point. And so you get to get uncomfortable and do the things that make your heart pound and make you sweat and make your face hot, make your hands like wet and make you super nervous, and it gets easier every time. The first time you do it, you're just gonna feel awful. The second time , it'll feel less awful. And then at some point it's gonna feel normal and you'll actually figure out a way to do it that feels authentic to you. And inside the Web Designer Academy, we support each other through that.

Shannon Mattern: We understand that's part of the process. I could give you 20 tactics in this podcast episode to market yourself, but if your mindset is not in the right place, you are not going to take action on it. So if you don't believe that you're qualified and capable, you're not gonna reach out to your network and create new connections and ask for introductions. If you feel like a total imposter, you are not gonna put yourself out there and ask for market research interviews, and you're gonna offer to do work for free, even though I told you not to. If you feel like a total fraud, you are not gonna follow up with people that you have talked to before because you'll be worried that they'll find you out. And that's all of the stuff that we need to fix first, to make all of the other things happen for you.

Shannon Mattern: We help you get comfortable with being uncomfortable and not beating yourself up when you're not thinking that you're a fraud, when you're not thinking everything's going wrong, when you are not thinking that someone not responding to you means that they hate you and that you did it wrong. When you get comfortable with that, everything changes. It's like everything that you do to be uncomfortable creates so many opportunities for you. You don't know which ones are going to come to fruition and you don't get to know, but you just get to confidently take action without having to be attached or know that it's gonna be a sure thing. And that's what makes a successful business owner, and that's the transformation that we work on inside of the Web Designer Academy. So if you are interested in learning more about how we help our clients confidently create those connections and confidently create those opportunities and become more and more comfortable with doing it, without having to spend tons of time creating content and being on social media, we would love to invite you to watch our invitation only at five P framework training, where we walk you through the five simple powerful steps we walk our clients through to stop trading their time for money, raise their prices by five times or more, make marketing so much easier, reclaim their schedule and book profitable well paying clients they love.

Shannon Mattern: So we would love to see your application, and all you have to do is go to, click that apply button, fill out our zero commitment application for your chance to be invited to the complimentary training. So I can't wait to see your application. That's it for this week's episode. And we've linked up all of the resources we talked about today in the show notes. So you can go to to get your hands on those. And we'll be back next week with another episode designed to help you uplevel the business side of your web design business. So be sure to subscribe to the show wherever you're listening. And if you like today's episode, we will be so grateful if you would share it with all your web designer friends. And if you're feeling extra generous, we'd love for you to leave us a writing and review so we can get in front of even more web designers and help them transform their businesses and their lives. So simply scroll up on this episode in your podcast player and tap that, leave a review link or go to web designer and it'll take you to the right spot. Thank you so much for listening, and I'll see you right here next week. Bye.

Speaker 4: This podcast is part of the Sound Advice FM network. Sound advice, FM Women's Voices amplified.

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Hi, I'm Shannon!

I’ve been coaching + mentoring web designers on how to package, price, market and sell web design for over 7 years… it’s time to forget everything you think you know about selling web design projects!

If you’re ready to stop undercharging and overdelivering and finally create a profitable, sustainable dreamy web design business, get my free Profitable Pricing Training and change everything you thought about how much you can charge for your web design services.

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