How to Sell your Web Designing & Development Services

Usually this title question – “how to sell my web designing services” is asked by new freelancers, new web design agency owners, new marketing professionals & new entrepreneurs who start an IT services business. In this article, I’ll try my best to address this question based on the experience I have in starting, running & growing an IT services business (focuses on Web Designing, Web Application Development, Managed Hosting Services & Web based Products).So my company name is Webnesters Online Solutions Pvt.Ltd founded and promoted by me & 3 other partners. I will be focusing on methods we use to generate leads & hence follow it up through our sales process.

How to market your web designing business
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The Initial Days

For every new company out there, the initial days are the most tough ones to battle. The reason is lack of projects as there are no credentials, no word of mouth, very limited marketing budget etc. The main objective of your “initial days” should be to get that “first project”. So here are a list of methods we used to get through our initial days.

Focus on a Specific Service

When you start out, you won’t be having lots of time to bet on every service business out there. My advice is to focus on one area that you are really good at. For example, if you are really good at WordPress – then begin by offering WordPress customization services. If your key area is E-commerce or specifically Magento – then begin by offering Shopping cart development services using Magento. Similarly there are many other areas that you can focus on. If you are good at a PHP framework like YII, then begin by offering YII based projects. The key is in identifying a service area which has market demand.

Launching Tools

You need a set of tools which will help you for a decent launch. These are very simple & common things every business owner is supposed to do initially. But the impact of these “small stuffs” can be bigger than you think. So here are the very necessary tools you should keep ready before launching your service business.

1. Give your business a unique name & register it legally as a business in your country

A business is always identified by its name. Naming a business is an art & a science alike. A good business name should resonate the business type (nature of its products/services), should be easily pronounced, should be brandable & it should be unique as well. Another important point is to obtain a domain name which is exactly the same as business name or very close to it. I have written a detailed article on how to find a good domain name for your business. Once you have zeroed in at the business name & domain, you should register the business legally in your country. If you are from India, you can read my article on how to register a business in India. If you are from a different country like United States or Germany, go ahead and check with your official government websites to know more details.

2. Setup a fully functional website for your business

The very next step for any company should be setting up a fully functional website. Since this article is focused on “marketing web designing services”, I don’t need to explain how to setup a website. However keep in mind you should take care of the very basic stuffs like a functional contact form, full contact address with e-mail & phone numbers, listing all your services with description & a portfolio (if you can provide one initially).

3. Print a Visiting card with full details

A visiting card is very essential in meeting clients & networking with prospects. Ideally a visiting card should contain your business logo, business name, business address with email & phone number, your personal name, designation, e-mail & contact number. In addition you can print titles of your services on the back side of card or even front side.

4. Go Meet your Friends & Relatives

Now you have your visiting card & website ready. Its time to get the word out! So get up & move ūüôā Meet all your near by friends & relatives. Tell them about what you do & how it will help other business/people. Be passionate when you explain your business. Your passion & interest towards your business will generate curiosity in your audience. Hand over your business card to every one you meet & tell them about your business. Show them a couple of works you have done before (may be at your previous job). Make sure ¬†you give a couple of extra visiting cards to your friends & relatives; they might be interested in introducing you to their friends/contacts.

Note:- When ever you meet friends/relatives ask them for a reference or a contact who might be in need of your services

5. Send out an Initial Mail

Send a mail to every one of your contacts explaining your business. Tell them, “Hey Bobby, I have started a new business in London. I am offering web designing services to business & individuals. You can see my website for more details. Let me know if you can introduce me to some business people who may need my services.”

6. Go & Meet Business People with a Reference

Businesses are the big customers of any web designing & development agency. You will get good business deals only from well settled & growing businesses. As a web design agency owner you should focus on building contacts with other successful businesses who got money to invest in new projects. Any company/business needs a website/application whenever they launches new projects/products. Here the key is in acquiring a business head as your good contact & then pitching to him later. Once you pull him to try your services, offer him the best you can (give him that “wow” effect). This way you can keep him as a client with repeat business. If you wonder how to make good business contacts, that’s what networking events are for. Go to networking events, meet people & talk to them.

Note:- Before pitching a business person for the first time, try to get an introduction by a common friend/relative/business contact. This will help you to get a warm welcome by breaking the ice in between. No one prefers to do business with strangers as we all are skeptical about loosing money!

7. Actively Bid in Elance, ODesk & Guru

These freelancing websites will help you gain traction initially. I won’t recommend marketing through freelancing websites as a long term objective. The reason is price war, higher number of providers from India, Philippines & other Asian countries – all this adds to competition. I don’t like businesses with high competition as it will lead to price war affecting profits. Another reason is the business providers in freelancing websites are mostly middlemen & individuals. They always place unreasonable work requirements for a low quote. But I think you still can depend on freelancing websites during your initial days as it can land you more projects.

8. Network in Local Industry Events

As a beginner in business you may not have lots of money to go & attend International business events. So start searching for local business events. Attend them regularly. Attending a business event regularly is a key thing. The best time to make a relationship is whenever you meet some one for the second time. So keep attending business events regularly and in the process you will meet many persons for the second, third or even countless times. This will let “relationship” to take place naturally. This way you will get business contacts as your acquaintances & friends. Once you make a good relationship with any business person, its quiet easy to do business with them.

Note:- You should give your business card only during the first meeting with a business person. Offering the same business card during the second meeting is not a good practise. However if you have made a new card or gave it a new design, you can always show them – “hey, I changed my card design. Have a look and give your opinion for improving it

How to market your web design services

The basic purpose of a marketing team is to generate business leads for your company. These leads will be followed up by your sales team. “Marketing & Sales” – though they do different kind of work, both stand for a single purpose – “get your company more business”. When your company grow, you have to take your marketing efforts to next level by setting up a dedicated team to handle the job.

Setting up the Online Marketing Efforts

1. Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you get more leads via your website. The purpose of SEO (as you may already know) is to bring targeted traffic to your website from search engines. You can read my article on:- How to market your business website using SEO to get more knowledge about this.

2. Educating your customers through blog

A blog in your website is an ideal platform for content marketing. Using your blog you can write articles to educate your customers about various concepts.However you can fetch maximum results from your blog only when you do it the the right way. Getting leads using blog in a website always falls under “content marketing” category of online marketing. You can read my article on:- How to do content marketing to increase your business leads.

3. Advertising using platforms like Google Adwords

Online advertising is a great & quick way to get business leads. You can run online advertising campaigns worldwide using Google Adwords, Bing Ad platform & several other hundreds of ad networks.  If you are new to online advertising, I recommend you to read our article:- Beginners Guide to Online Advertising.

4. Using Social Media

Social media revolves around Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest & Google+. However there are very specialized social media websites which cater to a niche market. You have to choose your set of social medias based on your specific products/services. Social medias are always a great medium to promote your services & products. You can market brilliantly in social medias to get new business leads. If you want a guidance, read our articles on:- Beginners Guide to Social Media Marketing.

5.PR Efforts

Press Releases is a great way to create buzz about your business. Though PR won’t ensure any business leads, its a proven way of making your brand familiar among your set of targeted audience. For this you have to choose the right media, right type of news & many other factors fall into the PR execution. You can read our article on:- Beginners Guide to Press Releases.

How Founders can do marketing ?

The method I listed below will not suit beginners in business. However if you can do them perfectly, you can grow your business at greater pace than you can imagine. Ideally these ways of indirect marketing suits business people with 3 to 5 years of industry experience.

1. Attending Industry Conferences & helping other entrepreneurs

– Here you as a business owner would be considered as an authority or a kind of market leader in some areas of your business. Other business people who attend the industry conference would come to you to seek advice. You will start helping them out footing your authority much deeper. Indirectly this action will give you a good brand image & people will start recognizing you immediately. This will create a buzz around you which eventually is good for your business.

2. Getting Interviewed

This is a brilliant way of building brand value for you as an entrepreneur (achieving celebrity status), for your business as a successful one & for creating buzz in online & offline media. For this to happen either you have to be discovered by medias as a successful business & worthy to be interviewed or you have to establish yourself to medias as a successful man & welcome them to interview you. Both ways has its own positives & negatives. The former one is very slow & it will take years to happen. But once it happens you will be considered by medias as a man/business of “life long” worth. The latter is a quicker way of achieving celebrity status. However if you don’t get it right, you will suffer consequences for a life time.

3. Taking Presentations & Seminars

is another way of establishing your authority in industry circles. Everyone can not take presentations as most people are affected with ¬†stage fear, shyness and other emotional problems. Even a lot of entrepreneurs are affected with stage fear & shyness. This is where people who can overcome stage fear & shyness can take their advantage. There won’t be lot of competition to obtain a seminar spot in any industry event. In most cases, conference/event organizers will be more than happy to offer you a time slot to present your topic. When you do a presentation, you grab the attention of the audience. You get a chance to talk to them about your business, experiences & success. This way you establish yourself as an authority among the audience, which is an indirect brand building. However there are many important things you should consider & practise while taking presentations. Your presentation skills will get improved only with experience.

Note:- Following up & nurturing leads generated by marketing team is the job of your sales team. “Sales” is an entirely different subject and I have not covered anything about it here.

How to connect to ftp and upload files using windows command prompt?

Some people love getting it all done through the command prompt and some might have been forced to ftp via the command line. Hope this one helps you both.

Step 1 . Take the command Prompt using run in windows.

step 1

Step 2 . Connect to your ftp  using ftp command.

ftp dollarfry.com

step 2

Step 3. Login using your ftp credentials.

Step 4 . See and navigate your directory contents using cd (Change Directory) and ls (list) commands.

Have a look at some basic linux commands (if you are’nt aware of)

  • cd – directoryname will get you into that directory.
  • cd../ ¬†– will get you out of the current directory ¬†and gets you one directory back. For example, if you are in the directory /docs/images/ . And “cd../” from the images directory will get you to the docs directory.
  • pwd – Present Working Directory. pwd will show you the current directory path which you are in.
  • ls – This will list the contents of the current directory in which you are in.

Step 5. Upload files using put command.

put filename  will move your fille to the current directory. 

ftp> put C:\docs\test.pdf

will upload your local file to the directory of your server.

Step 3

A Simple PHP OOP Tutorial -Learn Object Oriented Programming Concepts with Examples in 7 steps

Demo Download Country Class Example

In this post, I’ll explain the php oop concepts as simple as possible.

What is Object Oriented Programming? How to learn php oop easily

Object oriented is not some kind of code, but a different approach to the way of programming.  There are lots of drawbacks in the procedural methodology, which the OOP can overcome. Lets gets straight into the Country-Continent Class example which will guide you to most of the main techniques used in PHP OOP.

Continent -Country Class Example

I’ve made up two classes , Continent and Country which explains all the major oop concepts. Country inherits from Continent, means Country is the child class of Continent or Continent acts as the parent class to Country.

Step 1. How is a Class  defined?

A Class is defined using the keyword Class, here

Class Continent {

}

  • The curly braces represents the scope of the class, or where the class starts and ends.

Before getting into the code there are two major concepts(terms) which you need to know.

  1. Properties  РProperties are variables itself, but in OOP we call variables as property.
  2. Methods    РMethods are functions itself, but in OOP we call functions as methods.

Class Continent

Step 2. Properties

Class Continent {
// Properties of the Continent Class
var $name;
var $size;
// Assigning a static value to the static variable.
static $smallestContinent="Australia";

These are properties of the Class Continent. Properties are defined using the keyword var. Everything is pretty straight forward, except the scope. There are three scopes.

  1. Private
  2. Protected
  3. Public

Here the ¬†properties ‘size’ and ‘name’ are of public scope (which is the default scope).I’ve explained the scopes in detail below.

The third variable smallestContinent have a prefix static . This means this variable will be having  static value and it cannot be changed, I will explain this also in detail after explaining the concept of objects.

 Step 3. Methods

Class Continent has one method  getDetails of scope public. Likewise properties, functions are also of  3 scopes (public,private,protected).

/*
Getting the details of the country or continent through the public function getDetails.
*/
public function getDetails($type){
// Returning the assigned values to the properties of the class Continent.
$details= $this->name." is a ".$this->size." ".$type;
return $details;
}

Step 4. Real world analogy and concept of Objects

Objects makes the oop possible. We create a new object of the Class and that object holds all the properties and methods of the class. As a real world analogy to our class Continent, Class Continent has lots of properties like  size, name and all and its methods. And sub class Country extends from Continent and its supposed to have all these properties too.

Assume the name property of the Class Country.  Different countries in this whole world have different names. So what we are doing is that we create different objects for the class country and giving  it different names (India,USA,Australia). All the code stands inside the  class and we can use or reuse  them. Assume that there is a class for a user registration system, we can implement this  registration system anywhere in your website by creating a new object for the user registration class.

//Creating an object of Continent class. Constructor will be called automatically.
$continent=new Continent($type);
// Assigning values to Continent class properties
$continent->name="Asia";
$continent->size="Big";
// Calling a public method(function) of the class Continent
echo $continent->getDetails('Continent');

Here  a continent object is created by,

$continent=new Continent($type);

The attributes of the Continent class are assigned specific values.  Values are assigned to the public properties name and size. Also the public method getDetails is called with the object instance.

In the Continent Class,

/*
Getting the details of the country or continent through the public function getDetails
*/
public function getDetails($type){
// Returning the assigned values to the properties of the class Continent.
$details= $this->name." is a ".$this->size." ".$type;
return $details;
}

We are assigning values Asia and Big to  name and size attributes of the continent object respectively  and this values are appended to some content and returned from the class.

Step 5. $this in php oop  

$this is a simple concept in php oop, but it can be really messy if you doesnt know its purpose. I really had problems with $this when I started learning oop.

$this is nothing but just the current object. Here we are creating an object of the Continent class ($continent) , assigning values to the properties and calling the function getDetails. $this->name in the getDetails function now will be having the¬†¬†value assigned for the continent object’s name property.

$continent->name="Asia";

That means ¬†$this->name will be having value “Asia” .

Output of the getDetails function

Asia is a Big Continent

Step 6. Constructor  

Constructor is a special function, which will be called right after the object creation. ¬†Here we’ve defined a constructor in the Continent Class.

public function __construct($type){

echo "This is the constructer invoked for the $type object";
}

A constructor is created with the keyword __construct or the name of the Class itself. Constructor is valid for the child classes object instances also.

Step 7. Destructor

Destructor is called once there are no more references to the particular object. Destructor  function can be created with the keyword __destruct.

function __destruct() {

echo "Destructor is called once there are no more references to the particular object";
}

 

 

How to Market Your Business using Directory Listings

Marketing is the key activity which improves the sales in every business. In this article, lets have a look at how to market your business by listing in online business directories. An online business directory is a website which lists different types of businesses categorically. A customer who is in need to find a service/product usually search in business directories to get his answer. There are different types of business directories 1) General Directories like Local , CitySearch 2) Industry specific directories like Yelp (for Restaurants).

All directories are country specific too. For example, Yelp focuses mainly in USA, where as Yalwa focuses mainly in United Kingdom. JustDial is a popular business directory in India. Similarly each country has its own set of popular business directories.  All you have to do is to identify the best ones and submit your business details in each directory.

Submitting in business directories has the following benefits:-

1. More visibility for your business  Р You can grow a business only by increasing its visibility. For an example, if you are in the business of making & selling organic food. At present you sell through 10 Walmart outlets. What will be your immediate option to increase sales ? You can go & pitch 10 Sears outlets too to give shelf space for your product. This is the only way to grow your business. By adding 10 Sears stores for your product, you are increasing the visibility of your product to Sears customers as well (remember you sold to Walmart customers only before). By submitting in business directories, you achieve exactly the same.

2. Higher number of leads/inquiries – Your chances of getting leads will increase with the number of directories you list.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) benefits – If you don’t know about Search Engine Optimization, please read the following articles to understand the same.

What is Search Engine Optimization & How it can help to increase your business & The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

There are 2 types of SEO benefits for listing in business directories. The first one is that your listing page in business directory will rank high in search engines for queries relevant to your business. For example, if you run a Sushi restaurant in Chicago and you list your restaurant in directories like Yelp or Zagat, it will help you get more business from Search engines. I am adding a screenshot of the results outputted by Google for a search query “Sushi restaurants in Chicago“. You may see the results involve business directory website pages of Zagat, Yelp, Menupages etc.

Listing in business directory

In the next screenshot you can see the results outputted by Google for an India based query. The query was “Real estate agents in Bangalore”. You can see results from business directories like JustDial & Yellowpages dominating the first page results in Google.

Listing in business directory

The second SEO advantage is for your own website. Listing your business in directories with a link back to your website can help in improving the search rankings of your website. Good rankings in search engines like Google & Bing will always get you more business. Suppose you are a Website Design Agency in London. If you rank in the first position for a search query like “Web Design Agency London” in Google & Bing, chances are high that you will get inquiry leads from both search engines. The number of inquiries you will get depend upon your ranking position in search engines & the total number of people searching for your particular product/service.

Which all Directories & How many ?

Now this is an interesting decision point. Different marketing experts will be having different opinion on this. In my experience, you don’t need to submit your business in all the directories out there. You should not submit to business directories in a single sitting as well. You can take time! Divide the directories into many batches, say batches of 25 directories (choice is yours). You can divide them based on popularity & traffic. Alexa ranking is good metric to classify websites based on popularity. Having classified all directories into batches, submit to one batch every day. If you are too busy to do this job, you can always hire smart data entry professionals from freelancing websites. You may read the following article to know more about hiring using freelancing websites:- How to hire professionals using Freelancing websites to save money & time.

What all data to submit ?

You can submit all relevant information about your business in a directory. You may think about your business from your customers shoes. What all data would a customer of your product prefer? In general you should give your Business name, a detailed description about your products/services, your contact details such as E-mail & phone number & your website with an active hyperlink. In addition it would be great if you can provide your product photographs & videos. If you are a service providing company, you can give photographs of your office,logos, work spaces &  corporate videos. Finally add relevant tags/keywords in each listing which will help you rank higher in the business directory.