How to Grow a Start-up Digital Marketing and Website Business in Pittsburgh

When people need a digital marketing system or website designed, are they contacting your business, trying to do it themselves, or choosing your competition over you? Why are we even writing this?  I mean you are a marketing company, right?  We have found that often times the things that we do for others, we forget to do for ourselves – remember the cobblers children having no shoes?  Often times the things that we do for our clients, we can not afford to do for ourselves.

digital marketingIn this age of drag-and-drop website builders, pre-made site templates, easy-to-follow HTML guides, and do-it-yourself go-getters, you have a huge amount of competition for the clients who need your services.

It isn’t enough to simply tell them that you specialize in digital marketing or website design. You need to help them see why choosing you will get them better results than hiring your competitors or doing it themselves.

In today’s blog post, I’ll give you some strategies for getting potential clients’ attention and showing them why hiring you is the best option for them.

How to make your digital marketing and website service stand out from the crowd:

A quick Google search for “digital marketing agency Pittsburgh” shows that not only are there multiple competing companies on the first page of Google, but there are actually entire LISTS of digital marketing companies in that coveted position in the search results.

And that’s just the companies in Pittsburgh! When you consider the fact that digital marketing companies can serve their clients from virtually anywhere with an internet connection, the need for a way to stand out becomes very clear.

So how do you separate yourself from the crowd and encourage people to check you out first?

One of the best ways to do that is by offering superior service to a specific ideal client.

Why should digital marketing and website businesses have a clearly-defined ideal client?

There are several reasons why it’s valuable to have a specific target audience:

  1. It makes you more credible and appealing than the companies that try to attract everyone.

Let’s say you’re a business coach who needs a website that will bring you a lot of clients. You don’t just want a website – you want to get potential clients’ attention, educate them about why they need you and why your services are worth the price, and make it easy and tempting for them to take the next step.

So you search the internet for companies that will give you that result, and in your search, you find three professional-looking companies that all have equal numbers of similarly good reviews.

One of these companies is a generic website design service. They promise to create an attractive site, but they boast no special knowledge of your target audience’s needs, desires or psychology.

The second specializes in websites for artists. Their sites are designed to attract webcomic readers, novelists who need cover art, and fans who might be willing to pay commissions for custom art pieces. It’s clear that they’re good at what they do, but what they do is not what you need.

The third company excels in creating websites for business coaches. They know what your clients are looking for, what problems they’re looking to solve, what phrases they’re typing into search engines, and what will attract those clients to your website and compel them to take action.

Which of these companies will you choose?

Obviously, you’re going to go with the one that understands your needs and goals, and has the knowledge required to give you the best results.

  1. It enables you to charge a higher price.

Let’s continue the example of the business coach who needs a website, and who is choosing between three companies.

If the company that specializes in business coaches charges $300 more for a website, do you think that will cause the coach to choose a company that doesn’t understand their needs over one that is clearly equipped to bring them more clients?

If the coach is smart, they’ll choose the people who have the expertise to get the best results. Even a single additional client could easily make up for the difference in price, and the cost in lost income due to a poorly-designed site will more than negate their savings if they choose a less specialized service.

Even if the coach-centric company’s higher level of expertise comes with a higher price, it’s worth paying that price to get the superior results they offer.

  1. It helps you to become an expert with superior services.

The more you specialize in a specific type of client, the better you get to know their needs and challenges and the nuances of their industry.

When you know not just your ideal client, but THEIR ideal client inside and out, you can create more effective marketing campaigns and websites, give your clients better advice, and get the job done with less back-and-forth communication required.

This means you can not only give your clients better results, but you can also make the process of performing your services easier and more convenient for them.

  1. It enables you to market yourself more effectively.

The more you know about your clients’ needs and desires, the more precisely and effectively you can target those needs in your marketing. This makes your marketing materials more appealing to your ideal clients, and it helps you to know what they’re looking for online, so you can improve your odds of appearing in their search results.

If you aren’t sure who your target audience is, read this article to discover the 10 things you need to know about your ideal client.

How can digital marketing and website businesses attract more clients?

Once you know who you want to attract, your next step is to get their attention and encourage them to hire you.

Here are three of the best ways for a digital marketing and website design business in Pittsburgh to attract clients:

Method 1: Referral marketing

Referral marketing is of the easiest and most effective marketing strategies in the world.

With most other marketing techniques, you need to let the customer know you exist, then get them to like and trust you, encourage them to try your services, and build the relationship until they’re ready to make a large investment in your offering.

The customer journey is an intricate process that can sometimes be hard to predict, and most marketing strategies depend on you knowing how that customer journey works and how to optimize it.

But when a person the potential client trusts recommends you, you skip most of those steps, because you automatically inherit the “know, like and trust” that the person making the recommendation has already built up.

This means you can make a larger sale more quickly, and there’s less danger of losing the client partway through their customer journey.

There are two primary sources of referrals you can use:

  1. Satisfied customers
  2. Businesses that complement yours.

Here’s how to get referrals from each of those sources:

How to get referrals from satisfied digital marketing customers:

The first and most important step in the process of getting referrals from your customers is to make sure those customers are highly satisfied.

Serve them quickly and efficiently, be courteous and open to questions and feedback, and do everything in your power to give them the best possible results.

Once the job is done, give them a chance to offer feedback.

If they were dissatisfied in any way, give them a chance to vent, then offer concrete solutions to their complaints. And if they were satisfied, ask them if they know anyone else who needs the great results and high-quality service they enjoyed.

To maximize the chances that your clients will refer people to you, you should:

  1. Make it very clear to them who you serve and how. Your description of your ideal client should be precise enough that they can immediately picture a person who fits that description.
  1. Give them a clear and specific way to make the referral. Don’t say “Send people to me”; tell them which phone number their referrals can call, what address they should email, or what page they should visit to get more information.
  1. Give them materials, such as scripts, emails or social media posts, that they can tweak and use. If they aren’t sure how to describe your services, they’re less likely to try to. Some clients will be able to tell their contacts what you do and why it’s valuable on their own, but others will need help.

How to get referrals from other businesses:

First, find businesses that serve the same ideal client you do, and whose services complement but don’t compete with yours.

For example, if you primarily serve businesses, you could create referral partnerships with logo designers, copywriters, virtual assistants, and business coaches.

Once you’ve identified the businesses you want to work with, your next steps are to:

  1. See if they’re open to forming a mutual referral partnership. They send clients to you, and you send clients to them.
  1. Offer a commission for each sale you make to the people they send to you. Tell them what percentage you’ll pay, and whether that percent applies to the first sale or to every sale you make to that client.
  1. Ask them what first steps the clients you refer to them should take, and tell them what first step the people they send you should take.
  1. Give them scripts, emails, and social media posts they can use to promote you to their clients, and ask them to provide you with any such materials they have.
  1. Actually make referrals to them when appropriate. If it’s all take and no give, they’re likely to lose interest in sending people to you.

Method 2: Online reviews

Reviews on your website, on search engines, and on local citation sites for your industry are among the top three most trusted sources of information about products and services.

They also contribute to your search engine rankings, because it’s in search engines’ best interests to show the highest-quality results first, and reviews are one of the elements they use to determine which businesses their users want to see.

If you aren’t consistently getting good reviews from your customers, here are some effective strategies for getting more online reviews and preventing negative reviews.

Method 3: Education-based marketing

Education-based marketing, also known as content marketing, is a powerful way to get your potential clients’ attention, earn their trust, and help them to understand why hiring you is their best option.

In this form of marketing, you give your potential clients valuable information that they’re already looking for, so they actively seek out and appreciate your promotional materials instead of clicking “skip this ad” in a fit of annoyance.

These materials can include articles, blog posts, videos, posts on your social media page, and answers to questions in forums and social media groups that are relevant to your industry.

In your educational marketing materials, answer questions your clients frequently ask, and provide information that they’re looking for. This shows people that you know what you’re talking about, and it makes them like you more, because you helped them to get something they want or to solve one of their problems.

For best results, each piece of educational marketing should help them to understand why they need to take the next step in your customer journey.

For example, if you write an article listing the ten best website builders, you could include information about how they might run into trouble while using those builders themselves, or why they might not get the results they want without expert assistance, then offer to deal with those challenges for them and help them get the outcome they want.

This strategy has the added bonus of getting the attention of people who were thinking about designing their website or digital marketing campaign themselves, and giving them a reason to hire you instead, so they start looking at your services before they even consider checking out your competition.

To increase your chances of being noticed, use the same phrases your clients would type into search engines in your titles, your articles, and the descriptions of your videos, and answer comments on your materials promptly.

Want to get more referral partners, hot leads, and long-term clients?

Now you know how to attract more clients to your digital marketing and website design business, and why referrals are one of the best ways to get new customers.

Your next step is to meet more potential clients, and to get more people to refer clients to you.

If you want to get more referrals and leads, and to turn more of those leads into high-paying repeat clients, I invite you to join us in our next BNI meeting.

There, you’ll meet people who are eager to form referral relationships, and who are already connected to the clients who need you.

Image Credits Adobe Stock

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