I work with a number of business owners who run web design, development and other kinds of professional service businesses which usually require trading some of their time for money.
One of the biggest struggles many businesses who sell their services online face is how to package up and present your services on your website so that:
- You come out with a decent hourly rate after including admin time, emailing time and any other tasks which you might not have incorporated into your pricing structure.
- You don’t leave yourself open to providing additional services and add-ons which weren’t specifically included in the price but which also weren’t expressly excluded.
- Projects don’t drag on and on, leaving your hourly rate looking less and less attractive as the time ticks on.
- You aren’t forced to spend time trying to figure out how to do certain tasks which really aren’t in your specific skill set just because a client’s asked if you can help.
…never mind actually presenting your services online so that people actually hit a “pay now” button or book themselves in, without the requirement for extensive to-ing, fro-ing and wooing by email, phone or other time-consuming, sales-closing action.
So if you want to offer and actually sell your services online without the pain, here are a few ways you can package and present what you offer on your website more effectively, for more profit…
Offer Only What You Want To Deliver
When you provide any kind of service online, there are likely to be parts of the process of delivering your service which you are less than enthusiastic about…
It may be that you love the design aspect of bringing a website to life but hate the actual build. Or perhaps you enjoy the Skype coaching calls but hate the scheduling of said calls.
If you can figure out the parts of the process you really enjoy and excel at, then you can choose to:
- Only offer packages or services which incorporate these parts, and don’t offer the rest.
- Offer the whole service but partner with/hire/outsource to someone else to provide the aspects you don’t want to.
- Find a tech solution which does the bit you don’t want to.
For example, Jonathan’s current pageless website package is designed specifically to provide clients with a basic yet effective presence online but it removes the additional technical aspects of building a multi-page site which he doesn’t excel at (typically he’d hand these off to me but I now refuse to do them without being paid, therefore severely impacting his profit margins!!).
Know How You Like To Work
Some people prefer to take their time over a project – enjoying plenty of time for their creative juices to flow, and not minding if a project takes weeks or months to complete because it suits their work style and MO.
Us? Not so much. We have always hated the kinds of projects which drag on for weeks and sometimes months when we know we can finish it in a week or two.
But how do you prevent projects from dragging on and on, especially if you’re at the mercy of a client and require feedback or input from them? Here you have a number of options:
- Build the timescale as an integral part of the package. For example, we used to offer a Website in a Week package and would levy a daily fee for any delays caused by the client or pay the client a daily fee for any delays caused by us.
- Provide suggested or recommended time frames and time scales so that, right from the start, you set the correct expectations with your clients and they know what to expect.
The key is to identify and communicate the preferred timescales that you want to work to, and figure out how you can build this into what you offer so that it’s a core, integral part of what you offer (and can even become a selling point).
Set The Right Expectations
One of the biggest pain points for potential clients when deciding whether to engage someone they’ve only ever ‘met’ online, is how things will actually work.
And nowhere is this more evident than building a website for someone…The entire process is, to your average person, baffling – from the domain registration to the publishing of their first blog post…and all that is required in between to get their website online.
What may seem like unreasonable or demanding requests to you, may come from a place of blissful ignorance for the client who has no idea that what they’ve requested may require the entire home page to be re-designed or the first draft to be re-engineered completely.
To avoid scenarios like this – and to help remove the mystery over what it’s actually like to work with you online – it helps to outline the step-by-step process of working with you.
Not only does this inform and educate a potential client, it also sets the expectations of what’s required from them throughout – be that content, a logo, feedback or whatever.
Add to this your preferred duration/time scales from above and you’ll find that issues arising from miscommunication, blissful ignorance and false expectations will reduce, if not disappear altogether.
Be Specific About What’s On Offer
If you often find yourself having to include unexpected additional aspects of support for clients, take a look at how you describe your service online.
More often than not, you’ve been too vague, left things open to (mis)interpretation and failed to cover yourself by expressly stating what is and isn’t included in the fees you’ve quoted.
The simple fix for this is:
- State exactly what’s included as part of the service.
- State exactly what’s NOT included as part of the service.
Leave no room for (mis)interpretation and, for added clarification, consider including an FAQ section too so that you can cover off any additional questions clients often have.
When you’re trading your time for money, any additional time and effort you spend having to clear up miscommunications, providing extras at your own expense, and generally working on things which aren’t in your area of expertise or skill set eats directly into your profit margins.
Packaging up and presenting your services more clearly online – before a customer has paid you – is the first step to protecting and even increasing your profit margins.