Chasing after new clients is part of being a freelancer or small web design agency. It’s a direct path to growth. But we shouldn’t forget about existing clients. They play an important role in a thriving web design business.
The challenge is that some clients don’t provide lasting revenue. After their project launches, money tends to dry up. You may have trouble justifying the cost of keeping them.
What costs? The responsibility of looking after their website, for one. If something breaks, you’ll be the one to fix it. The same goes for making small changes. This requires time. And it can get in the way of more profitable tasks.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The right strategies can ensure that every client is a profitable one. The key is in providing value. Here are a few ideas for increasing revenue from your existing clients.
Work With Yearly Maintenance Plans
Website maintenance plans are a great way to boost revenue. And they’re especially important in the age of content management systems (CMS). Apps like WordPress require frequent updates – not to mention a 24/7 focus on security.
The concept is simple: charge a yearly fee in exchange for a well-defined service. Specify what you’ll do and how much time you’ll commit to the job. Clients get peace of mind, and you’ll gain some extra cash.
Not all clients prefer this type of arrangement, however. They’d rather contact you when they need something. It’s particularly convenient for organizations that don’t make many changes to their site.
In that case, you could offer an hourly rate. But you might charge a higher price in exchange for this convenience. That way, you’re still making an acceptable profit.
An hourly rate is completely optional, though. The goal should be to funnel as many clients into a maintenance agreement as possible. This will provide you with predictable, recurring revenue.
Offer Subscription-Based Services to Clients
Maintenance isn’t the only subscription-based service web designers can offer. There are related items that can add value as well:
There are benefits to hosting your client’s website. First, it ensures that their site is on a platform you are familiar with. This can make building, maintaining, and troubleshooting more efficient.
It also adds to your bottom line. You’ll be able to charge monthly or yearly fees for the service.
Just to be clear: this doesn’t mean setting up a server in your office. Instead, you can resell server space from an established hosting company.
The potential downside is that you’ll likely be the point of contact when something goes wrong. Therefore, you may want to charge a premium to cover the extra responsibility.
SEO & Analytics
Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a cottage industry. But it’s a relatable subject that web designers can master. Thus, it’s a natural extension of your core business.
And SEO goes well beyond the initial setup. Monitoring results through analytics provides important data. From there, you can adjust your strategy to align with client goals.
The adjustments can take many forms. It could be a few simple content changes. Or you might change a site’s structure to better serve users. Regardless, there are opportunities to generate revenue.
This service may be a perfect fit if you enjoy digging into numbers. Clients will be happy to pay for your expertise.
Content Creation & Email List Management
There is also subscription service potential for designers with marketing skills. Creating content for clients and helping to manage their email lists are prime examples.
Many clients have an ongoing need for both services. For example, those without an in-house marketer might need help writing blog posts. This keeps users engaged while your client can focus on running their business.
Email list management could be a stretch for some. But if you’re already creating content for their website, writing newsletters isn’t so far-fetched.
There is money to be made in the right situations. And these projects may fit in with what you’re already doing.
If All Else Fails, Raise Your Prices
If you’re already doing one or more of the above, good for you! That means you’re seizing the opportunity to enhance your services list. And you’re making the most out of your existing client relationships.
But the cost of everything is rising. Thus, you may need to raise your prices to keep pace.
This move shouldn’t be taken lightly, though. Clients who are already tired of increased costs may not be willing or able to pay more.
Therefore, this should be a rare event. Yearly increases, for instance, will eventually alienate some people. But doing so every 2-3 years may be more acceptable.
It’s OK to pad your bottom line. But it’s also wise to empathize with clients. Money for the sake of money isn’t a good reason to raise prices.
It Pays to Focus On Existing Clients
It can be easy to look past existing clients. Some of that may be due to the industry’s narrative. It seems like we’re constantly being advised to go bigger and better.
As such, we don’t always maximize their value. That’s a shame. Existing clients are vital to helping your business grow. We can rely on them even when we’re having difficulty booking new projects.
So, take the time to examine your client roster. Get a sense of how much revenue each one generates. Find areas where you can add value. Then create a plan to increase those numbers.
The extra money you make will add sustainability to your business. And your clients will get the services they need to succeed. It’s a win for everyone!