Based in Hollywood, CA. However deal with clients across America.
April 12, 2010 9:42 PM   Subscribe

How would you promote a Webdesign company?

Deal primarily w/ Startups up to Mid Size Businesses.

posted by livin4u to Work & Money (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
First, I would remember that you mean "web design"-- two separate words. When promoting a business or service to potential clients, seemingly minor mistakes like this can lead potential clients to not take you seriously.

Secondly, promoting a web design company will have different necessary approaches depending on what industry the business is in.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:26 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Secondly, Part 2: Furthermore, you need to understand who your clients and competitors are, and the context within which your whole business sits.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:30 AM on April 13, 2010

Firstly, is this purely a design business? Because not many companies sell pure 'web design' straight to businesses these days. Most do web design and development. If a client comes to you and asks you to design them a site where people can come and actually buy stuff, can your company do all that? If not, do you have a strong relationship with another company who can fill that gap? If you're just doing straight design you might want to work on getting some programming skills on board, or else try to build a relationship with one or more freelance web developers. Otherwise you're going to end up turning a high percentage of business away.

As for promoting your business, networking counts for a lot. In my experience, relatively little work comes in from direct promotion; most of it comes through contacts, referrals and (eventually) repeat business. Build relationships with other designers and developers in your area. Make yourself known to larger web development companies - many of them outsource to smaller businesses when their workload requires it.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:14 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

le morte de bea arthur has it. Networking is essential when you're getting a business off the ground. The other thing, which is obvious to say but I'll say it is: make sure you have a great site, with a good portfolio section. I see a lot of sites for web design firms (especially local ones), and if they're poorly done then I am immediately going to assume the firm is not worth my time.

Even if you're spending most of your time networking and the rest doing client work, make sure your own site doesn't let you down. A really nice basic three pager with a contact form and a list of links to client sites is, in my opinion, going to be better than a monstrosity you've been putting off updating for two years and which you knocked out in a week early on.

[My favourite one recently was a local firm that boasted of its strong web design skills as well as its strength in SEO but where every single page was just one large jpg]
posted by Hartster at 3:04 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do really good design.

Stay in touch with, and on good terms with, past clients. You'll never know who will pop up years later to hand you a new stream of work.

That's pretty much it. I've never gotten a single lead, in over a dozen years of freelancing, that wasn't in one way or another based on word of mouth.

(I'll disagree slightly with le morte de bea arthur: focusing on pure design and UI is a reasonable niche, provided you're focusing on (for example) web companies who will have their own dev side in-house. Not everybody has to be a full turnkey solution provider.)

(It's worth noting you posted this exact same question back in December, with a similar lack of detail. You'll get better answers if you provide more information.)
posted by ook at 5:44 AM on April 13, 2010

Start by doing work for free for a few websites in exchange for prominent link at the bottom: "Site design by".

Obviously the better the traffic to these sites the better for you. You can offer it free to non-profs. or your church, or local little league team. You'll be helping them and yourself at the same time. This will jumpstart the portfolio that others mention.

Feel free to help with ours while your at it. haha
posted by chinabound at 7:34 AM on April 13, 2010

Start by doing work for free for a few websites in exchange for prominent link at the bottom: "Site design by".
Oh no no no no. Free art is never a good thing, and 'Site design by' is a mark of an amateur. If your design is good, people will know.

Do really, really good design. If you have small clients who don't demand it, still blow the sites out of the water. Make a portfolio (you don't have a website linked from Metafilter). Refer to web design as web design always. Charge real prices and do fantastic work. Partner up with a developer so that you can spin out complete projects. Become great at business and communications.
posted by tmcw at 8:49 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

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