View Full Version : How do you market to web designers and webmasters?
Effscot Fizz Gerald
04-27-2004, 02:24 AM
I'm a web content writer. (I also do other kinds of writing, like newsletters, but the web content is my specialty.) I think there might be a huge not-very-tapped market of web design firms and in-house webmasters of larger organizations, who need a writer to refer their clients to or take on as virtual subcontracted staff.
The problem is, where do pro web designers go where they can be marketed to? What would be an effective site to advertise on? Are there any good opt-in email lists for web designers? I think this site is primarily for people like me who have a single do-it-yourself website, not for the pro web designers (though I know you are on here and I am appealing especially to you, as well as anyone who has advice).
Would cold calling or just sending an email (I'm concerned that might seem like spam, but it would be the most obvious choice given the nature of the business) work?
Any ideas would be hugely appreciated.
04-27-2004, 11:30 AM
I think sending an email or cold calling can be effective in your case. Just make sure you personalize each email. Mention their name, some of their clients, or other sites in similar industries that you have worked on.
You could also submit articles you write to any number of places on the internet that accept submissions. You can write about anything, but I imagine some articles about how to write for the web or whatever will be most effective. Here is a link with a lot of links to places you can submit articles: http://www.economicbooster.com/write-articles.html
Every now and then I will get an email from a flash designer or copywriter who offers their freelance services to me. I always reply to the ones who obviously emailed me specifically. I rarely have any work for them at the time, but I tell them that I'll keep thier contact info on file in case I do in the future.
Effscot Fizz Gerald
04-27-2004, 12:23 PM
Hey Flood6--thanks for the post. That's certainly refreshing. You mean you're not getting inundated with solicitations from people like me?
What you're saying is that a particular web designer/web design firm tends to work with clients in certain industries, so I should personalize the emails that way? I just had this idea that web design firms tended to work with certain technologies/kinds of sites rather than industries.
Which would work better: cold emails or cold calls? Personally, I find cold calls to be invasive and I never respond well to those I receive. But there are so many people who are in an uproar over unsolicited commercial email (which seems crazy to me; it's not like every unsolicited commercial email was trying to sell viagra to three million men women and children). Would you respond better to something you got over paper mail?
Also, would I seem like a jerk if I critiqued their website in the email? Some designers have spelling mistakes etc., and alot have really really ineffective web content. Or are those web designers the ones I should avoid because they obviously don't care about their content?
04-27-2004, 02:39 PM
Well, I get the spam messages from the logo designers and stuff, but I only get a handful of emails from designers and copywriters who send me a personal email where they mention things that are specific to my site or my clients. I'm not very big though, larger sites get many more, I imagine.
I can't speak for everyone, but I know I prefer email. I know how it sucks cold calling, so I don't hang up on the poor rascals, but I do interrupt and tell them that I'm busy, but that they can email me. The ones who are serious will send me an email.
When I mentioned industry, I was just thinking about you contacting the site owner directly. Like contacting an online jewelry retailer. You can mention how you supplied the copy for www.whatever-jewelers.com. And that their sales have increased by 3%. Also mention how you think that on their "Necklace" page you think you can improve the wording so it will differentiate them from their competitor at www.jewelry-R-us.net. This lets them know that you didn't mass mail this to thousands of other merchants because you were so specific. I was thinking more of contacting the owner directly when I mentioned past work in the specific industry.
To help disarm the "spam" complaints send the email like a business contact. Don't be too heavy handed with the sales phrases. No big bold "This week only" stuff. Also tell them that this is the only time they will be contacted because you have no interest in spamming potential clients, or whatever.
Giving them an unsolicited critique could be tricky. As you know, you could easily offend someone who might otherwise be interested.
Yeah, I think if their copy is god-awful it might be a case where the webmaster/designer/owner has no clue what he is doing and might not see the value of your services. I'm guessing you would be best off targeting small, sharp looking websites where you think you can improve their copy. Just a guess, but I imagine those will be the ones most likely to listen when you approach them with a way to improve a site they obviously care about. And I guess they should be successful enough to be able to pay for your services. I imagine it is really a sweet-spot you will have to look for.
Effscot Fizz Gerald
04-27-2004, 06:12 PM
Apologies in advance if this posts double. I don't know what that's happening and I'm trying to fix it.
Could you take a look at my basic email, please? I think it might be too long. Is it, and what should I cut?
Also, would you respond well to an email that was addressed to the name of your firm, rather than your name personally? In a lot of cases, the firm name is all I have to go on.
I'm going to post this on the email marketing page, but I also wanted your opinion. Thanks so much.
Dear Spamtastic Web Designs,
I'm a web content writer who would like the chance to work with you and your clients. I know you value good web content because your own site uses great content rather than relying on design stunts. I especially liked----.
Has a client ever asked you to provide web content in addition to design services, or asked for a referral? Do you think you might get this request in the future? If so, I hope you'll add me to your contacts list. Here’s why:
+ Experience writing a variety of B2B, B2C, small business, and nonprofit web content, including SEO content.
+ Experience as a published commercial writer, in books from St. Martin’s Press and Barnes & Noble.
+ Religious devotion to deadlines, and clear communication.
+ A Harvard degree (BA, Sociology, the closest thing to Marketing a “pure learning” university will teach)—which probably won’t impress you, but just might impress a few of your clients.
Best of all, I also offer reasonable fees that fall toward the affordable end of the guidelines put out by the Copywriter’s Council of America (further information on www.joelwalsh.com/rates
Of course, you may not have any need for content right now. But when the need arises, won’t it be great to have already confirmed a good content writer? Check out some of my samples at www.joelwalsh.com/portfolio Bookmark the site for when you need it.
Please send any questions you might have about my services, or about web content in general.
Your Web Content Provider
joel @ joelwalsh . com
1-978-328-2960 | 1-928-569-1507 (fax)
27 Eighth Avenue
Lowell, Massachusetts 01854-1501
If you do not want to receive any more emails from me ever again, simply reply to this message with the word “remove” in the subject line.
As a fellow creative services professional, I sincerely apologize if you found this email offensive or annoying in any way. Rest assured I did not get your email address from a mailing list.
04-28-2004, 05:10 PM
I agree with flood6 about personalizing the email...
Obviously it will take more time, but your response rate should be higher as well.
It'll be pretty obvious that you have contacted the firm personally.
I too get the logo spammers... straight to the delete box.
I think it's definitely a viable market.. has potential
ps.. I deleted the second post
05-01-2004, 02:37 PM
In my experience one email won't even get you on their radar. You need to introduce yourself, remind them you exist and continue to follow through. Start big but don't forget the small guys.
While the www is global, you can start locally.
1. Email your prospects letting them know what you offer and that you'll be calling this week. Ask for a time that works (but don't let that put you off if they don't reply)
2. Follow up phone call 2 or 3 days later. Request a meeting.
3. Send a thank you note (snail mail) to anyone who was even civil.
4. Send a reminder email/card in 6 months and again 12 months.
It takes time to build a client base whether you are a design firm or a subcontractor.
05-05-2004, 06:30 PM
There are several freelance directories that will post your services for free, such as Blue Gecko. For a list see havingmyownwebsite.net/sitedeveloper.htm (http://www.havingmyownwebsite.net/sitedeveloper.htm). Some will send you word of projects that fit your skill set.
At the very least, they're a good place to find lists of developers. I'd market to the programmers. The ones who describe themselves as designers or developers (like me) are more likely to be good with both words and graphics.
05-07-2004, 07:03 PM
But first you need to not put the person down you want to market to.
Your business associates or web developers or some nagging little voice inside you are asking, why do you need a website copywriter?
Here it sounds like your saying the web designer is not smart enough to know why you would want a website copywriter.
Here's some free advice that's worth your entire web development budget:
Here it sounds like the copywriter is more important then the designer.
I would say it takes both but I would not use someone I felt like was putting me down.
OK, there's no such study--the real figure would be closer to 99%. The culprits: on the one hand, the low-budget nature of the web; on the other, web developers who tell their clients to devote their website's budget to lucrative (for the developer) "active" content (such as Flash, Java, and the slowest-loading of all, the Orwellianly named Quicktime), as well as sometimes unnecessary database functionalities.
All this is from your home page.
Just my two cents.
05-07-2004, 11:19 PM
"active" content (such as Flash, Java, and the slowest-loading of all, the Orwellianly named Quicktime)
"Orwellianly", LOL nice one! DoubleSpeak!
Stuff like that line (and your name on this forum, lol) indicate that you have a certain amount of classy wit. Take that further.
Your site has that picture of that one person standing out in the crowd. Try and take that same theme even further (if only on a test basis) to really snatch potential clients attention. See if you can find a balance of professionalism and humor to make yourself stand out.
I have two résumé’s. One is mostly about my traditional day-job-type skills. Straight vanilla and stuffy, it focus's more on managerial experience. The second is my tech-resume that focus's more on my web skills (which is the direction I am trying to head into). In the middle, one of the bullets on my tech-resume, without skipping a beat says "I helped Al Gore invent the internet", then I continue on with my real skills. Now, I wish I could say "And that line helped me land my dream job", but I can't; however, I'm convinced that the theory is sound.