Who said charging five figures for a website was impossible? Today we’ll show you how to do just that, without the conventional methods like building an email list or posting consistently to social media to create brand awareness.
These tips come directly from our Wix Partner Marshall Fox, Founder and CEO of 120 Design Studio, who’s nearing his first million dollars earned having delivered 88 websites to date. You can catch the full webinar here.
Below, we’ve rounded up his expert tips and answers to FAQs to help you charge more for your hard work and mastery.
The hard truths for easier conversions
To charge more for your websites, you have to adapt your strategy accordingly. What most people don’t realize when it comes to quoting higher prices is that the challenge is more perceptual than technical. That is, your brand positioning and how you come across matter more than building out a sales funnel or embarking on a marketing campaign.
“The hard truth for a lot of designers is that we get a bad rap because of lack of communication. Now I’m not saying we’re all guilty of that, but in a lot of cases there’s just this perception that designers aren’t good at the discovery process. We’re kind of all over the place, and we’re not really adding the level of value that our clients think we should add” says Fox.
So how do we solve this?
By leveraging our available resources, doubling down on our unique strengths, reducing our scope of focus to a singular offer we can perfect, and learning exactly who we serve. These should all be top of mind for agencies looking to scale, but there’s one more advantage our Partners can make use of.
The Wix Advantage
To succeed in landing your first five-figure client, it’s important we bust a particular myth early on, which is this notion that designers can’t charge premium prices because they’re building on Wix. The fact of the matter is - as Marshall Fox attests - Wix is advantageous for this goal. As he puts it,
“There's never been a better time to be a Wix Partner because there are more people online than ever before… The pandemic was extremely difficult for many of us, but on the flip side, there was also this big economic surge of people leaving their jobs to create online businesses. So, where does that leave us? There are a lot of people that need what we do, because a lot of low-barrier-to-entry services and site builders means anyone can create, so there’s a lot more junk being put out online as a result.”
As the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for.’ Clients with a low budget often have unrealistic expectations, so it's critical to find ones that value the work you do. Price should parallel value.
“Will all these new six and seven-figure earners, they may not have a hundred thousand dollars for full-blown, ground-up web development, but they may have 10k, 20k, even 30k for a website, so we can definitely hit that sweet spot.”
For Fox, this means pitching Wix sites as a turnkey, one-stop-shop solution.
“I haven't written a line of code to this day, and clients often come to me frustrated with other platforms constantly needing to update plugins and make updates that aren't user friendly. What I propose to them eliminates the need for a lot of other software that they used to pay for like shops, email lists, bookings; Wix takes care of all of that” says Fox. “And when we turn the keys over to the clients, it’s so much easier for them to then make their own updates, which is something I find high paying clients particularly value because, in my experience, they don't have a lot of time to figure things out.”
Ultimately, clients pay Wix Partners not just for their time, but for expertise. To charge five-figure quotes per site, it’s a matter of finding the right clients and communicating the right offer.
The ‘right offer’ is singular, not plural
“If I had to give you my success secret, it’s that five-letter word: FOCUS. There’s this quote by Darren Hardy that said, ‘I never saw somebody dig a bunch of holes and expect to strike oil,’ right? So focus is something that allowed me to pick up the Wix platform and use it to serve my clients at a high level very quickly, and when clients see that you're an expert at one thing, they're ready to pay you,” says Fox.
To that effect, niching down is a good move to establish credibility and perceived expertise. Simplicity and specificity both go a long way in closing the sale.
“On the flip side of focusing on a single offer, clients will be ready to part ways with you when you’re all over the place. I don’t have an issue telling the client, ‘no, I don’t use that platform.’ That confidence makes you seem more attractive in that sense, instead of saying, ‘Yeah, ok, I think I can learn that,’ because then you’re giving in to this power dynamic where they have the power to dictate your tools and processes. If they do want to use one specific platform, you can refer them to someone else you know - it never has to devolve to a hostile conversation.”
Defining your niche, ideal customer persona, and offer, in that order, is the process Fox used to focus on the types of clients that value his services. 120 Design Studio has been booked for five years straight, without needing to cold call clients and nurture leads.
“What is the solution that clients come to you for the most, even if you do other things like making flyers or SEO marketing? What do clients come to you for the most and that you want to showcase? The more focused attention you can give to one platform, one area of expertise, or one type of client, the more quickly you can learn and become an expert and the more value you can add. In my case, I serve speakers seven figure speakers, and it took me some time for sure - I worked my way up to it over the years - but let's say you serve dog walkers, barbers, doctors or lawyers, you want to find one specific type of client within those groups of people, and showcase one major solution that really solves their pain point.”
Of course, perfecting your solution is work in its own right, but that comes after the sale. Beforehand, you’ll need to deploy a combination of empathy to understand their explicit and implicit needs, and confidence in communicating the price and value for your proposed solution.
In the end, the only way to get $10,000+ is to ask for it. And you have to ask the right people.
Use the freelance formula to score more clients
Getting the client’s signature for the terms of service can be the most daunting part, but it’s also the second most rewarding feeling after seeing the client gush over their new site.
“There’s this framework I used early on that I call ‘the freelance formula,’ which is great for starting out or leveling up the clientele you’re working with. Whether you’re just beginning or looking to pivot, you can offer something small for free or at a discounted rate in exchange for a great review or testimonial from them, and then three referrals from that person for you to make the same offer to someone else. You can rinse and repeat this as often as you like, with the goal of turning these people into paid clients.”
While we don’t advocate doing free labor, selling your services to strangers is quite difficult; finding quick wins that are mutually beneficial can help you rapidly expand your network and put you in conversation with more prospective clients who fit your ideal customer persona.
“Of course you have to do this strategically - if somebody comes to you and says ‘can you create a website for me for exposure?’ run the other way as quickly as possible. Always look at their social media, look at that network, see how influential they are in their network. I'm not saying they have to be an influencer but it should be somebody who you can tell has trust with their clients and is connected to other people that you would like to serve.”
Fox shared one example of someone he had come across that he’d identified as a critical person to network with. He ultimately did some free work for them in exchange for social media coverage over the following few weeks.
“She was really in her ‘lane of brilliance,’ meaning she’s busy changing people’s lives and making an impact. She’s not a web designer. That’s why I came to her and said, ‘l can do all of these things for you, and if you're satisfied, just tell people about me.’ So every live video for the next couple of weeks, she talked about me, singing my praises. Why? Because it's the law of reciprocity - she felt like she owed me, but she was more than willing and motivated to share about me. In the end, the highest paying client I ever got was a referral from her. And that's something I did for free, and honestly, I didn't have the time to do it,, but I made it work.’
This is where the freelance formula proves handy; it requires intense effort (trust is built over time, after all), but it's an effective route for scoring new clients when done right. With time, you’ll build your brand within your customers’ community, and you won’t have to offer any discounts as a result. Most importantly, you’ll have built up the confidence and momentum to continue charging five figures for your sites on a regular basis.
Presentation is key
“When I show up on camera with the client on zoom, they automatically assume I'm expensive… and that's not a bad thing,” says Fox. “I don't do any convincing because when they can immediately tell that I take my craft seriously. I’m intentional about how I present myself: I position myself in a way that you can tell that I take pride in what I do, I have a high level of attention to detail, and I'm going to do the same for you in your project.”
Of course, this mindset extends online, where social media adds another layer to the notion of self-representation. You have to be posting, but you also have to be selective about what you post.
“High-paying clients do their research, so you have to be mindful of what you’re presenting online. If you frequently design graphics for example, do you share every little thing you post, every flyer, like a trophy case? Or can you be more strategic and make it a point to only post high level projects with high-level scope and impact in order to score more of this kind of work?”
As Fox puts it, you don’t want to be the designer or agency with 57 different types of clients and projects. Form a cohesive narrative that unites the existing projects in your portfolio, and acts as the north star to attract others who align with your vision. Ultimately the amount we charge clients is a reflection of our confidence, mastery and familiarity with their problems.
Get the right buck for your bang
“Remember, clients don't pay by the number of pages you create for their site, they pay for value. So there’s two points to make here: one is, what value are you providing to the client? And two, do you have any intangible traits that high paying clients value and will pay for? These are things like peace of mind knowing they won’t have to go back and redo it or pay somebody else.”
In going above and beyond for his clients, Fox often sends bonus items and goodies that elevate the perceived value of his services, things like branded business cards, t-shirts, custom neon signs of their logo. He explains that this helps bring the clients’ brand to life in their minds, and it doesn’t cost all that much relative to what he earns back. Dropping $20 to vectorize a logo on Fiverr is worth it to up the degree of professionalism on a client site.
These are all things that will elevate your customer’s clients in you and your work, as well as your own confidence in yourself to delight high-paying professionals.
“There’s no shortage of money out here y’all. You have to make sure that you don't project negative assumptions or feelings toward money onto your products and services because high paying clients can smell that, and they’ll run away.”