How a freelance web designer making $200,00 a year gets referrals


  • Sam Schnitzler is a profitable freelance web designer.
  • He observed that almost all of his shoppers got here from referrals from different companies, so he developed an electronic mail that will entice companies to strategically accomplice with him.
  • Though he affords a lot of details about his providers up entrance, Schnitzler leaves some aura to get potential companions to reply.
  • Ending with a clear query additionally retains the dialog going, he mentioned.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Sam Schnitzler, a web site guide and the proprietor of the website-design agency Universal NYC, has been a profitable web designer for over 17 years. As a full-time freelancer, Schnitzler now makes nicely over $200,000 a year, he mentioned.

Schnitzler informed Business Insider that the technique he used to achieve this stage of monetary success was specializing in constructing his shopper base by way of referrals.

“I noticed that while some clients send me their friends once in a while, they [were] not really consistent,” Schnitzler mentioned. “I tried asking my clients to have me in mind when they hear someone needs a website, and while they all agreed to do so, nothing really changed.”

So Schnitzler drilled down deeper and found that almost all of his repeat referrals got here from different companies. When he realized that many of those companies — which included copywriters, programmers, and consultants — have been reaching out to him naturally with out him asking, he determined to leverage this advertising alternative by proactively focusing on and reaching out to potential companions. 

To achieve this, the freelancer created packages and pricing on his web site which are particularly for these precedence prospects and never accessible to most of the people. He now gets about 80% of his shoppers from these strategic companions.

How his referral course of works

Schnitzler mentioned these focused companies might signal as much as develop into a “strategic partner” and select in the event that they need to supply his providers to their shoppers as a white-label service or simply ship them on to him and get a finder’s payment or different useful providers. 

The web designer additionally greases the wheels for these companions to advertise his providers by offering advertising supplies and proposal templates with the purchasers’ personal branding. He moreover affords coaching and assist freed from cost.

“This makes it very easy for my strategic partners to sell web-design services without learning a new skill, and it gets me an ongoing flow of repeat business on a monthly basis,” Schnitzler mentioned.

To discover these prospects, Schnitzler would not merely pull random contacts out of a skilled listing or social media: He appears to be like for a true connection by pursuing what he known as “shared clients.” 

“While any type of relationship is better than nothing, a shared client is the best connection, as it proves to them that their existing clients need my services and are happy with what I do,” Schnitzler mentioned. “Plus, it demonstrates that we’re at the same level.”

When Schnitzler works with current shoppers on a venture, he asks them who they work with in comparable business-to-business industries, corresponding to graphic designers, programmers, builders, advertising specialists, printing firms, copywriters, IT/networking professionals, and enterprise consultants. Schnitzler would not present this complete record of potential partnerships to his current shoppers; as an alternative, he sees what sorts of providers every shopper already makes use of, and he targets these providers when discussing the topic with them.

Once his shopper supplies him with the contact data, he sends that enterprise an introductory electronic mail with a suggestion. He designed an electronic mail template that abates widespread fears he realized about by way of conversations with potential companions.

For instance, one prospect informed Schnitzler that he at all times wished to supply web-design providers however did not need to rent extra workers. So Schnitzler added a level in his electronic mail template that mentioned by coming to him, companies do not want to rent further workers.

The electronic mail template you’ll be able to copy from Schnitzler to supply discounted pricing and different alternatives to your shoppers

Hi [prospect’s name],

My title is [your name], and I have been working with [shared client’s name] on their new web site. They talked about that also they are working with you and appear to be glad together with your work.

I wished to introduce you to the chance that can aid you develop your corporation, with out spending further time or cash!

You are already promoting [name of service] to enterprise house owners like [shared client’s name], and providing web providers to go together with it’s going to solely make the proper enterprise choice.

Every enterprise wants a web site, and your shoppers would a lot moderately take care of a vendor they already know and belief, however being a “jack of all trades, master of none” is not any profit to anybody.

I am right here to assist! I present white-label web design and growth providers at a low price to you, which lets you resell them at a aggressive price. 

The advantages of providing our providers to your shoppers embody the next:

  • Earn extra money from current shoppers.
  • Expand your corporation in new markets.
  • No have to be taught something new.
  • Avoid hiring further workers. 
  • Enhance your buyer expertise.  

It is easy to get began:

  • I am going to maintain your hand and reply all of your questions, and your shopper’s questions.
  • I might help you promote your new providers; you should not need to spend further time on it.
  • I can be empowering you with the instruments that you must succeed.

Would you be concerned with studying extra about how we will work collectively for the good thing about your organization and its shoppers? 

Thank you,

[Your name]

Leave an aura to encourage the prospect to achieve out

If you observed that Schnitzler’s electronic mail would not present full particulars about how his course of works, you are proper. The web designer mentioned he intentionally prevented “spelling everything out” as a result of he desires his electronic mail to go away the recipient with some questions that he can reply. 

“I do that because I want them to contact me for more details so I know they are interested,” he mentioned. “If I give them all info right away, they may be very interested but forget about it after a few days, and I won’t know about it.”

Once the prospect responds and exhibits curiosity, he sends a follow-up electronic mail to clarify extra of his providers and reply questions.

The follow-up electronic mail that he sends to prospects

Hi [prospect’s name],

Thank you for getting again to me. I supply a number of web providers that your shoppers already want, together with Informational Websites, Shopping Carts, CMS Systems, and Custom Web Systems. 

By creating a strategic partnership, you should have the power to supply our providers in 3 ways:

Full Control (Option 1 — at 30% off our common pricing)

You hold full management over the venture and buyer; I’ll solely be doing the work behind the scenes.

Happy Medium (Option 2 — between 20% and 30% off our common pricing)  

You do what you do finest, which is [name of service]. I can be coping with your shopper as your workers member or as your corporation accomplice with regards to the areas you want my assist with.

Hand Over (Option three — as much as 20% fee relying on the venture)  

You get us in contact straight with the shopper, and we ship you a fee every time the client submits a fee.

Which of those choices appears to work finest for you?

Thank you,

[Your name]

Best practices for emailing prospects

Schnitzler retains the emails he sends pleasant and private, moderately than “corporate-looking,” however mentioned he has a designed model that he sends to subscribers on his mailing record. He at all times ends his emails with one clear query to maintain the dialog going. 

In the physique of the e-mail, Schnitzler mentions providers that will be attention-grabbing to the precise shopper and likewise useful to his enterprise. If he decides to tack on different providers later, he upsells them.

And lastly, the web designer mentioned, “Delivering exceptional service is the key to any business success; otherwise, no one will want to recommend you to anyone. So I make sure to keep all my clients happy. But most importantly, clients that come from my strategic partners get the special treatment.”



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