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


  • Sam Schnitzler is a profitable freelance web designer.
  • He seen that almost all of his purchasers got here from referrals from different companies, so he developed an electronic mail that may entice companies to strategically companion with him.
  • Though he presents 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 effectively over $200,000 a year, he mentioned.

Schnitzler advised Business Insider that the technique he used to succeed in 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 and marketing alternative by proactively concentrating on and reaching out to potential companions. 

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

How his referral course of works

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

The web designer additionally greases the wheels for these companions to advertise his providers by offering advertising and marketing supplies and proposal templates with the purchasers’ personal branding. He moreover presents coaching and help 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 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 present purchasers on a venture, he asks them who they work with in related business-to-business industries, akin to graphic designers, programmers, builders, advertising and marketing specialists, printing corporations, copywriters, IT/networking professionals, and enterprise consultants. Schnitzler would not present this complete checklist of potential partnerships to his present purchasers; as a substitute, he sees what kinds of providers every shopper already makes use of, and he targets these providers when discussing the topic with them.

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

For instance, one prospect advised Schnitzler that he all the time needed to supply web-design providers however did not need to rent extra employees. So Schnitzler added a level in his electronic mail template that mentioned by coming to him, companies do not want to rent further employees.

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

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 comfortable along with your work.

I needed to introduce you to the chance that may assist you develop your enterprise, with out spending additional 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 along with it is going to solely make the proper enterprise resolution.

Every enterprise wants a web site, and your purchasers would a lot fairly take care of a vendor they already know and belief, however being a “jack of all trades, master of none” isn’t any profit to anybody.

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

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

  • Earn more cash from present purchasers.
  • Expand your enterprise in new markets.
  • No must study something new.
  • Avoid hiring further employees. 
  • 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 may help you promote your new providers; you should not must spend additional time on it.
  • I can be empowering you with the instruments you must succeed.

Would you be excited by studying extra about how we will work collectively for the advantage of your organization and its purchasers? 

Thank you,

[Your name]

Leave an aura to encourage the prospect to succeed in out

If you seen 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 averted “spelling everything out” as a result of he desires his electronic mail to depart 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 provide a number of web providers that your purchasers already want, together with Informational Websites, Shopping Carts, CMS Systems, and Custom Web Systems. 

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

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

You preserve 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 employees member or as your enterprise companion in the case of 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 each 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, fairly than “corporate-looking,” however mentioned he has a designed model that he sends to subscribers on his mailing checklist. He all the time ends his emails with one clear query to maintain the dialog going. 

In the physique of the e-mail, Schnitzler mentions providers that may be fascinating to the precise shopper and likewise precious 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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