Determining how to sell a website to a client in your niche requires a well-defined process and workflow that every website professional needs to refine for their own company.
If you are just starting out, or have been at it for years, sales is the one “how to” that is the most important and most subjective. You can’t avoid that “sales” is the cornerstone of your revenue, so why not take the time to make sure that process is the best it can be?
Selling your web design services doesn’t exist in just one phase of the project cycle, but starts with the first interaction your potential new client has with your website. It goes far beyond the proposal phase to when they send that initial deposit for the project.
How to sell web design services in four stages
Systematically, the process of selling websites to clients can be broken down into four stages. When these phases are properly managed and executed, figuring out how to sell web design services becomes that much easier.
- Phase 1: Creating a lead funnel.
- Phase 2: Screening the lead.
- Phase 3: Delivering the proposal.
- Phase 4: Following up to win the bid.
We’ll explore these phases and the steps you can take to sell a website to a client within each.
Phase 1: Creating a lead funnel
This is the phase where your potential new client first comes to you and ends when you schedule a time to talk about the project.
Selling your web design services begins with a well-designed lead funnel.
A lead funnel is used to determine where your potential client is in their buying process, so you can better tailor your messages to them.
It involves using your website, public profiles on social media, available downloads or resources, as well as any well-crafted auto-responses you have in your inbox for incoming leads.
For this phase, there are three important aspects you’ll want to focus on.
1. Make it clear what you do — and do it well
Think about value and what problems you help solve. Your online calling card isn’t just your website; make sure your LinkedIn profile, your business network groups and additional social profiles — even your email signature — accurately reflect your expertise.
This value should shine through in a one-line, unique value proposition (what it is you offer that’s unique) on your website, the title on LinkedIn and that final call-to-action (like “Reach out for a free consultation”) under your email signature.
Making it clear what you do and that you’re good at it will naturally result in more lead referrals.
2. Create a simple way for leads to get to know you — and vice versa
Allow leads to download a valuable piece of information or access a video series about their niche — all in exchange for their email.
Use a WordPress plugin that creates a popup on your website. Within that popup, insert a form to capture their name and email in exchange for a PDF download of helpful information that will solve a problem. This opt-in process helps you better understand what your lead is interested in.
Focus on what information your ideal client would want to know, then dangle it in front of them. This enables them to get to know and like you before you ever ask them to trust you and hand over cash to build a website.
And once you have that email, you can start an outreach process.
3. Define your process for reaching out to leads
Now it’s time to determine the best way to reach out to the lead to offer value and continue the get-to-know-you stage of the sales process.
You’ll want to follow-up with an automatic email that’s triggered by the form submission with a “Hello, and thanks for stopping by to get the download; here’s a little about us” message to keep the conversation going.
Be sure to let them know you’re available for questions. The best leads are the ones that are ready to make a decision and move forward, but you never want to push someone who’s not there yet.
During this stage of the outreach, your goal is to ensure this lead is ready to explore the details of creating a website. If so, they’ll engage with your outreach and move on to the next steps with you and your company.
Phase 2: Screening the lead
This is the phase where you begin to interact with your potential new client and ends when you determine if you’d like to work with them and present a proposal.
Let’s clear up an important myth: You can’t accurately quote a small business website prospect based on an email and a website example they send.
You must understand their needs, budget and timeframe, and the resources they already have in place versus what you’ll need to contribute to make it a reality.
Because everyone’s goals are unique, dedicated conversations are required to ensure you understand every aspect of theirs and why they need a new business website.
And there are several critical steps that can help you manage this discovery process.
1. Establish a barrier to entry with client boundaries
Your time is valuable, even if you need the work!
You want to sell websites to local businesses and other clients that have a reasonable budget based on their needs and are ready to move forward, not time wasters.
Clients need to be screened to avoid leads who will turn out to be bad clients, such as those who don’t follow your process, don’t have the budget, or have unrealistic expectations.
The best way to accomplish this is with a barrier to entry: Will they follow your process? Test and find out.
The best barrier to entry is an intake form with questions about their needs. If the lead is able to cogently respond to your questions — and thus assure they are potentially a viable client — you can feel comfortable proceeding with a call to connect.
Questions should include:
- What is your budget for this project? (Be honest so we can honor the budget you’ve set aside.)
- What are your goals for this website?
- When do you need the site to be live?
2. Book an initial meeting on your terms
Define the terms of this first meeting to gather details for the proposal, since this document will list everything provide and how much it will cost. Without an initial meeting, you won’t have enough details to write your proposal.
Provide a booking calendar link in which you take their number to call them, send out the calendar invite, and create the video meeting link if needed.
Note: A phone call should always be sufficient for an initial meeting to gather what you need for a proposal. Any client who wants to meet in person can do so once the project has been greenlighted, and you can frame that meeting as a paid discovery session and include it as part of your full proposal.
In-person meetings that occur before a check has been written should be reserved for significant, high-value clients, so make that call at your discretion.
Just remember this phase isn’t a job interview; you are a service provider following a distinct process. They need to follow your prescribed steps in order to receive the most accurate quote and and a site that meets their needs.
3. Take notes to repeat back the language from your potential client.
In the meeting you’re looking to not just gather details from the proposal, but also the language they use to describe their company, their target audience (the type of visitors who will be interacting with the website) and their needs, so you can repeat this back to them in the proposal copy.
It’s helpful to record the meeting if you have trouble remembering or are not good at taking notes.
Make sure to note their pain points and how they describe them, as well as how they describe the intended audience and what the site needs to achieve. All this comes back into play when you draft the proposal.
Phase 3: Delivering the proposal
This is the phase where you provide your full proposal on what it will take to build their website and ends when you hit the send button.
By now, you’ve discovered that the proposal isn’t the only phase that sells your website design services, and that the initial two phases are instrumental in establishing that you are someone your potential client wants to work with.
In this phase, you’ll focus on three important aspects critical to creating a successful proposal.
1. State the objective, target audience, client needs and your solutions
Using the language from your initial meeting, the proposal allows you to show your future client that you understand their needs and the highlight value you bring via your solution.
Refer back to your notes/transcript from that meeting so you can restate their objective, target audience and needs in their language, and respond with your solution to those needs.
The technology is secondary to what you’re trying to accomplish and your solution.
You can mention a certain WordPress plugin if it fits into describing the solution, but otherwise avoid tech specifics unless the client has requested them. Rather, explain what it is the technology will achieve.
2. Make pricing secondary to the solutions you are providing
You’re not pricing for the client; you’re pricing based on the solutions they need and the value and expertise you offer.
If you are just starting out, your price will likely be different than someone with more experience. If you’ve been at it for years, your price will reflect your efficiency and expertise.
And if you are just starting out, think about pricing as not just the time and resources it takes, but also what the deliverable provides for the client.
For example, if this website is going to bring the client $10,000 worth of business a month, investing $10,000 as a one-time fee to create the website gives them a high ROI (return on investment). You just need to make sure you are creating a site that will indeed provide the means to generate that $10,000 each month.
This returns the focus to needs and solutions, rather than how much someone can afford.
In time, you’ll begin to determine the minimum cost for your team and their time to execute all the solutions you are providing.
Focus on the solutions first and foremost, not what you think the client will pay and work backwards.
3. Bite off only what you (and the client) can chew
Instead of chasing the big-ticket payout, work with the budget the client has to deliver the best product they can achieve for that budget.
This is why addressing the budget early on is important.
You aren’t asking the client about their budget to see how much you can get, but how much of their goal you can accomplish right now within their budget.
If the price is too low for their needs, the build will be stressful and you won’t retain them as a client that could lead to more work (and potential referrals).
If it’s a large project or the client is not sure or clear about items, focus on a proposal for just the first phase of the project.
- Phase I could be an MVP (“Minimal Viable Product”) version of the website.
- Phase II could be the eCommerce that they can move forward with once the MVP is live.
- Phase III could be SEO once they’ve refined their copy.
This way, you can deliver and close out phase I, keeping projects wrapped up and clients happy.
Phase 4: Following up to win the bid
This is the final phase, where you remain in touch with the client. It ends when they agree to the proposal and send you the initial deposit to get started!
The most nerve-racking time for most website professionals is after the proposal has been delivered and before for the client has accepted.
The reality is, however, that on the client’s end, the reasons they don’t sign off immediately can vary. At this point, it’s not always possible for you to know for sure why they are not moving forward.
In following up, focus on these three important aspects:
1. In the first 30 days, only reach out with value
You are the person who’s bringing the expertise and solutions to the client.
Send out an email after a few days, then seven days and then 14 days, all with a piece of information. It could be an article on what makes a great landing page, or how a website is displaying something the client wants to emulate.
Don’t mention the proposal; showing up in their inbox is reminder enough that the proposal is waiting.
After about 30 days you can then require a hard yes or no on your proposal, so your team can focus on moving forward with other proposals and clients.
You run a business, so the client needs to give you an answer one way or the other in a reasonable timeframe.
Related: How to follow up with clients
2. Only take the deposit when the client is ready to begin
When you sell a website, explicitly detail the payment schedule and only begin when you receive the first payment.
A common payment schedule for website builds are 50% to begin the project (make sure they’ve signed the proposal) and 50% when the website is ready to go live (only go live when you receive final payment).
Delays are sometimes a good thing. You don’t want to start with a client who isn’t ready.
So don’t rush to get that deposit check until the client is ready. Get the deposit when the project is ready to begin, which is why those initial steps are important.
If the client isn’t ready, put the brakes on.
Send an email stating that you’ll follow up in a set amount of time, then set a reminder for yourself. This is the best way to avoid open projects that can go on for a year, 10 design passes, and other time suckers that tie up your resources.
3. Don’t adjust your pricing, process or timing for fear of losing the job
Only adjust your pricing, process or timing when it makes sense for the project.
If the client pushes back on one aspect because you misunderstood the request or they are going to do more work on their end to save some cash, it makes sense.
If you feel comfortable with the price you’re proposing because it’s what it will take to achieve their goals, you’ll feel better on sticking to your guns when they reply or push back. If you don’t take the time in that initial phase to understand their goals, your pricing estimate will be built on quicksand.
How to sell a website to a client — and build a relationship
Selling a website to a business should always be focused on establishing a positive relationship so that it grows into ongoing work and referrals.
Businesses need web designers and developers on an ongoing basis, so by positioning yourself as someone who offers valuable solutions from the start, you are securing future work.
Throughout the process and phases of selling website design services outlined above, strive to set the expectation that the partnership will grow into an ongoing relationship.
As you prove your worth by delivering on your promises, it will encourage the client trust in you.
And remember that if you notice pushback from a lead in any of the phases, you always have the power to refuse to move forward before you cash the initial deposit check. You want to work with the right business for you, and not every potential lead turns into a good client.
Use these phases to not only sell website to local businesses, but to create a process in which you also determine if this client is right for you. Refine the stages over time, developing customized processes, language and templates.
In doing so, you’re sure to see your sales increase — and stress levels decrease.
This post was originally published on Sept. 10, 2013, and was updated on Sept. 25, 2017, and May 28, 2019.
Twitter can be a great marketing tool for businesses of every size because this social media platform is an easy and convenient way to stay on top of industry trends, connect with customers and prospects, and promote your brand. You can share up to 280 characters in a text Tweet (up from the old 140), plus links, photos, GIFs and videos. And the immediacy of Twitter means you can learn from others and make connections in real-time. Ready to learn how to use Twitter for your business?
It’s as easy as setting up an account, following others in your industry, and gaining followers of your own by retweeting and replying to others’ posts and, when you feel comfortable, posting to your own feed.
Let’s get started!
How to use Twitter for business
- Create a Twitter account.
- Customize your profile.
- Start following.
- Compose Tweets.
Let’s look at each step in more detail …
Editor’s note: If you don’t have enough time to focus on social media, let GoDaddy help! The experts at GoDaddy Social not only manage your presence on your social networks, but also can help turn an online interaction into a lifelong customer.
1. Create a Twitter account
Head over to Twitter or download the app and sign up for an account. You’ll need to enter your full name, phone number and a password. Twitter will send you a text message with a code to verify your phone number.
Choose a username.
In the Twitterverse, your username is known as your “handle.” For example, the handle for GoDaddy’s Twitter account is @godaddy. Followers will use your username to send you @replies, direct messages and mentions.
Note: You username can’t exceed 15 characters or contain “admin” or “Twitter.”
Related: How to claim social media handles
2. Customize your profile
This is your opportunity to create a Twitter page that reflects your business’s unique brand. Go to your Profile and click the Edit profile button to customize any or all of the following:
- Header photo (find current image sizes here)
- Profile photo
- Website address
- Theme color
Editor’s note: GoDaddy Website Builder lets you link your website directly to your Twitter account and other social media platforms with just a few clicks.
3. Start following
Once you’ve set up your account, it’s time to start following other businesses and individuals. When you follow another Twitter user, you get their Tweets on your timeline — essentially creating a customized stream of information.
For instructions on how to find people by name and browse Twitter’s account suggestions, check out this support article.
4. Compose Tweets
Spend some time exploring Twitter, getting familiar with the lingo, and reading Tweets from other users before you compose your first message. You’ve got 280 characters to work with when you’re ready to click the Tweet button in the top right corner of your Home page.
Keep in mind that adding photos or video, links and polls will decrease the amount of characters available for text.
- Learn how to use hashtags on Twitter to become part of larger conversations.
- How to get verified on Twitter (and why it’s worth the effort)
If you know how to use Twitter for business properly, you can establish your online presence, cultivate customer loyalty, and build credibility within your industry.
Establish an online presence
It’s important to get your name out there. Customers can’t find you if they never hear from you or about you. You can set up your Twitter handle (i.e. @coolexample) to match your business name to help create a consistent online brand.
As people start seeing your business name circulating, they will start to recognize it and associate it with your company and services.
Cultivate customer loyalty
Think of Twitter as another platform on which to communicate with your target audience. If your customers are on Twitter, they might comment about their experiences with your company, good or bad. If you know how to use Twitter for your business, you can respond responsibly to those comments.
Twitter is a perfect avenue to maintain a real-time dialogue with your customers.
Related: 3 steps to managing reviews online
Every savvy businessperson keeps up with the latest news and trends in their industry. Twitter is another way you can accomplish this. But don’t just keep up … establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry by sharing tips and tricks, and retweeting relevant content from other Twitter users.
- 4 essential Twitter tips for businesses
- Twitter for restaurants
- Twitter for hotels
- Twitter for entertainers
When you tweet great content to your followers, be sure to include links to related content on your blog or website. Participating in conversations with other industry insiders also will build your brand’s muscle.
Once you’re comfortable with the basics of how to use Twitter, you can begin driving more traffic to your business website and gain relevant followers by using Twitter business tools like Twitter Ads. You’ll also want to measure your results and tweak your strategy to improve engagement.
Do you ever feel like you’ve hit a ceiling with how many readers you’re getting to your blog, or worse, like you’re publishing into a void? It can be frustrating to do all the hard work of creating and running a blog, only to wonder what you’re doing wrong. Not to worry — we’ll share lots of tips on how to increase blog traffic, explain some problems that can cause low readership, and offer solutions for how to get more blog traffic.
Research shows that 61% of businesses say their biggest challenge is generating traffic and leads.
If you don’t want to fall into this group, you’ll want to learn how to publicize your blog and use it as a tool to bring more potential customers to your website.
Related: How to start a blog
How to increase blog traffic in 13 ways
To help you get started, we have put together 13 steps instructing you on how to get — and increase — blog traffic.
- Promote your blog on social media.
- Add sharing icons to your blog.
- Find your niche.
- Take SEO tips from the pros.
- Publish consistently.
- Turn readers into subscribers.
- Find the right cadence.
- Invite industry experts to collaborate on content.
- Balance content and ads.
- Monitor load times.
- Make it easy for journalists to contact you.
- Replicate your successes.
- Track which marketing tactics work best.
Let’s take a look at each one of these steps in detail to learn how to increase blog traffic. Hint — you can’t expect it to grow on its own!
1. Promote your blog on social media.
The sad reality is that building a blog doesn’t mean you will magically get visitors to your site.
Start by integrating your blog content into your social media presence. Create a social media calendar to schedule when content gets shared, and include blog posts as a key component.
You can promote a blog post multiple times on these channels after it has been published to keep driving traffic to it.
By coordinating your publishing schedule with your social media strategy, you can avoid the “post it and forget it approach,” breathe new life into older blog posts, and stay relevant on social channels.
Of course, tell all your friends about your blog and ask them to share some of your great content with a link back to your blog site on their social channels.
Also, consider doing some guest blogging.
2. Add sharing icons to your blog.
You can test different widgets to see which sharing icons you like best, but it’s important to have at least one set of icons that audiences can easily use to share your content.
Advanced bloggers should A/B test the placement of their sharing icons to ensure they’re located in the best possible position.
Editor’s note: It’s easy to add social sharing widgets if your blog’s on GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting. This WordPress solution offers access to thousands of free plugins — and GoDaddy’s 24/7 customer support can’t be beat.
3. Find your niche.
People like it when you keep it simple. They want to know exactly what they are getting themselves into when they come to your blog.
If your blog lacks a roadmap, it’s not only challenging to navigate — it’s hard to figure out what to come back for the next time. So, niche it down.
Remember, the goal is to attract readers who are interested in something and keep them coming back.
Your niche can be a little broad, but don’t make it too broad. Also, don’t draw in readers with your niche and jump to a new one without warning.
For example, let’s say your blog is about horror movies. If you start writing about every type of film except for horror movies, why would a horror-movie buff keep coming back? They will pull a Mike Myers and cut you from their life, man! No one wants to watch their readership die.
4. Take SEO tips from the pros.
In order to get the most out of your hard work creating content for the world to see, there are some ways to make sure you’re squeezing as much search engine optimization (SEO) juice out of your WordPress website as possible.
Focus, focus, focus
Define the topic of your post, and stick to it.
If you think about conversations you’ve had in the past, an interaction that trails off is typically much less interesting and engaging. It’s also hard to align authority with a speaker whose monologue with an audience has a confusing message.
Pick a topic, focus in, and write your entire post with the intention of relating to that particular topic.
Be real, yo!
Search engines employ engineers who toil all day long to determine authenticity of content.
Presumably you’re writing to attract visitors to take an eventual action as a result of reading your content. Let them experience who you are as a person, author and personality.
Being authentic means using your literary voice, and having a conversation with a reader as if you were standing with them in person.
Conduct keyword research before creating articles
If you want to increase your search engine traffic and get your blog noticed, use a keyword planner tool to help identify the words and phrases your target blog readers will enter into a search engine to find content like yours.
A tool like Google’s Keyword Planner enables you to search for keywords you want to rank for, and view that keyword’s monthly search volume, competition and similar search terms.
From there, you can pick a few words or phrases that cover your topic and optimize your content with those and variations of them. By targeting specific keywords, you might be able to increase your rankings for particular search terms and increase blog traffic.
Use structured data and schema
Structured data helps search engines view content more like humans and less like robots.
Used correctly, structured data provides the right bits and pieces to display rich snippets of your content in search results.
Schema is at the heart of structured data. Adding location, author, or other schema data is super helpful for search engines when they’re attempting to understand your website.
Use the hidden code of schema.org (a standard established by major search engines) to boost your search results.
In fact, Google cares so much about structured data it includes a tool to check your site for proper schema.org data using Google Webmaster Tools.
People visiting your website are likely coming from all over the world and have different levels of understanding and points of reference regarding your topic.
When writing, solve for as many angles and viewpoints as possible. Provide rich details, images and image captions. Add titles for each topical section so that more advanced users can find content quickly.
Titles also help to naturally break up content to give readers’ eyes a break.
Get an SEO plugin
There are plenty of plugins for WordPress that help guide a user to SEO nirvana.
Plugins help suggest changes to article copy and augment the code of your theme to make it more SEO-friendly.
5. Publish consistently.
Once you do start getting some readers, keep posting quality content to give them an incentive to return.
For example, you tell your blog visitors to stay tuned for next week’s installment of your building a birdhouse series. You tease a few things they’ll learn in the next post.
People like consistency. They want to know that if you tell them new posts will be available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, new posts are indeed available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
6. Turn readers into subscribers.
Instead of hoping your page gets noticed on social media or for readers to naturally return to your blog regularly, encourage site visitors to become subscribers and send them emails with new posts, throwback content they might have missed and blog updates.
Bonus: GoDaddy Managed WordPress offers seamless integration with GoDaddy Email Marketing.
7. Find the right cadence.
As your readership grows, you might need to increase the number of days you post each week. But don’t go overboard.
Let’s say you have a couponing website with time-sensitive posts. Your readers will expect that you constantly post new information because they know that new coupons come out daily, sometimes hourly.
However, there is no reason to post every 20 minutes about hair dye. Not only will you run out of subjects to write about, your audience might feel overwhelmed by too much information.
Keep your readers coming back — with genuine interest — by spreading compelling content out over several posts. Draw it out into sizable chunks, enticing your readers to return again and again.
Pro tip: Plan a series of related posts. Tease each upcoming article in the preceding post to get readers excited about what’s in store.
8. Invite industry experts to collaborate on content.
Collaboration helps expose your blog to new audiences who have never heard of your brand before. Consider asking other bloggers in your niche to write a guest post for you and then promote it on their social media channels.
You can also co-create a post, video, podcast or webinar to help expand your reach.
9. Balance content and ads.
When I visit a site that is cluttered with ads, I flee. And If I really get into the first paragraph of a post only to be greeted suddenly with a pesky pop-up that will not close, I leave.
Yes, monetizing a blog can be really important — just don’t lose sight of your actual content in all the advertisements.
Besides, there are plenty of other (more meaningful) ways to make money blogging.
Related: How to make money blogging
10. Monitor load times.
You know the type — buffering, more buffering, oh, wait! It’s finally loading! Nope. Still buffering. And now I am bored. I am done with your site. That’s how quickly a potential reader can abandon your site — forever.
If this happens enough, you’ll have an unnaturally high bounce rate or struggle to attract clicks. About 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
One recent study of 150,000 websites found that 82% had issues affecting page speed — and the majority of those issues were easily fixable with page optimization techniques and basic server configuration.
Pro tip: Keep close tabs on page load times with a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
11. Make it easy for journalists to contact you.
Once you start getting more traffic to your blog, other bloggers, journalists and influencers might contact you for thought leadership pieces.
This is where you’ll tell your unique story with great copy and images — maybe even video. Your contact information should be easy to find here. Showcase testimonials or other social proof to build credibility.
Include links to a media kit with everything a journalist might need to feature you/your blog.
12. Replicate your successes.
Use a tool like Google Analytics to look at your top-performing content pieces.
What made them different? Did you write an in-depth guide that people found useful, or create an infographic that was easily shared?
Take note of what works well on your blog and what falls flat, and then replicate your successes.
You might not hit it out of the park a second time, but, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
13. Track which marketing tactics work best.
As you promote your website on social media and grow your audience through newsletters and collaboration, track your performance goals and work to achieve them.
Set milestones for increasing your followers every month or quarter, and work to promote your blog until you reach them.
Tracking your performance will also help you learn which social channels and collaborators help your blog the most — and which ones need some work.
Related: Social media metrics and ROI
Increasing traffic to your website is mostly about ensuring you’re contributing value to your readers and boosting your visibility.
Seize opportunities to get more traffic to your blog by using social media and SEO to your advantage.
By tackling a niche, optimizing your posts, publishing consistently, keeping your site speed up and building relationships with readers, other bloggers and media in your topic area, you’ll be well on your way to getting more blog traffic.
The post How to increase blog traffic with 13 proven tactics appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Picking the right phone system for your small business is a big step. It’s a key part of your customer interactions and a way to differentiate your business from competitors. Choose wisely and you’ll be able to provide a professional customer experience that also helps you save time and stay organized.
To find the best system for your business, you must learn which platforms are available on the market and the features they provide. Then, evaluate each potential phone system based on how it meets your needs as a business owner and entrepreneur.
The best small business phone system will provide the services you need at a price you can afford.
Why your small business needs a dedicated phone system
As a small business owner, you wear a lot of different hats. You’re an owner, a manufacturer, customer support, and billing all rolled into one. It’s hard to even find free time, let alone think about cultivating a healthy work/life balance. With a small business phone system like SmartLine, you have the control you need to make some of those responsibilities easier.
If you’re running your business through a personal phone line your caller ID tells you as much as it can — but it’s sometimes impossible to know whether an incoming call is a potential customer or, say, a robocall. Can you let it go to voicemail, or should you interrupt family time to pick up the call?
Speaking of voicemail, what kind of greeting should you use? A personal greeting will sound unprofessional to potential customers, but a professional message might confuse friends or family you don’t talk with often.
Having a dedicated phone system for your business solves this and more. It keeps your professional communication separate from your personal communication.
With SmartLine as your phone system it’s easy to stay organized. You have a separate phone number, voicemail inbox, and the ability to set business hours, all of which help you stay on top of every business call.
What your small business needs from a phone system
Time to get a pencil and write down a list of your specific requirements. Don’t think that’s enough? Put them in a spreadsheet that categorizes these requirements based on importance. Classify features as Needs, Wants, or Nice-to-haves:
- Needs are features that are non-negotiable.
- Wants are features that you would like to have, but can live without.
- Nice-to-haves are features that you think would be valuable but wouldn’t stop you from making a purchase.
For example, you might need to consider how many additional lines you’ll need. One may be enough. If you need one line for you and one for a partner, or there are two different types of products you sell, additional lines may be required.
Other considerations might include:
- The type of number you need (local vs. toll-free)
- A dedicated voicemail with transcriptions
- The ability to set business hours
- Caller ID settings
Your spreadsheet will look something like this:
|1 additional line||Ability to set business hours||Toll-free number|
Now, determine how much you’re willing to pay. This will quickly disqualify certain platforms before you spend too much time researching their features. By combining your price analysis with the requirements spreadsheet, the research process is more effective and efficient.
And make sure you check into what contracts are required. A platform like SmartLine, with no contracts, gives you the most flexibility when choosing the a phone system for your business.
Which small business phone system is right for you?
The right platform will have everything you’ve listed in the Needs column, as well as a good balance of Wants and Nice-to-haves. As you’re researching potential small business phone systems, you can use this information to quickly identify and weed out platforms that don’t work.
To get started with this search, check out the top fifteen or so services on Google. User review websites can also help surface competitors and similar platforms. Their reviews are also a good place to find qualitative insights on the experience of using each product.
This is another point where your spreadsheet will come in handy. Add a tab to track platforms and start digging into the Features section of each company’s website. Note each provider’s pricing tiers to see what features are included and if any contracts are required. A less expensive tier with fewer options may be adequate for now, but need upgrading as your business grows. But a platform that meets all of your needs, wants, and nice-to-haves, yet is too expensive, is simply not a viable solution.
Once you have narrowed your choices to just a few potential systems, it’s time to reach out and speak directly with each team.
- Confirm the information you found on their website and talk through any questions about their features, price, or payment options.
- Verify that the service integrates with your current technology as well, even if it’s just your smartphone.
- Ask for a demo and see if there is a free trial to test out the product yourself. This helps you see how different features will work for you as a user. Your ability to interact with the platform is just as important as the features it provides.
Each of these steps might not be necessary for you in particular, but they do help to frame fill in any questions you weren’t able to answer through their website.
When you’ve done the research, know which platforms fit your needs, and spoken directly to their team to ask any questions — the right platform is easy to identify. You can be confident that your new phone system will support your small business.
A small business phone system helps you grow
A good phone system makes it easy to maintain a professional appearance. Use it to build long-term customer relationships, maintain a work/life balance, and maintain a professional image, no matter the circumstances.
Using SmartLine, you can easily add a local or toll-free number for your business and keep it separate from your personal line. With a free trial, and starting at $9.99 a month after that, you can get started with your business phone line today.
The post How to identify a great small business phone system appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
After a decade in the post-grunge trenches with the band Barcelona and a solo viral streaming hit for his track, “Where’s My Love,” courtesy of the MTV show “Teen Wolf,” Brian Fennell created SYML. Brian focuses on the things that matter and that’s how he writes and records under his alias, SYML.
Simplicity is what moves SYML — pronounced “sihmul,” it means “simple” in Welsh.
A child of a closed adoption, Brian discovered his Welsh roots as an adult shortly before naming the project. Recorded in his basement studio, 20 miles outside of grunge music mecca Seattle, Washington, with his children in their playroom next door, his forthcoming debut album was mostly self-produced. Read his story below.
Q&A with musician SYML
This interview has been gently edited for length and clarity.
GoDaddy: Tell us about your business. What do you do?
SYML: I am a musician. I studied music education in college but never ended up using my degree. I started writing and producing songs in college and have used these skills to create music for film and TV, release albums, tour the world, and work with a handful of some amazing artists.
GoDaddy: How did your current project start?
SYML: SYML was born on a rainy day here in Seattle. I wrote the first song for the project, “Where’s My Love,” which went on to be featured in MTV’s “Teen Wolf.”
That was the initial spark that created momentum behind SYML and gave me a good reason to create more songs under my new moniker.
GoDaddy: Tell us about your early days and how you got started in the industry.
SYML: I had worked in a studio for years as an assistant, which taught me the basics of recording. Luckily, I was able to gain enough knowledge to be able to record my own music at almost no cost since I could use the studio after hours.
In college, I started my first band which toured the U.S. extensively for eight years. I learned a lot about the music industry during these years. Mostly what NOT to do.
GoDaddy: What external pressures do you face?
SYML: I have two young kids and an amazing wife. I remember being younger and thinking that having a family would be the end of pursuing a career in music, at least the artist side of things.
I surprised myself when our first kid was born because having a growing family has been the most positive external pressure imaginable.
Not only is it a source of inspiration, but it’s a constant reminder to keep my business flexible, lean and also fun.
GoDaddy: How do your kids inspire your music?
SYML: They show me a more accurate version of who I am.
They are these beautiful and curious creatures who feel everything at volume 11.
They remind me to be more like them.
GoDaddy: What resources have helped you on your musical journey?
SYML: Having creative friends and access to a creative space have been the biggest assets in building my career.
I feel insanely lucky to have had mentors and peers continuously show up when I need them most. Physical assets and tools can be important to the process, but the people around you matter more.
GoDaddy: What challenges have you overcome so far?
SYML: Since my business and creative life are so closely tied to me personally, it can be a challenge to keep one from negatively affecting the other. My daughter underwent an intense surgical procedure last year and, thankfully, endured it like a warrior. During that time, I wrote a song called “Girl” inspired by her young journey.
The challenge was to turn this difficult time into one that made us stronger and grow across the board.
Also, it’s hard on my family when I’m gone on tour, so we are always trying to adjust our lives to be together more.
GoDaddy: What kind of adjustments do you and your family make? What recommendations do you have for busy parents?
SYML: It’s not news that we live in an insanely busy time. As trite as it sounds, my wife and I are trying to put down our phones when we are home, especially around the kids. Being present is easier said than done, but that’s the goal since everything is moving so fast. I don’t want to miss anything because I am just moving on to the next thing while also checking Instagram.
GoDaddy: What are you focusing on these days?
SYML: Things are good! My debut album came out May 3rd. It’s always a strange feeling before music is released because for me, the album has been done for awhile, and now I finally get to share it.
The rest of the year is filled with shows and festivals around North America and Europe, which is both daunting and exciting.
GoDaddy: What’s your day-to-day routine like? How do you work?
SYML: My day-to-day varies depending on if I’m on the road or at home. So much of my day and business exists online. I’m lucky enough to have a studio at home, which is convenient with a young family.
If I’m off the road, I’m in the studio.
GoDaddy: What tools do you use to grow and run your business?
SYML: My team uses a wide range of tools, like email marketing, to reach my fanbase around the world every day.
I consider my business to be very data driven, which is a funny thing to say as an artist. In the end, I have more time to create music because the backend is so efficient and lean.
GoDaddy: Where do you see your music career in five years?
SYML: I’m not sure exactly where this current journey will take me, but I hope that it can continue in a way where I will always know when enough is enough.
Being driven is a good thing, but having people around you who reflect honesty, kindness and respect is more important.
That’s the only way you’ll know when it’s enough. I’m happy with my business and I hope that the next five years bring more adventure and joy than I’m expecting!
GoDaddy: Any advice or recommendations for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
SYML: The biggest hurdle, no matter who you are or what you’re attempting, is the beginning. You need to start. Don’t wait for anyone or anything to hold your hand. Project and dream all you want, but none of that matters unless you move an inch.
The only hope your dream has of standing on its own is the work you put it on setting that foundation. Even when you have some success, it’s never guaranteed, and you should never be above checking on the state of the foundation you’ve built.
A huge thanks to SYML for sharing his story. Be sure to check out his new album!
The post Musician SYML riffs on roots, fatherhood and making music that matters appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.