My inspiration to become embark as a solopreneur came from my father, who had a business and managed to survive through the 2008 recession. In Albuquerque where technology felt slower than in other areas of America in those days we didn’t exactly know how best to use the internet or whether is SEO worth it for small businesses as a tool for business growth – but today? You better believe it’s gonna be worth your time!
When times are tough, big businesses don’t pull back on their marketing spend—they actually increase it. And a big part of that increased spending usually goes towards Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Why? Because SEO is one of the most effective, efficient, and strategic ways to make sure your business is visible online, not just today but in the future, when people are looking for the products or services that your business offers.
In fact, SEO should be a key part of any good marketing strategy, regardless of whether the economy is booming or in a downturn because SEO is a long-term game. But in times like these, when consumer confidence is low and everyone is tightening their belts, it becomes even more important. If you’re not doing SEO, now is the time to start. Here’s why.
SEO Helps You Get Found Online
So is SEO worth it for your small business…The first and most obvious reason to invest in SEO is that it helps people find your website when they’re searching online for the products or services you offer. And when people are looking to buy what you have to provide, that’s when you want them to find you!
SEO does this by helping your website rank higher, which any goal is to be in the top five on page one of Google, in search engine results pages (SERPs). When your website appears at the top of SERPs, searchers are more likely to click through to your site than if it’s buried on page 10. In fact, according to Inter-growth “75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines.“. So if you’re not ranking on page one—or at least in the top five—you’re missing out on a lot of potential traffic.
SEO Drives More Revenue Than Any Other Marketing Channel
Investing in SEO also pays off in terms of ROI. In fact, SEO has been shown to have a higher ROI than any other marketing channel, including paid search ads, display advertising, email marketing, and social media.
Don’t let tough economic times put a damper on your marketing efforts—if anything, now is the time to step up your game and invest in proven strategies like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Not only will SEO help you weather the storm by driving more traffic and revenue to your website; but it will also give you a competitive edge over other businesses in your industry who may be cutting back on their marketing spending. So what are you waiting for? Start optimizing your website today!
If your still wondering is SEO worth it for your small business, Reach out to me or sign up for a free website and SEO consultation!
https://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2022/09/Big-Businesses-Use-SEO.png300800Joseph Ramirezhttps://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2020/08/jj-ramirez-wordpress-development.pngJoseph Ramirez2022-09-10 21:38:472022-09-13 19:00:10Big Businesses Use SEO to Weather Tough Times—And Why SEO is with it for Your Small Business, Too
Creating a winning digital strategy for your business can seem like a daunting task. But by focusing on creating a plan that encompasses all aspects of your business online presence, you’ll be able to improve your chances of success online. This means developing a strategy for website design, SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing. By taking the time to create a well-thought-out digital strategy, you’ll be able to reach your target audience more effectively.
What is a digital strategy and why does your business need one
A digital strategy is a plan that outlines how your business will use digital media to achieve its marketing and business goals. It’s important to have a digital strategy in place because without one, you’re likely to waste time and money on ineffective online marketing activities.
There are many reasons why your business needs a digital strategy. Some of the most important ones are:
1. improved ROI: When you have a well-thought-out digital strategy in place, you’ll be able to see a better return on investment (ROI) for your online efforts. This means you’ll be able to get more out of your marketing dollars and achieve better results.
2. increased brand awareness: A digital marketing strategy will help to increase brand awareness for your business. This can lead to more website visitors, higher conversion rates, and improved sales of your products or services.
3. better customer/client engagement: A digital strategy can also help you to better engage with your customers. By interacting with them on social media, responding to their emails, and providing them with useful content, you’ll build stronger relationships that will last.
4. improved search engine ranking: If you want your website to be seen by potential customers, then you need to make sure it’s ranking well in the search engines. A good digital strategy can help you achieve this by optimizing your website for the right keywords and phrases.
5. increased web traffic: All of the benefits of a successful digital strategy will lead to one thing – increased web traffic. By getting more people to visit your website, you’ll be able to reach your goals and grow your business.
It’s essential for any business that wants to succeed online. By taking the time to develop a plan and implement it correctly, you’ll be well on your way to achieving success.
How to make a digital strategy for your business
1. Define your business goals and target audience
The first step in a digital strategy is to define your business goals.
What do you want to accomplish with your online presence?
Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales?
Once you’ve defined your goals, you can start thinking about how to best reach your target audience.
2. Research your competition
Part of developing a successful digital strategy is understanding what your competition is doing. Look at their website, digital presence, and digital marketing campaigns. See what’s working well for them and what isn’t. You can then use this information to make sure your own strategy is better.
3. Create buyer personas
Another important part of developing your digital strategy is creating buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. They help you understand your target audience better so you can produce content and campaigns that appeal to them.
4. Develop a content strategy
Your digital strategy should include a content strategy. This is because content is one of the most important elements of any online marketing campaign. It’s what will help you attract and engage your target audience. When developing your content strategy, think about what kind of content you want to produce and how often you’ll need to create it.
5. Create a social media strategy
Social media is another important part of any digital strategy. After all, it’s one of the best ways to reach your target audience and promote your content. When creating a social media strategy, consider which platforms you want to focus on and what kind of content you’ll share.
6. Develop an SEO strategy
SEO is also critical for any digital marketing strategy. After all, it’s what will help you get found online by your target audience. When developing an SEO strategy, research the keywords your target audience is using and make sure to include them in your website content and social media posts.
7. Create a lead generation strategy
If one of your goals is to generate leads, then you’ll need to create a lead generation strategy. This can be done through a variety of methods such as gated content, contests, and free trials.
By following these tips, you can create a digital marketing strategy that will help you achieve your business goals. Remember to keep track of your results so you can adjust your strategy as needed.
Tips for executing your digital strategy successfully
When it comes to executing your digital strategy, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Make a budget: One of the most important aspects of any digital marketing campaign is creating a budget. This will allow you to allocate the right amount of money to the right areas and achieve the best results.
Be consistent: In order for your digital strategy to be successful, you need to be consistent with your efforts. This means publishing fresh content, interacting with customers on social media, and optimizing your website for the search engines.
Track your progress: It’s important to track your progress throughout the execution of your digital strategy. This will help you to identify what’s working and what’s not so you can make necessary adjustments.
Be patient: Don’t expect overnight results from your digital marketing campaign. It takes time to build up momentum and see results. Be patient and continue to work hard on your strategy and you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labor.
Create a website that supports your goals: Your website should be the focal point of your digital strategy. It’s the first place potential customers will visit, so it’s important to make a good impression. Make sure your website is well-designed, informative, and easy to navigate. If you’re selling products or services online, your website should also be optimized for e-commerce.
Invest in SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key part of any digital marketing strategy. It’s the process of improving your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), which will help you attract more visitors from organic search traffic. To improve your SEO, start by conducting keyword research to find the right keywords to target. Then, focus on creating high-quality content that includes those keywords, and promoting your content across the web.
Use social media effectively: Social media is a powerful tool that can help you achieve a variety of marketing goals, from increasing brand awareness to generating leads and sales. However, social media can only be effective if it’s used correctly. Start by creating profiles on the social networks that are most relevant to your business. Then, post regular updates, interact with your followers, and run paid ads.
Send targeted emails: Email marketing can be a great way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects while also promoting your products or services. However, simply sending mass emails is not enough. You need to segment your email list and send targeted messages that are relevant to each group of recipients. You should also experiment with different types of email content, such as coupons, product announcements, and educational articles.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to executing a successful digital strategy for your business. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and track your progress along the way.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the task of creating a winning digital strategy for your business, don’t worry. By breaking the process down into smaller steps and focusing on each area of your online presence, you’ll be able to develop a plan that helps you reach your target audience more effectively. I’m here to help guide you through the process every step of the way.
So if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, contact me today for a free consultation!
https://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2022/05/Digital-Strategy-for-Your-Business.png300800Joseph Ramirezhttps://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2020/08/jj-ramirez-wordpress-development.pngJoseph Ramirez2022-05-09 13:35:212022-05-09 13:35:26How to create a winning digital strategy for your business
When I had to learn SEO, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information and courses. Through the many hours glued to my screen, jotting notes and taking action. I want this article to help shine some light on what you need to know about SEO.
It should be apparent that a website should be your powerful marketing tool, and it needs to be optimized for search engines if you want to reach your target audience. Most people use the internet to find products and services these days, rather than through more traditional sources like newspapers or magazines. If your site isn’t showing up on page one of Bing, Duck Duck Go, Firefox, or Google’s search results, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers, most likely in the thousands!
In this blog post, I will discuss SEO-related topics, including what it is and why you need it for your website, how to get started with SEO on your new site, the benefits of having an optimized site, and what On-site and Off-site SEO are and what to focus on first.
Why a website needs SEO
How to get started with SEO on your new website
Pick a name that is easy to remember and say.
Plan out how Your Site will be structured.
Create Content Before Launch.
Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversion
Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversion
What is On-Site and Off-Site SEO
Investment In SEO
How to stay up-to-date on the latest in SEO trends and techniques
Why a website needs SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) optimizes a site so that it ranks higher in search results. A website’s ranking on Google or other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo relies heavily on factors that can be improved through SEO techniques.
Although some believe Search Engine Optimization does not work for all sites, many users have had their rankings boosted significantly after implementing these guidelines to better optimize their content.
Some people are wary about investing time into researching keywords and coming up with an optimized title/meta description because they think this might only lead to temporary success. The truth is, if you’re doing SEO correctly, your efforts should pay off long-term by way of increased traffic from relevant searches your audience is typing.
Organic search is the primary source of website traffic for most businesses.
If you’re a business owner, you know that time is of the essence. Your site needs to be at the top of page one so your potential customer can find it quickly and easily.
That’s where SEO comes in! It gives your website an edge over other sites by increasing visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs).
How to get started with SEO on your new website
Pick a name that is easy to remember and say.
The domain name is the first opportunity to show visitors you’re a credible business. Search engines take this information into account, so your domain name must match what people are typing in when they want to find your site.
For example, if someone searches for “comfortable affordable shoes,” don’t use “shoes online” as the URL. Another thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to choose a domain that contains the name of your business.
For example, let’s say your business is called Healthy Eaters on Central is your business name. Having the domain “HealthyEatsoncentral.com” is a little too much to type in. However, simply shortening it to “HealthyEats.com” is better because it memorable for your audience to search.
Plan out how Your Site will be structured.
Keep your website organized and search engine-friendly with a site map. A site map is a list of pages on your website that helps you plan or create a practical and pleasing layout.
Creating a mockup, like a homepage, about page, or blog section, before constructing your website can make life easier for both the bot crawling through and organizing the website. You will know roughly how the website will look and how the pages will function with one another with a mockup.
Before creating a mockup or after, It’s a great idea to create content for the pages that are not likely to change or be updated regularly. So knowing what keywords you want to target will come in handy with what you will write on your web pages.
This is because keywords in the content you create are the first step in attracting more traffic to your site, making it easier for people who want information on what you offer. They’ll quickly find that information or answers to the questions they need to be answered.
The content has an enormous responsibility for how easily someone can search through it and contain relevant words or phrases. Creating quality content starts with determining anything specific about topics related to this topic: sports terms or industry jargon – before generating any text at all!
Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversion
Local SEO means your digital properties are optimized for the specific area you serve so people can find them easily and quickly, one step closer to making a purchase.
The reason is that your potential customer sees what you have to offer in their own neighborhood or city.
If they live nearby, then there’s no need for them to take the time and energy out of their lives to travel somewhere else just so that they can enjoy what you provide when it could be right around the corner from where they spend most, if not all of their days anyway!
The goal should always be to get as close as possible to being “the only game in town” regarding a particular service or commodity that somebody might want at any given point on time. And doing this by employing local marketing strategies such as SEO will help tremendously along those lines.
What is On-Site and Off-Site SEO
Off-page SEO is a process that begins on the internet and can have an impactful presence in SERPs. This includes making it more likely for others to link or promote your website, which will ultimately improve your perception of quality.
The process of off-page SEO begins with site promotion and link building. This can be accomplished through press releases, guest blogging, article marketing, social media posts, or other relevant methods to the success of your website topic. As more people find out about your website, they will grow in confidence and potentially include you in their own work.
If you are just launching your website, It’s a good idea to focus your attention on On-site SEO before taking on Off-site SEO.
A great strategy is creating content that others will want to link to.
Investment in SEO
SEO takes time, but the benefits can be exponentially more than what is initially invested.
Most people don’t immediately see a difference when they start SEO marketing because it’s a slow and gradual process that builds up over time as we build relationships with our customers and SERP’s authority organically through content creation on your website.
SEO is a long-term strategy in a never-ending game of chess. Organic growth takes time, and SEO experts know that it’s not something you do overnight.
It can take months for the natural organic process to work, but when done right, your website will be on top, with an increase in traffic and conversions from all angles.
How to stay up-to-date on the latest in SEO trends and techniques
There are many tools out there that offer to keep you up-to-date on the latest SEO trends and techniques.
Many publications write about SEO that you can take advantage of, such as Search Engine Journal and Neil Patel.
Moz’s Link Explorer, an excellent resource for comparing your site with competitors as well as seeing what keywords they’re ranking highly in search engine results pages (SERPs)
Hootsuite – beneficial if you manage multiple social media accounts on behalf of your business because it allows you to schedule updates across all platforms at once!
Let’s not forget about Twitter chats (#SEOchat is one), which happen to live where experts in the area provide their insights into questions asked by followers.
You do not have to become an SEO expert, but knowing and pairing the knowledge with your niche market will make you an unstoppable force.
This blog post has offered you a glimpse into the world of SEO, what it is, and why you need it for your website. I have also shared some tips on how to get started with an optimized site. There are so many benefits to having a well-optimized website that I can’t list them all here! But in short, if you want more people visiting your site or buying from you online, then investing time and money in SEO might be just what the doctor ordered. If this sounds like something up your alley (or even down it), subscribe below to stay updated on new posts about digital marketing trends and website strategies!
https://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2021/05/The-Complete-Guide-to-SEO-for-Your-Awesome-Website.png300800Joseph Ramirezhttps://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2020/08/jj-ramirez-wordpress-development.pngJoseph Ramirez2021-05-19 23:40:332021-05-20 08:55:32The Guide to SEO for Your Awesome Website
I hold small businesses close to my heart. My father, Esteban Ramirez, had a Granite Fabrication and Installation business in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the Great Recession in 2008-09. Back then, there was no way in knowing how the internet would benefit small businesses at the time. Hence, it left a vast number of small businesses to struggle or ultimately close their doors. Today is a different story. We understand how SMBs can utilize the internet, but the big issue is that most business owners underutilize the internet. In this article, I want to illustrate why and how to utilize the internet for your business if you start building your digital presence.
Personify your brand
A brand is a very widely talked about a word. Every “Marketing Guru” talks about having a brand. Still, the answer they give is either very diluted in meaning or does not make any sense for someone trying to grasp the idea of what a brand is. Here is what Branding means in the most straightforward and purest form,
A brand is the Unique Value of Promise you provide to your customers. It is the unique experience, the unique value that your customers get out of doing business; it’s what separates you from others in the same industry.
I bet the question that popped in your head is, “What makes me unique? “What separates me from all the other businesses in my industry?”.
I would be doing a great disservice to you if I did not help you answer this question. The answer to the question
“What makes my business unique then?”
“What separates me from all the other businesses in my industry?”.
The thing that makes your businesses unique is YOU. There are many businesses just like yours, but there is only one you with a company like yours.
Personifying your brand is essential. It’s nothing new for businesses to have a face associated with a brand, Shaq and General Insurance, William Shattner and Orbitz, Ryan Reynolds and Mint Mobile. W
Social media is the best way to build a digital presence
Without a doubt, social media has been the most significant thing for small businesses to build a digital presence. Before the internet, A company would have to spend thousands of dollars hiring an ad/marketing agency to help build its brand awareness. Today, it takes $0 and a few minutes to create a social media profile. But the Catch-22 with Social Media is that not all social media is the same.
According to Sprout Social, as of 2021the current age groups for social media are:
Facebook: largest age group are 25-34 (26.3%)
Instagram: largest age group are 25-34 (33%)
Twitter: Largest age group are 30-49 (44%)
LinkedIn: largest age group are 46-55
Pinterest: Largest are group is 30-49
Tik Tok: Largest age group is 18-24
YouTube: Largest age group is 15-25.
Depending on whom you want to target, it depends on what platforms you want to invest your time in.
Growing your online presence on social media is a must thing to do because you build trust, credibility, and reputation with the people you or your content interacts with. All three are essential to moving a person interested in your business to get them to buy from your company.
A digital presence requires you to produce content
You can either be a content producer or a content consumer. I bet you can guess which one you should be? Yup, to establish a digital-presence, you need to be a content creator.
Why is this?
Because content creation will build trust and awareness, it will also build authority in your industry. So your content needs to have the intent of relieving a customer’s pain/problem when they read or watch it. There are many forms of content you can create. Still, the beautiful thing is you can adapt the content you create for different mediums.
When picking a medium, you should play to your strengths and the best way to present your content.
The four main media types are:
You don’t have to pick just one to deliver content but pick one to create with and then repurpose it for other mediums.
For example, you are horrible at speaking on a podcast or recording yourself in a video, but you like or love to write. Then I would say create, write a blog article and post it. If you want to expand to video or podcast, you have a blog post that you can use as a script.
If you don’t want to write, but you like to speak or record, I would tell you to create a video or podcast, get it transcribed using software like Rev.com or Go Transcript and use the transcription as a blog post on your website.
The content creating doesn’t stop there. You can now use your audio, video, blog posts as excerpts, as social media posts.
A digital presence helps develop relationships
You’re branding and content creating for social media all lead up to this, developing relationships. When distributing content, your main goal is not to sell anyone anything because people don’t like to be sold. People want to have a relationship. They want to be heard, noticed, and needed. Your content should strike up a conversation, typically asking “what they think of this?” or “what do you do besides this?” At the end of the content that you publish on your social media page. The goal here is to talk to them when they comment. Many businesses do not take this step, and in the end, potential buyers start to think maybe they don’t matter as much as you made them feel. Ignoring commentators, you will lose thousands of dollars, and most importantly, this will result in lost opportunities.
There you have it; digital presence is essential if you want to survive in this day and age. You will be risking a lot not to begin building awareness around your business. Please do me a favor and share this article if you think it can help someone, or feel free to comment down below. Having conversations is one of my favorite parts of building a community.
I always like to make sure that the information is send is valuable. So please sign up if you are looking to gain more insight about, branding, marketing, and website optimization.
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I’m just curious how you deal with billing and how you deal with the state and federal taxes?
When it comes to the billing, I’ve tried HoneyBook and I’ve tried QuickBooks. To be honest, it’s always kind of been a little overkill, especially to pay for that. Right now, I just basically create the invoice through PayPal. Which a lot of my clients have actually been a lot more comfortable in doing, considering that a lot of them have PayPal accounts, and they choose to pay with PayPal or even Venmo. Primarily, it’s always been PayPal for me, though. As well as for the accounting, I was grateful enough to actually have an accountant who’s close to the family. She’s been able to manage pretty much all the taxes. The only thing that I’ve actually had to be careful for is to reserve a small part or a certain part of each project that I do. Right now, I just save up– I take 25% of each project and I save it, just in consideration that that’s how much the taxes are going to be. It’s always good practice to start reserving that 25% when you’re ready to fill your taxes in. I usually do recommend quarterly, not yearly. Quarterly is always so much better just so I can get it over with. I don’t have to worry throughout the entire year to do it. If you want to get started, I’d just recommend try and keep 25% of each project that you do and just put in your savings account and don’t even touch it. Just pretend like it’s not there.
How do you find business, typically?
There’s a couple of ways that you can. I’ve tried direct marketing- direct marketing being cold calling, cold emailing. That works for some people. It didn’t work for me. Frankly, I despise it. I really don’t like calling strange people out of the blue saying, “Hey, do you need this or do you need that?” Most of the time, it was always no. What I’ve learned is instead of trying to find clients to provide your service to, it’s always a better idea to attract people to you.
One of the most important things about freelancing that I’ve learned is your branding is everything. This word gets tossed around a lot but to a simple basis, it’s basically just the value that you promise on giving to the person that has a problem. You’re providing a solution to someone who either has, let’s say, trouble with creating copywriting for, let’s say, an advertisement or for their website, or they’re having trouble gaining leads from earned and paid media to their owned media and it’s just not converting. Your promise is basically to provide that solution to them.
When you’re trying to get clients, it’s always a better idea to try and attract people to you. The best way to attract people is by delivering content. Whether it is a blog post, or just starting conversations within social media, finding groups that are within your niche and building relationships with them. There’s a variety of ways.
The ways that I do it today, and that I actually started back in November and I’ve actually noticed a lot of progress in gaining leads for people who have the problem that I have the solution for- in other words, if they need a website that needs to convert people into creating an email list, or they’re trying to get more traction through organic searches- the strategy that I started picking up is what’s been called a 365. Which is you create content 365 days out of the year. Each day you have to deliver some piece of content.
The way that I’ve actually done it is Mondays and Fridays, I reserve those days to create a blog post. Normally, I like to do it in the morning when my mind is fresh and ready to start building or it’s just fresh off from waking up. Mondays and Fridays, I’ll write blog posts. When I’m done with that, I’ll post it on to my website. I’ll go to medium.com, or if it’s tech-related, I’ll send it to to dev.to or dev.com.
Then on Tuesdays, I’ll get parts of the blog posts that I wrote, turn it into quotes or I’ll turn it into just a regular social media post, and I’ll deliver it to either Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Wednesday, it’s I’ll share an article that I read. Whether it’s about marketing, or it’s about web development, or just something that typically interests me.
Thursday, I’ll take another piece of content from a blog article that I wrote, or I’ll just take a quote from a book that I’m reading and I’ll send it into social media. Friday, it’s release the blog post. Saturday, Sunday, I just go on to Twitter or I’ll go onto Facebook into one of the groups to start talking to people. I’ll just either start a conversation, or I’ll join another conversation that I’m interested in or something that I could actually help someone out. I’m in a group where it’s full of WordPress users, but I’ve managed to get actually pretty good leads from the WordPress group. Usually, if someone will have a question and I could answer, I’ll provide them an answer. I’ll try and help them as much as I possibly can.
The most important thing is to actually get you recognized in social media. That’s basically my entire schedule from Monday to Sunday. I’ve started doing this in November, and I’ve actually managed to get a pretty good increase on leads for clients. Right now that’s actually been what’s helping me a lot or that’s what’s actually been working for me.
What about like fiverr.com or what’s the other one?
No, I don’t. I’ve tried it a couple of times. I really don’t like it. It works for some people, It just doesn’t work for me. To me, my time is very valuable and so sending proposals, to me it feels like it turns you into a commodity versus being an actual brand or being part of a business. I’ve gotten one job from Upwork. It was okay. It didn’t pay great. I have clients who are paying me more. I just didn’t really see too much of a promise in it. It might work for you, if you’d want to give it a try, but to me it didn’t work out for me. I’ve always just ended up using all my energy in creating content, so I could deliver to the various social media networks and then try and network like that.
Do you ever offer websites for- a trade in services? Is that something you ever considered doing? Is that smart? Is it stupid?
I’ve, luckily enough, never did that either. I know that’s helped out some people, but I’ve never actually had a trade or I’ve never actually met someone that wanted to trade. I think I’ve actually offered a few times to trade for something and it didn’t go anywhere.
The only pitfall is that you would do it on a consistent basis, which just be careful because if you offer something that’s very cheap and people will tend to gravitate towards you- I mean, in some ways, it’s good but in other ways, it’s bad. I would just be careful, especially when it’s doing consistent trades like that. The way that I could see is that it’s a good way to build relationships. I know people who are also freelancers who have traded and they’ve managed to build meaningful relationships. I’ve just never been in that situation where I’ve actually needed to trade.
Being an independent means– I mean, it’s probably more expensive for you to operate in some respects. I guess it’s just over time you realize how much things cost and how much time it takes to do things, but how do you price? It’s a hard question for me to ask because I don’t even understand like how do you know what your worth. That’s a ridiculous question to ask. It’s a hard thing for me to understand.
I know where you’re coming from. This by far is actually the most popular question, especially about pricing, that I’ve always run into. The best way that I could actually put it is there’s these two pricing psychologists and what they did is that they went to a garage sale. They purchased, I think it was a bracelet or ring, broken goggles- diving goggles- and they bought them for, I think, $1.50 or $1 a piece. These are psychologists. They like to try and understand how people’s brains work. They decided to go to eBay and they sold the stuff that they bought for $1. They tried to sell them for $25 or right around that price range and no one bought it. It was there for a week and no one showed any interest in it.
What they did was it was really an experiment. They first posted it just with the description of the item. They wanted to see if anyone would buy it. They took everything down and then they wrote stories pertaining to a personal experience that they had. Like, “This ring was found in the attic of my grandma’s house who passed away, and my mom is cleaning it out and they asked me if I wanted this stuff. I wanted to look for a good home.” Or the broken goggles was they bought it because they wanted to scare a couple of kids down the river, but when they got into the water, all of a sudden, an alligator came out of nowhere, bit the goggles and now it’s damaged. I don’t know what to do with it, so I’m just going to sell it. They sold the broken goggles for like $80, even though they bought it for like $1. The whole moral of the story is pricing is really an illusion to– It’s an illusion.
The best way to explain it is that you have– The three things that I always pull up are the three shoes. You have a generic TB Dress shoes, which is maybe $50. You got Nikes that are $180, and then you have Fendi sneaker shoes, which are like $1150. There’s no way that you could actually determine the value between those sneakers because you put them on your feet, you wear them outside and you just make sure that they’re comfortable. The only value that you could actually pertain is what you feel like you’re worth. This is the hardest concept, especially for me in the beginning, because I didn’t exactly know how to price my stuff either. This is why I always tell people to make sure you focus on the solution more than the pricing because people are more willing to buy the solution regardless of what the price is. I started off like $25 an hour building websites. I was getting nowhere fast with $25. Then what I started to do was I started to increase the pricing, but I started to work on more of my branding, my messaging and solution that my service would provide them. I noticed that clients are willing to pay more.
They have no problem with the pricing because it’s more of the solution that I’m actually providing them. It’s the headache that I’m removing. If you’re talking to a business, that business has to be confident enough that they could actually recover the cost of– Let’s say, I build a website for $7,000. That business that wants to talk to you that wants to buy the website for $7,000, they’re confident enough to know that they could actually recover from- maybe like in a month- from that price. Pricing is really entirely up to you and how you feel your worth.
The only thing that I have to tell you to be careful with is making sure that you don’t sound like a commodity versus a service. When you sound like a commodity, people are going to start pricing you to the lowest bottom dollar, like what you see on Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer, which is something that I’ve always had an issue with; sending proposals. Your pricing should always just be what you’re comfortable at charging and then maybe, I don’t know, multiplying it by four times. Because if you’re not getting a “no” or “That’s a little too high,” then you’re not doing it right. That’s the rule of thumb that I’ve gathered from other freelancers. You don’t ever want to try and lowball yourself. The other best thing that I can really talk about pricing is [silence] if you have to start from somewhere– Let’s see. If you have to start from somewhere, I would recommend in figuring how much you want to charge per hour and then trying to figure out how much it will cost you- how much time it’ll cost you to do that service. For example, let’s say if you want to start off with $30, because that’s how much you’re comfortable at charging, or if you just want to immediately just go to $60 an hour and that’s how much you’re comfortable at, then from past experiences, that it would be- it would take me 50 hours to build a website. Then I would charge per hour to that 50 hours and then I would actually add more because you actually have to cover the cost for the meetings. You have to cover the costs for the accounting. You have to cover the cost for the project maintenance thing. I would just go on to figuring out how much you want to charge an hour. Think about how much you want to- how much it would bill you, or how long it would take you to do the service. Let’s say a five-page website takes you 20 hours. Getting that sum total and then at least just doubling or tripling it. Just start off at that price point. Because like I said, the thing that I don’t like about freelancers and what they do is that a lot of people tend to lowball themselves. They always undervalue themselves. That’s something that I really want to try and prevent anyone from doing because I was in those shoes. I undervalued myself a lot. It ultimately didn’t get me anywhere. I think that would probably be the best practice, if anyone has to think about the pricing, then I would just recommend doing it in that kind of framework.
I mean, it is, but there’s a huge psychological point of view. When it comes to selling, like I said, where a lot of the fear of being told, “No, that’s too expensive,” or losing a potential client because you’re expensive primarily comes from the fact that the economy used to be really kind of a scarce economy. What that basically means is in this scarce economy, you got to price your services according to how many people provide the same service. Then you got to compete with them for the lowest price. If you’re going to race to the bottom then at zero, you’re not going to make any money.
Right, that makes sense. Pricing is always tough. You’re worth whatever someone’s willing to pay for you and then what you’re willing to accept.
Yes. I mean, it is, but there’s a huge psychological point of view. When it comes to selling, like I said, where a lot of the fear of being told, “No, that’s too expensive,” or losing a potential client because you’re expensive primarily comes from the fact that the economy used to be really kind of a scarce economy. What that basically means is in this scarce economy, you got to price your services according to how many people provide the same service. Then you got to compete with them for the lowest price. If you’re going to race to the bottom then at zero, you’re not going to make any money.
Back in early 1993, we started to really transition into an abundant economy where there’s enough capital where people are actually able to shop around. People, if they decide to- they want to buy the $1,200 sneaker or they want to buy the $50 sneaker, it’s really up to them. To us, or to you, it’s like, “Why would you buy a $1,200 sneaker?” To that person, it’s their solution, it’s their preference. It’s a hard concept to grasp, especially because you don’t know how much value you bring, but you just kind of got to push it.
You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to know more than the average person because like I said, the whole point is that you’re trying to relieve a pain from someone. If that business has a pain and it could just be bought out with money, then they’re more than willing to pay up.
I’ve sent proposals off. I know a couple of freelancers who I’ve competed with on a personal level. I’ve talked to them on the basis. It was like one of my first project where I decided, “You know what? I’m going to charge this price. If they say no, then that’s it. Then at least I’ve done it.” I think I priced it at like $6,000. I talked to the guy that ended up getting the job. I was talking to him and I told him, I’m like, “How much did you charge? How much did you say that you’re going to do that project for?” Right off the bat, he told me he charges $10,000. I told him- I was like, “I was going to charge this guy $6,000, but you got the job for 10,000,” and I didn’t really understand how that was possible.
Then that’s when he told me, “It’s all about communication. People want to build a relationship with you. They’re not really looking at the price. They just want to figure out if you’re going to have a good relationship with them.”
Guest [ That actually makes sense. When the pandemic kicked in, we actually were running a special for WordPress sites. I think we were only going to charge $300 for a WordPress site. Literally nobody touched us. Another friend here in town that actually specializes just in WordPress sites, he asked me some help to do some back-end for him. I was like, “How much are you charging?” He’s like, “Anywhere between $7,000 to $2,000.” I’m going, “What the heck,” but that made sense because if you’re looking actually to buy something, you want to buy quality. If someone is lowballing, you’re like, “Well, they really don’t know what they’re doing. They probably are kids working out of someone’s garage instead of actual professionals.” That actually makes perfect sense what you’re saying with that.
Also, I think with the higher prices, we actually started charging- and we’re actually low in the industry- like $90 an hour. That helped out with scope creep with people going, “We want to add these extra features in.” Well, now they actually have to look at the price of actually doing that, so they back off because we go, “Well, we’re going to have to change the contract for that and I have to charge you by hour.” We try to stay away from fixed-price bids but because of scope creep, since we’re charging a higher amount, people literally- they go, “No, we don’t want to buy the extra thing. We’ll put it on the back-burner and go forward with that.” It actually makes perfect sense. Actually, just out of curiosity, do you use milestone payments when you set up a website? When you first buy, first you put in an X amount of money and then when halfway done, you put in an X amount of money and stuff like that? Joseph, I think you’re on mute.]
I do 60- 50, 30, 20. It’s half down to get started. Then after I move into the development phase– Basically, I have the introduction phase, which we’re talking entirely about the project, I’m trying to understand what it is or what exactly the client needs from me. Then once that’s done, I move into a design phase where I’m trying to map out and design everything according to what the client needs, but also what’s going to help generate the level of traffic that they want. Or do a little bit of trying to figure out what their customers are going to want to see the moment they reach the front page. That’s basically the entire design phase of the process. Then after that I require 30% of the total price and then I move forward. Then after I launch and I test it and then I get it migrated, then it’s the rest of the 20%.
Are they providing their own graphics and arts?
That depends on the price. If I’m going to need someone to come create the graphics and they’re [client] not going to do it, then it’s extra just because then there’s going to be another contractor who I’m going to talk to and it’s another one that I have to pay. It’s all depending on their budget and their price, and really what they could afford or what they really don’t want to go over.
Do you find that your customers generally want you to be like a one-stop shop?
I usually pitch maintenance packages. They don’t really stray too much into the marketing only because it’s me and I have other clients that I need to help out. What I can do, or what I usually do is if they need to, I’ll create a landing page for them. Then from there, I’ll tell them, “Hey, this is what you got to do if you want to design a piece of work, create content that is relevant to that landing page.”
Let’s say they want to collect email addresses. I’ll create a landing page that’s going to be solely dedicated to gathering or trying to get people to sign up for a newsletter. Then I’ll tell them, “This is what you got to do. You got to create the content that’s relevant to the landing page.” Let’s say it’s underwater basket weaving that they’re trying to promote. Then I’ll tell them, “Anything that has to relate to that, send it through social media, send it to Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever you currently find your potential clients, and then have that link on each post be connected to that landing page.” Then that landing page should act as a way for them to subscribe to a newsletter.
Let’s say it’s just a landing page for underwater basket weaving, then that’s ultimately what I’m there for is to help them create the lead-generating landing page, versus me having to do pretty much the entire marketing. In the very beginning, that’s what I tended to do was to be part of the marketing and part of the web development. It was a mess. I couldn’t do it because it started to get into the lines where the client didn’t know what it is they wanted to promote. They didn’t have clear specific goals to their marketing because in the first place, they didn’t understand marketing.
I do tend to make sure that the clients know, or have some level of a marketing goal that they have in mind. Then that will help me out create just a simple strategy for them to use. For the most part, it’s just maintenance packages that I’ll offer. One package I’ll offer updates. The next package, if they have content, or they need extra landing pages because they have other ideas that they want to promote, then I’ll assign them to that package.
Then I also I have a security package, which I monitor their website to make sure that there’s no hacking attempts or brute-force attacks or anything like that engaging on their website, so then I have that package. I usually try to get people to stay away from being a one-stop-shop. Unless you actually have people who you’re partnered with to do the other aspects that you promised the client to do.
Yes, that makes sense. I’m trying to learn a lot of different things only being a few months out of camp. I knew a few things before, but I feel like I’m just spread thin.
Yes. Focus on what you need to know now. I think you’re going forward. You don’t want to strain to a tutorial hell of– You need to feel like you need to be the top expert in that field in order to start offering the service. Like I said, you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to know more than the average person and just do it and then learn as you go. Don’t try and learn anything that you’re not going to use or that you’re not going to need unless it’s just a pastime thing. I like to experiment with different coding languages just as a hobby. I don’t really look to doing anything with it.
I do tend to try and focus mainly on either the business aspects of what I need to learn or if I feel like there’s something that I need to work on, like let’s say it’s my whole entire system of onboarding, then I’ll try and figure out what other people are doing, what other freelancers are doing and then I’ll try and either mimic it or try to shape it to how it’s going to work for me. Just learn what you need to know and just keep going.
I have a small question. How often are you brought on to a project that already exists versus building something from scratch?
I will say, 40% of the time, it’s already a project that’s already been started but then abandoned. I’ve always tried to either do brand new websites or redesigns. I have on occasion, been dealt hands where someone goes up to me and says, “Hey, you know, this is kind of a project that we started, but something happened to the developer that was using it and I don’t know what’s going on.” Sometimes it could be a headache because I don’t exactly know– I’ll be lucky enough if it was a page builder that they were just using, but sometimes people try and develop their own personal things. I have to go in and have to try and figure out what actions, [unintelligible 00:47:42] they’ve been using and what exactly have they been trying to do. That happens on rare occasions, but I’ve managed to pull through them. There’s times when you’re going to take on those kinds of projects where it’s just kind of– It’s a headache, but it’s a choice that you can either do right now. That’s why I strongly believe in onboarding clients before doing it.
When you approach a new client, do you have a questionnaire that you have to figure out what they want and fun stuff like that?
No. The way that I like to do it, is I like to make sure that I understand everything it is that they need. When a client reaches out to me, they’re going to be like, “I need this, this, this.” The two things that I require is that I connect with them on either LinkedIn or Facebook, whatever profile they have, just to make sure they’re an actual person. It’s just another way to build a relationship or build a following. The second thing that I do, is I send them a link to a questionnaire that I have and I have them fill out that questionnaire. It’s basically a questionnaire that asks two different things.
It’s a filter to make sure that it’s people who actually want to embark on the project, and it’s to ward off people who are just kind of scope creeping, and they just a general answer of how much something is going to be because nothing is ever clear cut on– Just because you need this, I don’t exactly know the entire– what you didn’t tell me to do. I’ll connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook, and I’ll send them a questionnaire. They fill out the questionnaire, I look it over for about three days just to get a good understanding of what their goals are, what their company’s about, who their audience is to make sure they know that they have an audience, then I’ll look it over.
I’ll grade it. [unintelligible 00:50:14] they’re giving a pass or fail. If it’s a fail, then I will just say, “You know what, I don’t think there’s going to be a project.” I’ve had to refuse projects before, just because I’ve had that general feeling where I don’t know if they’re fully understanding– They don’t fully understand what it is that they need, or I’m not the right person that they’re going to– that I’m going to be able to provide a solution for. If they do pass, I do say, “Okay, let’s arrange a meeting.” I’ll bring up everything that they filled out in the questionnaire. I’ll talk to them about it. Then this is the chance when I really get to dive deep down into trying to figure out what their main goal is. Then from there we all fill out the proposal and I’ll send it to them. It gets signed and then we kick off the project. That’s pretty much– That’s my system for everything. Every client that I go through has to go through that process. I don’t cut corners because if you could simplify everything, that’s the best thing that you could do. That’s just a system that I created for onboarding clients. Actually, that’s fine with it.
Did you come up with that question, this by yourself, or did you find something online or did you have a mentor that push that way?
No. I joined different communities and one of them was luckily enough, they have a questionnaire that was just a regular question. Then I’ve either improved it, added or I’ve taken away stuff. Just if I needed it, if I needed some things off and I just took them off. It all started out from a framework.
Have you had any success building any kind of passive income or just a revenue stream where you’re not doing all that much, you’re still offering some kind of service to your clients and you can rely on that revenue stream?
So far, it’s always just been the maintenance packages that I try and upsell. Typically, what I do is either set it for a six month thing or it’s a one year. Then from that, it’s just a month to month basis where I just either depending on the package that they buy into, I’m either doing the updates, or I’m updating their plugins or their themes or anything like that. The second package is when I’m actually adding content or building landing pages that they need or that they want to start running promotions on. Then, the next one is just the security to make sure that there’s no malware or cross site hacks going on or anyone trying to brute force their way in. Maintenance has been the bread and butter lately versus just building an entire website by itself.
What are some of the tools you’re using to be able to find new clients, prospect clients, prospect existing clients, upsell, et cetera, et cetera?
When it’s going to promoting, for a while I was using Zoho, to link to all my social media accounts. Recently, I just ended up switching to Hootsuite. That’s what takes care instead of me going back and forth between different social media platforms. Right now, I think Twitter’s the only one where I would actually have to go in and then add a post for my marketing content. I don’t know, Hootsuite takes care of most of it. For the sales, it’s MailChimp and it’s either just– I’m pretty much trying to automate everything. The way that I have it set up is, if someone emails me because they’re interested in a service, then I’ll automatically shoot out a message with the link to the questionnaire, as well as their actions of following me on LinkedIn or Facebook.
If I could get them to the questionnaire, they fill it out and then it just sends another email, as soon as they’re done that I’ll get back to them within three days, when we could sign up. I use Calendly for them to pick a date of when they want to set up a meeting. They pick a date, and then we set up the meeting. Other than that, everything is just manual from there. I switched to Upclick, which I’ve actually liked Upclick. It’s simple and it’s not as complicated as using something like Asana where it comes up with a ridiculous price tag. Just recently, in December, I ended up switching to Upclick for project management. That’s what I’m currently using for any kind of project to manage all the projects that I have, as well as the clients.
I have my own personal hobby, artist business that I’ve been branding, would you suggest to keep it separate? I was thinking about maybe putting it on my website, but keep it separate and make maybe a new Facebook business page or a new Instagram page that’s just for the digital media stuff I make. Or what do you suggest like branding?
Yes. I would do it separate. I wouldn’t completely shy away from the other business that you do now, because I think what you should do is separate them, but also show that you’re interested in pottery, even though it’s just drone flying, then maybe you could incorporate something that uses a drone while you’re doing pottery or something like that. Or even just showing that you have interest in certain types of things. It doesn’t specific like– When you start your drone Facebook page, it doesn’t have to be all about drones. Some parts of it could just be like, “Hey, I have this other Facebook page where I’m interested in pottery.”
The way that it helps with your branding is it shows that you’re a person, you’re not just a faceless identity. That’s how people build relationships is when they see the other things that people are interested in. Sometimes when I market or when I send out content throughout social media, sometimes it’s not exactly about web development or it’s not about lead generation or anything like that. It’s just like, “Hey, I just watched this movie. I can’t believe I’m just watching it now. It’s a pretty good movie.” People will actually start a conversation about it. It just shows that you’re an actual person.
That’s the way that branding works today is showing that you have interests, that you could relate to people to different people, and at the same time say, “Hey, this is what I do though. This is my primary purpose.”
How am I going to do that? Do you think it’s important and also to make a separate Instagram page that just is about the drone or the digital media side as well?
Yes, it would fall under the same though. Your page doesn’t specifically have to be about drones. It’s always good to show different interests every now and then. It just freshens up your page and it shows that you’re just not all about business, but you have other things that make you happy as well. It’s not only drone flying. The best thing I like about Instagram, it allows you to keep different– you can have two different profiles and then you can just switch back and forth between them.
That’s the way that I was working for a very long time before I ended up getting a Hootsuite, which is what I was using for social media now.
Your page doesn’t have to be entirely about what it is that you do. Its good to incorporate stuff that interests you. If you find an article that relates to pottery, then you could just post it onto your drone account and say, “Hey, this is interesting because this does remind me of this, this, and I’ve always liked this growing up.”
Do you have a go-to people in different segments?
Yes. I do. That’s another important thing about networking especially as an individual. Like I said in the beginning, I wanted to be the go-to person for everything and that was including the development, the marketing, inbound marketing, and outbound marketing, and everything and it was just way too much for me to handle. Along the way, I meet people who could take on different things that I wouldn’t have to. If I do need content for a website– I’m not a huge fan of writing but I know someone who I always go to and that I can rely on who I just go to them and say, “Hey, I need this kind of content. Let’s work together, let’s collaborate on this.” I do bring other people if I need to to a project and that’s if clients don’t have any content writers or if they don’t have any graphic designers and it’s out of my scope. I know some things about graphic designing, I just don’t want to get too deep into. If it’s something that does require me to have an expert level at it, then I’ll turn to someone who does know more than I do and then we’ll start working together. Like I said, that’s where the price comes in as well. If there’s any reasons why I need or require someone else outside of my skill set I need to come in, then that’s when usually the price does increase because then I have to take care of someone else as well.
Do you usually charge a percentage on top of that? Say, Mary charges $50 an hour for graphic design. Do you normally put a 20% premium on top of that, make sure you’re getting paid along with her?
Yes. I always try and stay away from hourly but sometimes on occasions where it does require me to have a good rough estimate of how much something is going to be then I do have hourly rates that I usually ask other contractors who have that skill. I ask them how much do they charge. What I’ll usually do is tack on a little bit more just to have a little bit of cushion room to make sure like if there’s any mistakes then at least, we can rebound from that and then it’s not going to eat up within the profits or within the budget. Like I said, usually, that’s the whole reason why I’ve created a system where they fill up the questionnaires so I could get a bigger understanding of exactly what it is that they need. That’s why I always like to have the questionnaire before I have meetings with a client so that nothing just jumps at me and say, “Oh, well, I didn’t know I was going to need this.” I don’t like things that jump out the last minute.
https://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2021/02/4-step-process-to-wordpress-website-design.png300800Joseph Ramirezhttps://jjramirez.io/jjr_publish/uploads/2020/08/jj-ramirez-wordpress-development.pngJoseph Ramirez2021-02-16 10:32:042021-02-16 11:02:56Q and A from Feb 2021 Deep Dive Meetup