Practical Tips for Selling a WordPress Platform to SMBs

Selling a WordPress-driven platform to small or medium-sized businesses (SMB) is a major challenge for freelancers and small businesses.

Every SMB is unique, with its requirements, goals, and visions. A generic pitch might not resonate with them. Customization and understanding individual business needs are crucial to making the WordPress platform appealing.

Not all SMB owners or decision-makers are tech-savvy. Simplifying technical jargon and presenting the benefits of WordPress in an easy-to-understand manner can be the difference between locking the deal or losing a potential client.

During my last research, there were over 2 million freelancers offering WordPress development services on major freelancer portals. That doesn’t include tens of thousands of agencies selling through different channels.

First, building a WordPress website or redesigning an existing solution is about solving a business problem.

Small and medium-sized businesses usually ask for a new website for the following reasons:

  1. Better positioning online
  2. Keeping all company data in one place (instead of distributing to 3rd party channels)
  3. Providing additional solutions that are not supported by other platforms (eCommerce, membership, discount codes, something else)
  4. A new product or a solution that is a platform by itself
  5. Integration with CRMs or other services that the business utilizes

Frankly, the first two reasons seem to be most common among starting businesses. Being “online” itself is expected. Visitors looking for the primary website for more information is also quite common.

Not having an official website is often considered odd, if not concerning. Especially for service providers who may be more phantom and less trustworthy.

In fact, one of the best practices for small businesses is putting a face to their name. Or rather listing their team members, including photos from different events and showing some personal attitude that showcases the company culture.

Your Key WordPress Development Selling Point

The first thing to keep into account is your key selling point when offering WordPress development solutions.

Even for site builders who don’t offer development, it’s important to outline what is the value that you offer which would position you higher as compared to other agencies and freelancers.

Consultants and freelancers could specialize in an area that would be helpful to a small business. For WordPress developers, the technical expertise and proven track record of building custom plugins, integrating 3rd party services, offering performance optimizations or conducting security code reviews is a key strategy. For site builders, building a new platform that would convert better and present a better user experience may help out as well.

Along with some marketing consulting or whatever else you would bundle in a proposal.

Prepare a Professional Proposal

Contracts and specifications aren’t that common in the WordPress space. To some extent, that’s understandable for site builders working on small fixes or setting up WordPress websites for a few hours or over the weekend.

However, we’ve all seen the thousands of threads from freelancers complaining that a client hadn’t paid for a job done.

Depending on the duration of the project, scope of work and the quote, you can go for a simple 2-page proposal or a lengthy specification that may be 20–50 pages long. We’ve received some RFPs with over 100 pages + a branding style guide that was 160 pages alone for every single UI aspect (admittedly, that was for an enterprise automotive provider).

Essentially, you may want to list down several essential things:

  • A brief intro for both businesses and the type of relationship
  • Services to be provided (1–2 paragraphs for each)
  • A timeline for the proposed solution (a Gantt chart is helpful here)
  • Proposed budget (you could go with 2 to 3 plans with extra bonus features as an upsell)
  • Payment details and milestones
  • Legal part (could be a completely separate set of documents)

Some vendors create mockups, wireframes, or sketches that briefly explain what would be delivered – however, this may be delivered during a paid discovery phase with the client unless you’re aiming for a large B2B that gets impressed by extra work done upfront.

You can sign up for some of the established proposal solutions that provide shiny templates, boilerplate text for proposals, tracking stats and other handy features that may increase the odds for landing a deal:

Pitching a WordPress Rebuild or a Migration

The approach of pointing out UX, design, performance, navigation issues is certainly legit. It’s worth noting that customers can’t gauge how crucial that is for their website.

Let’s review some additional ideas that you can include in your pitch to a customer who would benefit from a well designed and professionally developed website.

Prepare Trustworthy Data

Prepare a list of the challenges that you see both as a user, and an industry expert while browsing the website. Then look for reliable research studies and stats explaining what is the impact of poor UX, slow performance and the like.

One helpful list of UX statistics provided by Experience Dynamics:

Click the screenshot for the complete infographic

Sharing some random suggestions is one thing, but backing these up with industry data builds some trust between you and your prospect. They are not deeply involved with web design or development and the job of a consultant/freelancer is to explain their review, suggested strategy, expected impact and how would that translate to the business lead generation process.

Showcase Competitor Analysis

Are you confident that your suggestions are applicable in the field of your client?

What would work for a WordPress-driven fashion store for teenagers would not resonate with B2B enterprise clients, and vice versa. Often times, trends differ depending on the context, and it’s important to be able to indicate that with success stories from other market leaders.

One viable approach would be identifying the competitors of your client and finding more successful businesses with more interactive online presence. This would let you point out specific areas that these competitors leverage in order to generate more traffic or convert customers better – especially if you can apply these in the new website that you’re pitching.

Some of those competitors are probably running on WordPress. Make sure that you point out the pros and cons and what best practices you can incorporate for your customer. It would be more visual and easier to replicate as well.

Go Over Case Studies

If you have successful projects in the same field or relevant industries that explain how you’ve transformed one’s business through bringing that level of innovation, don’t hesitate to share that with your prospect (as long as it’s not NDA-protected).

Being able to tell stories and go walk your prospect through the process that a fellow business owner went through in order to improve their business online is really helpful.

For example, one of our new clients approached us a couple months back with a number of problems regarding their business. We’ve started with performance optimization since the site was loading for over 15 seconds at times due to background images that were 8MB heavy. This was the very first step that reduced their contact form bounce rate from 80% to 45% hence bringing plenty of fresh leads to their sales team and increasing their revenue accordingly.

Discuss ROI

Talking about selling WordPress websites, discussing ROI is one of the main things clients focus on. Being able to relate a suggestion with an estimated return of investment would let them assess the risks and the potential opportunities and decide on whether it’s worth paying for a redesign.

While Google Analytics data is not public, you can use tools such as BuzzSumo, SEMrush, Moz in order to identify the top keywords that your customers rank for, most shared articles, or anything along those lines – together with finding out competitors and other key players listed in review cases on various blogs.

When combined with Google PageSpeed and other automated tools testing usability, speed, performance or so, this would add up to your review and focus on certain areas that would yield a higher ROI and thus ranking the website higher, generating more shares, contact form inquiries or overall increased brand awareness.

Always Bring Value

Whenever you’re pitching a new WordPress website or a website redesign, make sure that you’re clear on your product offering and you can deliver value to the business.

Customers want to work with reliable service providers and generate some sort of ROI when investing money for a website. A 5-page business website will likely not generate a ton of profit but it still can convert well with a fast, secure, and user-friendly landing page combined with some key points and well-defined services or products.

Focus on showcasing the importance of your work and how it would impact the business in the long run.

Moreover, always keep learning. If you haven’t been proficient in programming, don’t say you are a WordPress developer.

If you are a site builder, state it clearly as your customer may need a lot of custom work that you would not be able to deliver. Your options are specializing in marketing and site building while partnering up with a developer or spending the time and effort to learn actual web development.

If you are a web developer, discuss the importance of code quality for backward compatibility, performance, and security. Review possible plugins that you may need to use and ensure that they won’t cause regressions for your customers. When building something from scratch, notify your clients for the areas that you need to cover which would take up some extra time in order to make it right.

As a result, selling a new proposal for a WordPress website or migrating a project could be systematized and processed in a semi-automated manner, professionally, and leading to a successful launch for you and your customers.

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