The final quarter of the year is a stressful time for everyone, no doubt yourself included. Things have been chugging along fine all year long with sales projections looking mostly positive. But then you start to panic about the holidays.
What’s going to happen if all your clients decide to leave town for most of December? What if they want to throw their hard-earned cash at their kids instead of at a much-needed redesign? What if they slow down their spending to wait and see how big of a budget they’ll have to play with in 2018? What if, what if, what if?
You can sit there and worry about all the potential things that might throw your web development business and final 2017 sales out of whack. Or you could do something about it.
Here’s the thing: you’re not the only one panicking. Many business owners feel that sense of “Holy crap! When did Q4 get here?” Maybe they’re worried they didn’t do enough to really close out the year with a bang or maybe they want to keep the momentum going and give the new year a strong start. Either way, they’re looking at Q4 as a time to cover major ground. It’s up to you to capitalize on that.
So, let’s figure out some ways you can start upselling and cross-selling your services as a WordPress developer and make money in Q4.
How to Upsell, Cross-Sell and Make Money in Q4
There are two ways you can go about doing this. You can:
- Upsell means offering upgrades on your current services or products.
- Cross-sell means offerings completely different services or products, but that are still somehow related to what you currently do for your clients.
Personally, I think the cross-sell is easier to accomplish since there is so much more to be done in WordPress beyond development and design. If you have mastered other skills or you can outsource and take a commission from someone else who can do it, then why not take this opportunity to branch out?
Ideally, whatever it is you’re offering in the upsell or cross-sell will provide customers with more comprehensive coverage, giving them less to do in WordPress and more time to focus on their business. Serving as a one-stop-shop and your clients’ primary go-to is never a bad plan.
So, let’s take a look at 18 creative ways you can upsell and cross-sell your WordPress services as we move into Q4.
1. WordPress Maintenance and Support
“Do you offer any ongoing support services?” This was probably the most popular request I received during closing calls with clients. This is because most business owners are savvy enough to understand that a website needs monitoring. They also know that it’s going to be a pain trying to locate a developer down the road or to get ahold of their web hosting company if an urgent issue arises.
That’s why this is probably the easiest upsell you could offer and it might prove to be a highly profitable one, too. It’s up to you to decide what you want to include in these support services: backups, security monitoring, core, plugin, and theme updates, small website patches/updates, and so on.
2. Design Upgrade
There are two ways you can approach this:
You could take the time to review past and present clients’ websites to determine what sort of design upgrade they need. Then you can pitch it to them with all the specifics carefully laid out.
The second way to approach this is to create a yearly design upgrade program where you give your clients’ sites a much-needed touch-up. It could be something like a font facelift or you could find a new plugin that creates sleeker and smarter popups.
3. Landing Page Setup
If you know your clients have something really special—like a service that’s in high demand—create a thoughtful proposal with details specific to how you see this landing page helping them make more sales of their own. Just knowing that you were thinking of them and have created this proposal in order to support their business, you might find more clients willing to say “yes” even if the landing page hadn’t even been on their radar previously.
4. Blog Management
Adding new blog posts to WordPress shouldn’t take that long, but it probably does for your clients. You also know they’d probably forget to add a featured image, update the slug, or smush their images before publishing, too.
It may be a seemingly insignificant thing to sell, but think about how relieved they’ll be to know that someone will take the time and care to upload the blogs they’ve written. Not just that, but someone who will upload, optimize the content, and also find beautiful images to pair with it.
5. Analytics Review
I was always surprised by how few of our clients looked at their Google Analytics’ reports each month. It’s not like they weren’t aware of them or that they weren’t automatically having them sent to their inbox either. They just didn’t want to or couldn’t take the time to review them.
So, here is what you can do:
- Schedule a monthly call with your clients. 30 minutes should do.
- Review their statistics ahead of time.
- Prepare a report and send it to them a few minutes before the meeting.
- Discuss what happened on their site with suggestions on how to improve it going forward.
It’s a simple thing to do, but the busy business owner will appreciate it.
6. Monthly A/B Testing
This would actually be a nice one to pair with the Analytics review. You could review site performance and then identify areas of the site that would be worth A/B testing. You can put together the plan, implement it, and then review the results with your client during that same monthly call.
7. Discount Program
One of the things you probably struggle with as a freelance developer is getting clients to pay you on time. But what if you offered a discount on your monthly services if they pay you by a certain date or if they purchased a certain amount of services and products?
You could also apply this discount program to general web development projects. For clients who pay you at least 50% upfront, you can offer them a discounted rate on their website (or something like that).
If you’ve recently built a website for a client, you probably won’t be able to pitch them the idea of a rebranding project. However, this is a great reason to get back in touch with older clients whose logo, typography, color palette, and images might not be as fresh or modern-looking.
1.6 million WordPress Superheroes read and trust our blog. Join them and get daily posts delivered to your inbox – free!
9. Print Collateral Design
For clients whose websites you have recently finished, this would be a great add-on to suggest with every project. Think about it: they have a great-looking site, but now all their old marketing collateral doesn’t match. They could turn to a completely new designer who’s unfamiliar with the work you’ve just done… or they can have you do it! It’s up to you on what exactly what you want to offer, but a business card and folders are probably a good place to start.
10. Ad Design
For clients who elect to have you monetize their site, use this opportunity to cross-sell them on custom ad design. Rather than default to whatever design their ad plugin uses, you can create ads that complement their new site beautifully.
11. Newsletter Design
We spend so much time adding contact and subscription forms to our clients’ sites and linking them up to their lead collection software. But do we ever follow through to find out what they’re doing with them? For clients who are passively collecting those leads and not taking advantage of this opportunity to connect with them regularly through a newsletter, now is a good time to pitch this. All they need to do is write the content; you’ll design it.
And if they have a small list or want to start simple, you can always use a newsletter plugin to build each one for them.
12. Animated Video Creation
Video is hot right now and it’s surely not going anywhere in 2018. Unless you’re a videographer, you won’t be able to offer video marketing services to your clients. What you can do, however, is offer to create an animated video for them (or any animation, really). You can start with a plugin or you can build one from-scratch.
13. SEO Services
Every time you build a new WordPress site for a client, you optimize it for search. But you know as well as I do that Google never sleeps and is always updating that dang algorithm.
If you enjoy staying up on the latest algorithm changes and you like analyzing on-site keyword performance, SEO services would be a great cross-sell option. You can review your clients’ keywords on a monthly basis and then present them with an analysis on what’s working, what’s not, and propose how that can be amended.
14. Festive Site Touches
I saw this post last year about how to Halloween-ify your WordPress site and just thought the concept was so brilliant. It’s not a total design overhaul; you’re simply adding temporary festive touches.
If you have clients whose businesses would benefit from a holiday-ification of their site (like food bloggers around Thanksgiving and e-commerce sites around the holiday shopping season), this would be a fun proposal to make.
15. Holiday Traffic Preparation
For some businesses, the holidays will present a huge opportunity for increased traffic to their website. But with more traffic comes the potential for security issues and performance compromises. So, if you’re not already offering security or support services for your clients, Q4 is the perfect time to do so.
16. Holiday Banners and Ads
The website isn’t the only place where you can spiff things up for the holidays. Take a look at what sort of social media banner or ad designs they’re currently working with. If they’re thinking about running holiday sales, a festive social media banner or remarketing ad could definitely help them get more relevant eyes on their content.
17. Holiday Sale
Many clients will be reluctant to spend a lot of money going into the end of Q4, but that might not be so if you give them a juicy offer they can’t refuse.
You could offer your WordPress plugin or theme at a discounted price up until midnight on December 31.
You could run a bundling special for 2018 that gives clients a better deal on related services that belong together like blog management, SEO management, analytics review, and A/B testing.
Or you could just do a blow-out sale on your services through the end of Q4. If they weren’t thinking of getting help before, they might change their tune when they see how cheaply they can secure your services now. And then when January 1 rolls around? I bet quite a few of those clients will decide it’s worth it to pay full price to keep you around.
18. Holiday Gift
I usually don’t have time to buy and mail each of my clients a personalized gift. So, what I do instead is give clients who have been with me for at least a year one free article in the month of January. I’ve found that by showing my clients how much I appreciate them as we move into a new year together, it often leads to them ordering even more work with me in the long run.
People will have to spend money as we approach the end of the year, whether they like it or not. When it comes to their website, it might just take more creative ways for you to keep the momentum up with them so you can make money in Q4.
Just keep in mind that this is a tough time of year for everyone. There are many stressors both inside and outside the office, so don’t be pushy or resort to scare tactics. Simply present your idea and let it simmer—the earlier the better. And, of course, remember that you’re here to improve their life. So, when thinking about these creative ways to pitch new or more work to them, think about how your offering will positively impact their site/business in the new year.
My suggestion? Start with your long-running and most loyal customers. If anyone is going to say “yes” to spending money over Q4 when they’re nervous about doing so, it’s the ones who already trust you. Before you approach them or anyone else about your upsell or cross-sell opportunity, be sure to review their website, data, business goals, or anything else that will help you make a strong argument as to why they need to spend money on this now.
That said, if business does slow down for you in Q4, don’t panic. It may just be a good time for you to take a moment to breathe, review the previous year’s accomplishments, and assess how to hit it harder in the new year.