How to Pitch Web Maintenance Services to Web Design Clients

How to Pitch Web Maintenance Services to Web Design Clients

Feb 20, 2021

Even if you’ve pitched your web design packages hundreds of times, pitching website maintenance services for the first time is nerve-wracking.

You might be stuck wondering what you should say or how you should say it. Or you might be stressed about the timing of your pitch.

Regardless, we have all the details you need to craft the perfect pitch for your website maintenance services. Check them our step-by-step guide below!

Plan Your Website Maintenance Services

Before you reach out to any of your clients or make an effort to pitch your new service, you need to know what you’re offering. You need to drill down to your individual services, create packages, and decide on your monthly retainer pricing. (Much like you did when you created your web design services.)

Why? Because no sane client will pay you for something as vague as “website maintenance.” They want to know exactly what they’re getting. And more importantly, you can’t offer a service you don’t have figured out.

Luckily, picking your individual website maintenance services is really easy. You just have to decide what you’re willing (and able) to do for your clients on an ongoing basis. Here are a few examples of services you can offer on retainer:

  • Landing page design
  • New website pages (great for eCommerce sites)
  • Website pop-ups and announcement banner updates
  • Blog management (i.e content categorization, page redesign, etc.)
  • Website backups
  • WordPress plugin updates and additions

Once you’ve selected your set of services, you should also take some time to package those offerings together – as it will give your clients more options and increase the likelihood they’ll accept your proposal.

Here again, this process will be similar to the one you used to create your web design packages. All you need to do is decide which services are essential and which are nice extras and build your tiered pricing model accordingly.

Filter Out Clients for Your Upsell Pitch

While you can pitch your services to every client, you want to be strategic in your approach. Not only because you want to avoid signing retainer contracts with high-maintenance clients, but because you want to focus your efforts on the clients that you actually enjoy working with.

Think about it this way: a one-off web design project lasts for about 1-2 months. But when you sign a retainer, you stretch that client experience over months and years. If the client relationship is good, that’s a great thing for your agency. But if the relationship is bad, your designers can wind up slogging through request after request and dreading their website maintenance responsibilities.

The point here is to think critically about your clients and get feedback from your team before making a decision to offer more support. Even if there’s money to be made, it may be better to just walk away.

Time Your Offer

One of the most critical elements of your pitch is your timing. Too early and you can appear pushy and salesy. Too late and your clients may move on.

So when do you offer your website maintenance services to your web design clients? Generally speaking: toward the end of the project. The pitch should come after you’ve built rapport and showcased your design and development skills. In other words, it should follow on the heels of positive design approvals and happen around the same time you show your client the backend of their site.

In fact, in many cases, the handoff conversation can be a great time to make your pitch, since your clients are feeling happy with your work and eager to make sure they get the best ROI possible.

Nail Your Website Maintenance Pitch

Arguably, the hardest part of upselling your clients is knowing what to say, so let’s look at 4 best practices for creating a web maintenance services pitch.

Customize Your Pitch

First of all, the pitch needs to be specific. You won’t upsell clients by reading off of a generic script that doesn’t apply to them (or that only applies in a few cases). The pitch needs to address their unique situation and highlight their pain points.

For example, if you’re talking to an eCommerce client, you might put the focus on future product additions, sales pop-ups, and social media integrations that allow them to do business flawlessly. But when talking to a blogger, the important services to call-out might be blog maintenance, broken link repair, and sidebar updates.

Explain Your Process

Once you’ve made it past the initial pitch, your clients will likely want to know how website maintenance works. They may ask about the turnaround time for change requests, how you receive and resolve support tickets, and your approach to website maintenance.

And while it may be tempting to offer a vague answer (since it’s still early in the game), it’s important to be as transparent as possible. Not only will it help you build your client’s trust and land their business, but it can help the transition period go more smoothly. Here are some aspects of the process you should discuss:

How retainer contracts work with your design agency The average turnaround time for support tickets Which helpdesk ticketing system you use to handle requests Your response time in emergency situations

Share Results

At this point, it’s time to fall back on social proof. You can share testimonials, metrics, and statistics from previous projects to show your clients what’s possible for their site. And you can discuss less concrete data, like time savings, to give your clients a clear perspective of website maintenance value.

In the beginning, you may have to pull this data from your standard web design projects, as you build your web maintenance portfolio. However, as your agency transitions clients from web design to web maintenance you’ll be able to collect relevant metrics to talk about.

Be Upfront With Your Pricing

Arguably, this is the worst part of the pitch. It’s uncomfortable for you, and it’s stressful for your client. But it’s critical to get this out of the way early, so you can weed out the clients that are unable (or unwilling) to pay you what you’re worth.

When it comes to the costs of website maintenance, there are a few different ways you can approach it:

  • You can simply share all of your packages and let your clients review them on their own;
  • Or you can walk your clients through each package and explain which you’d recommend for them and why

In either case, you should provide visual access to your pricing guide – either via your website or a PDF document – so that they can make an educated decision to accept or turn down your offer.

Follow Up

While some clients may be quick to jump at your upsell, not all will. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the extra time can make a big difference to your retainer contract quality. If your clients choose to pass, it’s no loss to you. They just weren’t the right fit. But if they sign a retainer contract, the extra day or two will ensure it wasn’t a knee-jerk decision.

That doesn’t mean that your clients will always remember to give you a yes or no answer, though. You may have to follow-up once or twice via email to get a response. Luckily, this is one of the easiest emails you can send. Here’s a template you can steal:

Hi [client name],

Just following up on our last conversation. Have you made a decision on the website maintenance packages we discussed?

Look forward to hearing from you! [signature]

And here’s the follow-up to the follow-up email. (Feel free to steal this one too!)

Hi [client name],

Hope you’re doing well! Since I haven’t heard back from you yet, I thought I’d check-in to see if you had any questions about the web maintenance packages we discussed.

If you’d like, we can book some time to chat some more.

Let me know! [signature]

It’s true: rolling out a new service is intimidating, and it takes a lot of prep work. However, by establishing your offerings first, tailoring and timing your upsell to each client’s situation, and following up when needed, you can successfully pitch your website maintenance services to your favorite clients.

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