5 Elements of a Persuasive Web Design Estimate

So you took the time to send a web design estimate but didn’t get the project.

They said they just didn’t have the budget for it. You know they liked your work, or else they wouldn’t have contacted you for an estimate in the first place.

But is it really just the price that they didn’t like?

You know you’re not going to get any real answers from them. So there goes another lead that probably was never going to turn into a client.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, this happens a lot. Too much, maybe.

You know you do quality work and your pricing is more than fair (maybe even lower than it should be). So if it’s not pricing, then what’s the problem with your estimates?

Well, I’m going to show you how five tweaks to your estimates can increase your chances of getting these client projects.

Focus on the Business Results

The biggest problem with estimates that don’t win clients is that they aren’t written persuasively. What you probably have is a list of services with prices like an invoice.

Like this:

But listing your services like this makes them a commodity, and easier for your clients to do some comparison shopping.

Instead, you need to frame your services in a persuasive way that shows your clients exactly why they want a new website design and that you’re the perfect person to create it for them.

When talking to your client, make sure you ask them questions about why they want a new website design.

Your conversation should be something like:

Client: We need a new website redesign
You: And why do you think you need this redesign?
Client: We’re hoping that it will increase traffic and sales.
You: What do you think is the biggest challenge right now?
Client: We just don’t see a lot of leads coming through. A new design that helps us qualify leads and gain more of them would be great.

Bingo!

So when you’re writing up the estimate for this client, keep their business’ needs in mind. Instead of calling your service “Marketing Website Redesign,” call the project “Increasing Leads through a Marketing Website Redesign.”

Not only will your clients be thrilled that you know what they want, but this will give you the knowledge of what needs to be the focus within the project itself.

Bundle Your Pricing

Now that you know what to call your services, you’re going to need to change your pricing layout.

Instead of showing each individual service and the hourly rate, use bundled pricing. Bundled pricing packages all of your services into one solution with one price. Like this:

So instead of line items that are commodities, you have a tailored, personalized solution for your client. This clearly states how your services will help solve their company’s problem and doesn’t make it easy for them to shop around to other designers.

Bundled pricing is key for persuasive fees that will make your clients say yes.

Only Show Totals

Along with bundling your services, you should also only show the total price for your entire solution.

Instead of this:

You want it to look like this:

This is better than an invoice style for two reasons. One, as we discussed, because it doesn’t let your solution be compared to others. And two, because you want to keep your clients focused on results, not on hours.

While your clients are certainly interested in how long a project will take, it’s better to tell them what your solution will do for their business. With individual services and fees listed, this changes their focus from value to time. And if your clients don’t like the amount of time it’s going to take, they will go to another designer who can complete the project faster.

Give Them Choices

In addition to your original solution, you should offer your clients a couple more options. With more than one option, this changes the estimate from a yes or no decision into a choice of service level. Your clients could purchase the original, basic solution, or they could select an enhanced, premium version.

Make sure that your options are extensions and not add-ons. So for the original example of doing a marketing website redesign, natural up-sells would be these:

Note that the extension options are also bundled and feature one single price.

Here’s another example if you ran a social media service. Your basic solution is to manage your client’s Twitter account. An enhanced option would be to manage the Twitter account and get 1,000 followers per month. The premium option would be to manage the account, get the 1,000 followers, and get 10 influencers per month.

The best part about adding options? If you add the right up-sells, you could earn up to 30% more per client.

Just make sure that you don’t give your clients too many options. When presented with more than one or two extra extensions, your clients could get overwhelmed and choose to abandon your estimate.

Include a Call to Action

At the bottom of your estimate you need to tell your clients exactly what to do next. Without giving them exact steps to take, you can draw out the process and potential lose your client.

Label the section clearly with a subheading like “Next Steps.” Underneath, list what actions you would like them to take. This is the section where deposits and other things you need to get started should be clearly indicated.

A great call to action looks like this:

Next Steps

To proceed with this project, [Your client’s name here] is required to take the following steps:

1. Accept the estimate as is or discuss desired changes. Please note that changes to the project can be made at any time, but additional charges may apply.
2. Finalize and sign contract.
3. Submit initial payment of 50% of total project fee.

Once these steps have been completed, we will begin with a meeting to introduce relevant personnel and begin preliminary activities.

Your call to action must be clear, easy to understand, and above all, make it easy for your client to say yes. Too many steps can make your next steps unclear, which you definitely don’t want.

How it All Comes Together

Now that you’ve made your way through these elements of persuasive web design estimates, let’s recap:

  • Focus on what value your services will provide.
  • Change the name of your service to show your clients that you are focused on their needs.
  • Bundle your services into one detailed solution with one single price.
  • Offer a couple extensions of your solution to give your clients a choice.
  • Provide a clear call to action with easy steps for them to take.

Have you tried any of these strategies in your estimates? What elements have you found to work really well your web design estimates?

About the Author:

Ruben Gamez (@bidsketch) is the founder of Bidsketch, a web app that helps freelancers create professional looking proposals and in minutes. he’s also the author of a free guide that teaches freelancers how to get more clients with a perfect proposal.

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