How a freelance web designer making $200,00 a year gets referrals


  • Sam Schnitzler is a profitable freelance web designer.
  • He seen that almost all of his shoppers got here from referrals from different companies, so he developed an e-mail that may entice companies to strategically companion with him.
  • Though he provides a lot of details about his companies up entrance, Schnitzler leaves some air of secrecy to get potential companions to reply.
  • Ending with a clear query additionally retains the dialog going, he stated.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Sam Schnitzler, a web site advisor and the proprietor of the website-design agency Universal NYC, has been a profitable web designer for over 17 years. As a full-time freelancer, Schnitzler now makes effectively over $200,000 a year, he stated.

Schnitzler instructed Business Insider that the technique he used to achieve this stage of monetary success was specializing in constructing his shopper base by referrals.

“I noticed that while some clients send me their friends once in a while, they [were] not really consistent,” Schnitzler stated. “I tried asking my clients to have me in mind when they hear someone needs a website, and while they all agreed to do so, nothing really changed.”

So Schnitzler drilled down deeper and found that almost all of his repeat referrals got here from different companies. When he realized that many of those companies — which included copywriters, programmers, and consultants — had been reaching out to him naturally with out him asking, he determined to leverage this advertising and marketing alternative by proactively focusing on and reaching out to potential companions. 

To achieve this, the freelancer created packages and pricing on his web site which might be particularly for these precedence prospects and never obtainable to most of the people. He now gets about 80% of his shoppers from these strategic companions.

How his referral course of works

Schnitzler stated these focused companies may signal as much as develop into a “strategic partner” and select in the event that they need to provide his companies to their shoppers as a white-label service or simply ship them on to him and get a finder’s price or different useful companies. 

The web designer additionally greases the wheels for these companions to advertise his companies by offering advertising and marketing supplies and proposal templates with the shoppers’ personal branding. He moreover provides coaching and assist freed from cost.

“This makes it very easy for my strategic partners to sell web-design services without learning a new skill, and it gets me an ongoing flow of repeat business on a monthly basis,” Schnitzler stated.

To discover these prospects, Schnitzler would not merely pull random contacts out of a skilled listing or social media: He appears to be like for a true connection by pursuing what he known as “shared clients.” 

“While any type of relationship is better than nothing, a shared client is the best connection, as it proves to them that their existing clients need my services and are happy with what I do,” Schnitzler stated. “Plus, it demonstrates that we’re at the same level.”

When Schnitzler works with current shoppers on a challenge, he asks them who they work with in comparable business-to-business industries, reminiscent of graphic designers, programmers, builders, advertising and marketing specialists, printing corporations, copywriters, IT/networking professionals, and enterprise consultants. Schnitzler would not present this complete checklist of potential partnerships to his current shoppers; as an alternative, he sees what forms of companies every shopper already makes use of, and he targets these companies when discussing the topic with them.

Once his shopper supplies him with the contact info, he sends that enterprise an introductory e-mail with a suggestion. He designed an e-mail template that abates frequent fears he discovered about by conversations with potential companions.

For instance, one prospect instructed Schnitzler that he all the time needed to supply web-design companies however did not need to rent extra workers. So Schnitzler added a level in his e-mail template that stated by coming to him, companies do not want to rent extra workers.

The e-mail template you possibly can copy from Schnitzler to supply discounted pricing and different alternatives to your shoppers

Hi [prospect’s name],

My identify is [your name], and I have been working with [shared client’s name] on their new web site. They talked about that also they are working with you and appear to be pleased together with your work.

I needed to introduce you to the chance that can assist you develop your online business, with out spending further time or cash!

You are already promoting [name of service] to enterprise homeowners like [shared client’s name], and providing web companies to go together with it’ll solely make the proper enterprise determination.

Every enterprise wants a web site, and your shoppers would a lot reasonably cope with a vendor they already know and belief, however being a “jack of all trades, master of none” isn’t any profit to anybody.

I am right here to assist! I present white-label web design and improvement companies at a low price to you, which lets you resell them at a aggressive charge. 

The advantages of providing our companies to your shoppers embody the next:

  • Earn more cash from current shoppers.
  • Expand your online business in new markets.
  • No must be taught something new.
  • Avoid hiring extra workers. 
  • Enhance your buyer expertise.  

It is easy to get began:

  • I will maintain your hand and reply all of your questions, and your shopper’s questions.
  • I will help you promote your new companies; you should not should spend further time on it.
  • I can be empowering you with the instruments you should succeed.

Would you be interested by studying extra about how we will work collectively for the advantage of your organization and its shoppers? 

Thank you,

[Your name]

Leave an air of secrecy to encourage the prospect to achieve out

If you seen that Schnitzler’s e-mail would not present full particulars about how his course of works, you are proper. The web designer stated he intentionally prevented “spelling everything out” as a result of he needs his e-mail to depart the recipient with some questions that he can reply. 

“I do that because I want them to contact me for more details so I know they are interested,” he stated. “If I give them all info right away, they may be very interested but forget about it after a few days, and I won’t know about it.”

Once the prospect responds and exhibits curiosity, he sends a follow-up e-mail to elucidate extra of his companies and reply questions.

The follow-up e-mail that he sends to prospects

Hi [prospect’s name],

Thank you for getting again to me. I provide a number of web companies that your shoppers already want, together with Informational Websites, Shopping Carts, CMS Systems, and Custom Web Systems. 

By creating a strategic partnership, you’ll have the flexibility to supply our companies in 3 ways:

Full Control (Option 1 — at 30% off our common pricing)

You hold full management over the challenge and buyer; I’ll solely be doing the work behind the scenes.

Happy Medium (Option 2 — between 20% and 30% off our common pricing)  

You do what you do finest, which is [name of service]. I can be coping with your shopper as your workers member or as your online business companion in relation to the areas you want my assist with.

Hand Over (Option three — as much as 20% fee relying on the challenge)  

You get us in contact immediately with the shopper, and we ship you a fee each time the client submits a fee.

Which of those choices appears to work finest for you?

Thank you,

[Your name]

Best practices for emailing prospects

Schnitzler retains the emails he sends pleasant and private, reasonably than “corporate-looking,” however stated he has a designed model that he sends to subscribers on his mailing checklist. He all the time ends his emails with one clear query to maintain the dialog going. 

In the physique of the e-mail, Schnitzler mentions companies that may be fascinating to the particular shopper and likewise useful to his enterprise. If he decides to tack on different companies later, he upsells them.

And lastly, the web designer stated, “Delivering exceptional service is the key to any business success; otherwise, no one will want to recommend you to anyone. So I make sure to keep all my clients happy. But most importantly, clients that come from my strategic partners get the special treatment.”



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