4 Ways To Add Value And Make More Money From Your OpenCart Projects
We all want to make more money for the work we do. One way to do this is to go out and get new clients. But if it were that easy, Sales would have been considered the easiest and most comfortable job on the planet. Sales is tough. It's harder to sell to new clients than it is to sell an additional product or service to existing clients.
In this article, I give you 4 ways to charge more or get recurring business for your already existing OpenCart projects. Tweak it a little, to use this for other non-OpenCart projects.
1. Offer Security Updates for their OpenCart Installation and Extensions
This is by far the easiest way to make more money from an existing/ongoing OpenCart project, because your clients will always want to receive new features and security updates for OpenCart and extensions. Notice I said “security updates”, not just “updates”? Why? Because of inertia. That is, most people have the “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” mentality. By letting them know the updates are for security reasons, you add value into your offering.
Say you built an OpenCart store for a client which runs on OpenCart 1.5 or even 2.0. You could inform them of the most recent OpenCart update with security updates and has certain features beneficial to their business needs. Then invoice them for the security update.
My advice for you would be to sell Maintenance & Support packages in 3, 6 and 12 month packs, so you know you will always have money coming in every 3, 6, or 12 months, no matter how small the amount may be.
This will not bring you as much money as the initial project, but it will definitely allow you have steady income over the lifetime of their OpenCart store.
- You must be able to ensure there is no/minimal downtime when updating their site, if not this could become a nightmare.
- Always inform your client when you are about to carry out updates or maintenance before you start. Not only because it's their site and it could affect their business, but also, even if you do your job perfectly and they don't know that you did it or even WHAT you did, you are less likely to get them to purchase another support package. So, always list the problems currently existing on the site, and what the update will fix. Once you're done, send them an email again with a checklist of what has been fixed and have some area that states it was covered under the maintenance package.
- Don't forget to add the date that the package expires, with an additional note stating that you will call them 1 month before the package ends to remind them. You may want to vary this depending on how long it takes the client to issue payment. If it's 2 weeks, then 1 month is good, then remind them again 2 weeks before the end, this time with an invoice. (Invoice Tips)
- Make sure that you have done your research and are able to prove to your client why these security updates are needed and not just "because you are supposed to update regularly". If that's your reason, then you will get a hard NO.
Another thing for you to try is…
2. Social Media Marketing
If you are an expert at social media management, then you should have no problem offering to promote your client's product or service on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or anywhere you think would benefit them.
If you are not an expert, then the best thing to do would be to either: outsource the social media aspect, or; learn by doing. In 2012, I decided to add social media marketing to my Web Design Agency's services. The first business I promoted, was mine (not Base5Builder) and I used it as a guinea pig. I not only learnt a lot, but to my surprise, I landed a large FMCG (my largest client) that sold to countries across the entire West Africa even when they were acquired by a global brand. They stayed with me for 5 years when I closed down that business. Not bad for an initial $50 investment, ey?
You can do this too. The thing I realized, is that clients are willing to spend money if you can prove that there is some value in it for them.
So what value do you see social media adding to your clients’ business? While you think of that, you can add value by…
3. Installing an Admin Theme with Sales Analytics
Another great way of adding value to a client’s OpenCart store is by installing an OpenCart Admin Theme, like Circloid, that has sales analytics of your client's best performing products, their most loyal customers and lots more right there on their dashboard. The default OpenCart admin theme is fine if you/your client just want the least amount of information on your client’s store. But if your client really wants to know where to focus their marketing effort, then this is an important tool. Also it just looks way better than the default OpenCart admin dashboard.
I'm going to be shameless about promoting my own item, but yes, you need to install my admin theme for your clients. This admin theme (and others) was built by me and is available on Base5Builder Shop. I also follow the advice that I gave you above; If I don’t see the value it can give you, then I won’t sell it. But I do see the value, that’s why I use Circloid for myself too.
In addition to the dashboard analytics widget (with more coming in updates), Circloid comes with a White Label feature that allows you remove all reference to Base5Builder and replace them with either your or your client’s branding. If you use your client’s branding on Circloid, you may be able to charge for the branding. Simply add a new line item “Custom Admin Analytics & Branding” to your proposal. If, on the other hand, you decide to use your own branding, you score more points for being professional-looking and whenever your client logs into their admin, guess whose company logo they see? That’s right… yours.
Plus, it’s easy to install with only a few steps. I’ve done all the work for you so you can reap the reward.
Next thing you can try is...
4. Copywriting their product content for better SEO
In my experience, most people that build websites ignore the product description and usually just have something bland or very "sales-y". The content reads like those infomercials you see on TV, like the one for that mop with a special bucket or it reads like the marketing department was writing those boring corporate brochures that say a lot without saying anything. (Tip: How To Write Seductive Sales Copy Like Apple)
If you are good at SEO and have developed your writing skills, you could offer your clients to write their product descriptions in a manner that will focus each product on ranking for a set of long-tail keywords.
Admittedly, I'm not that great at copywriting. If you are struggling with this, then you may want to consider outsource the copywriting to freelancers or independent contractors. You can use sites like Upwork or even Fiverr (yes, I said it) to get people. You'll have to take your time searching on these sites and go for only those that are highly rated and have done something similar to what you want. You must also read their reviews to judge if they are a fit for you. And finally, remember, you get what you pay for.
If you're not great at copywriting AND are not ready to go through all that searching for a copywriter, AND you don’t want to learn how to (like I'm currently doing), then stay away from this one and just stick with the other points above.
Or you could use the bonus option below.
BONUS: Use an OpenCart Frontend Theme
I would have put this as number 1 but it seems so obvious that it feels like it shouldn’t need to be mentioned. Still, just in case you are not doing this, you need to start now.
This is by far the easiest way to make more money from your OpenCart project and you are probably already doing this. By using a theme, a good one, you save yourself weeks of work and fixes because a good OpenCart theme will already have a bad-ass team (or one-man army) behind it working on creating a great design and also hunting for bugs. You get to cut down development time which helps you save money upfront.
All you need to worry about is selecting a theme that looks close enough to what the client wants, then you make a few adjustments. Some themes will allow you do this from the admin panel, while others will require you to know a little HTML and CSS.
There are OpenCart themes that cost as little as $38 on Themeforest, of you could go for slightly higher priced ones with support on TemplateMonster. I cannot say that one site is better that the other in terms of features and theme code quality but design-wise they both have some awesome designs and styles.
By the way, just because you use a theme doesn't mean your work or fees needs to be cheap either. Factor in the cost of the theme into your proposal and charge a separate fee for your work and expertise. You put in a lot of time learning what you know, and you need to be paid for it. Obviously, if you are just beginning, you shouldn’t go charging $10,000 for an OpenCart store, but you should charge enough to let your clients know that you are not the run-of-the-mill web developer. If you are a bit hesitant to charge higher fees, then think of it this way: Your client is going to make money from the store you are building and you are helping in every way you can in order for them to make as much money as possible. So you deserve to be paid well and fairly.
If that still is not enough to convince you to increase your fees, then look at it this way: You need money to market your business; You need money to drive to the client's office for meetings; You need money to keep the lights on at home & office; You need money to tide you through those times that you have no clients. The list goes on.
Using the tips in this article you should be able to increase how much you earn per OpenCart project and if you use these tips for the other services you provide, you could see yourself making a little extra money with those too.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? Do you have other ways to increase how much you make per OpenCart project? Then let me know in the comments.
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