Recurring revenue is what helps me sleep like a baby at night. Getting to the point in my business where I had a reliable stream of income every month to pay the bills has been the biggest transformation my business has gone through.
While The Website Owner’s Manual has been the biggest asset that helped me sign nearly every customer onto some kind of recurring revenue, it’s thinking outside the typical care plan offerings that have helped me charge higher rates.
To help customers get excited about care plans, I’m always looking for ways that I can provide them with even more value— especially if it’s something tangible. By focusing in on what’s important to them, I’m able to build completely unique plans that fit their needs.
The more alignment my care plan can have with my customer’s goals, the more I can charge. Over the past year I’ve implemented this “bespoke plan” strategy, and increased my average care plan by over $50 per month— which quickly multiplies into a very lovely total.
This has included going beyond "care" and creating ongoing services that help promote and grow their company beyond the mundane maintenance tasks (something I refer to as my 'Continued Success Program' when explaining it to my customers).
You don't have to only sign more customers up to a care plan— by selling subscription services you can increase your plan rates with the customers that already know, like, and trust you.
One of the easiest sales for a web agency to make is hosting. Every website’s gotta have it, and it saves clients hassle if you provide that for them so they don’t have to worry about the technical bits. If you don’t feel comfortable being their “contact” for hosting issues, consider referring them to a host with an affiliate link that produces monthly commission.
One of the best ways to protect a website from failure is to have regular and complete backups. You can set up an automated system to schedule backups and store them for your customers. This can be done for free and generate extra revenue every month.
As the populace becomes more aware of the dangers online— getting clients to understand the importance of security becomes easier. There are both free and paid solutions for website security that you can mark up to keep your client’s website safe.
As web developers we end up using a mix of both free and paid plugins. Luckily for us, many of the paid plugins come with developer licenses that allow you to deploy these on your client’s website at a discount (vs paying for them 1 site at a time). You can pass these discounts down to your customers and still make a healthy profit.
Uptime Robot is a free tool that will ping your client’s website every 5 minutes to ensure it’s online and send you a notification if it goes down. This is especially important for high-traffic sites or eCommerce stores.
Most reliable hosts have moved to offering free SSL certificates— but someone still has to install it and make sure it’s working right? You can charge for that, and having a SSL is just about mandatory in today’s world.
Privacy policies are pretty much legally required on most sites today. Our buddies at Termageddon offer a fantastic way to keep your clients protected and grow your recurring revenue through their agency partner program. They offer several different types of policy documents depending on your needs.
You can offer to split test (or A/B test) different versions of landing or sales pages for your clients to improve their conversions. SplitHero offers a dead-simple service with pricing that makes it easy to come away with pockets of profit.
The best part about digital marketing is that it can be updated almost instantly. Offer to give you clients a set amount or unlimited updates to their website to keep it fresh and from becoming outdated over time. I love using Project Huddle to manage all this. I can keep track of all the requests and my customers love how easy it is to use.
We know keeping a website up-to-date is important, but businesses rarely invest enough resources in producing new content for their website. Offer to write blogs, or implement new content on their website for them! If you aren’t a copywriter you can always outsource it and mark it up slightly for your time.
Website performance is beginning to play a more critical role in search engine results success. Offer to perform regular performance checks and implement enhancements (like image optimization, caching, etc.) to ensure you client’s website is performing at its best.
The easiest way for a client to grow isn’t always more traffic— it’s often much more effective to convert the existing traffic at a higher rate. You can do this through a variety of ways like split testing, improving UX, or placing more prominent calls to action.
Install HotJar on your clients site and send them regular reports that show how visitors are behaving on their website. This can lead to other recurring work like conversion optimization, website updates, or performance optimization.
Create a custom dashboard using Google Data Studio to display analytics information in an easy-to-digest format for your customers to have a better understanding of their website’s use online.
Track the ranking of your customer’s most important keyword phrases using software like ahrefs, Moz, or SEM Rush. This can lead to other recurring services like content creation, search engine optimization, or link building.
You likely have more knowledge than you give yourself credit for— and certainly more than your customer has about the online space. Put that to good use by offering monthly or quarterly consulting calls to help improve your client’s digital marketing & online presence.
For the clients who like to get their hands dirty, you can offer one-on-one training sessions to help them learn new skills. I like to conduct these over Zoom calls and it’s an easy way to earn a few extra dollars and reinforce your value.
Just about every business needs ongoing graphic design services. Even if you’re not a graphic designer you could hire a service like Deer Designer who offer unlimited design jobs for a flat monthly fee. You can spread these across multiple clients and make easy money for nothing more than “project managing” a few requests per month.
If your client has a website, they likely have some sort of social presence. You can help improve their marketing by posting for them, coaching them on what to post, or outsourcing a white-label partner to take care of it for you.
Almost like an insurance policy, you can offer to fix and remove any malware that makes its way onto your client’s site. You can do this yourself (if you have those ninja skills) or pay someone to do it for you.
There’s actually about 5 sub-services that could go under email marketing. Offer to setup, train, create templates, or completely manage email marketing for your customers. I often will just set everything up, create some templates and provide ongoing support and training for a flat monthly fee (and I never have to write any content!).
Become a funnel creator and help your clients get more warm leads from their website! This can often require other ongoing services like email marketing, creating landing pages, and content creation. Win, win, win!
Setup ways for clients to generate more online reviews and offer to manage those reviews by responding to them. It’s an easy thing to do, and sometimes your client is unlikely to keep up with on their own. It’s easy to prove the value of online reviews (just Google the statistics!).
You can create citations or directory listings by hand or hire a service like BrightLocal who will handle it all for you for next to nothing. I like to promise a minimum number each month and let them trickle out.
Services like CallRail allow you to track calls to a business and better understand where their calls are coming from (which can be very valuable data!). You can even have all the calls recorded and offer to review the calls and ensure quality.
Broken links are bad for UX and Google don’t like them ‘neither! There are plenty of ways to scan for broken links and it’s an easy fix in most cases. This is great for bloggers or sites with lots of external links that may change unknowingly.
You don’t have to get all black-hat to build quality links— and links still have value! This goes hand in hand with citations but you can take it up a notch by finding and pursuing other opportunities (like blogs that rank high for your customers target keywords).
The statistics on abandoned carts are mind boggling. You can setup a sequence to try and recapture those leads and improve your eCommerce client’s conversion rate. It’s like having a second chance— and your customers will love that!
This is one you don’t see often, and I’m not sure why! You can audit your client’s competitors to find out what they are doing successfully and where they fall short which will help you create a strategy to outrank and out-convert them.
Customer with a blog? That’s likely a customer with a lot of comments— and unfortunately a lot of the time they are spam. Your customer isn’t going to want that on their site and you can ensure it doesn’t happen. Customers will pay for that!
Pay-per-click is a complementary service to building a website. Even if you don’t have the PPC chops to pull it off, there are plenty of white-label agencies who would be glad to help. You might not make a killing, but it can lead to building more landing pages and conversion rate optimization services.
Much like email marketing, this is a big topic— but there are plenty of services you can offer that fall under SEO, and giving your customers the opportunity to continually rank higher is something they will love.
Some additional ideas in the SEO family:
If you're not feeling super confident, my buddy Pete Everitt has a fantastic course on becoming an SEO wizard.
Companies often think their job is done once the sale is complete— but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Offer to setup after sales nurturing email sequences to encourage repeat business and referrals for your clients. If you're unsure on this one, Funnel Packs has a great package that covers all the details.
Who doesn’t love saving time? Zapier makes us all happier! Even the smallest of automations can make you look like a wizard and your clients will fall in love with the time saved. It requires a bit of knowledge (I highly recommend James Rose's Zapier Mastery Course) and some creative thinking, but you can leverage this into a recurring service they won’t ever want to live without!
Create a members area your VIP clients can access for premium articles, training, and resources. Rope this area off on your website and offer a monthly access fee so they can get to your best content.
I can come up with ideas for landing pages for just about anything. It’s a great way to help your client promote new things, or places to drive paid ads to. Try offering 1, 2, or 3 pages per month for a flat fee.
Adding a CDN is quick, easy, and dirt-cheap. This can help offload some of the work from your server, and deliver big assets (like images) from elsewhere. I've used Bunny CDN and paid pennies a month for a single site. This is a great solution to improve performance on photo-heavy websites (like photographers).
Much like offering an SSL certificate, what I offer in this scenario is nothing more than getting things setup in Gsuite, tech support for simple questions, and the convenience for my customer not having yet another bill to pay (it's all included in mine). Sure, you can't mark it up much, but each little dollar adds up.
How many times have you encouraged a customer to keep up with the blog, but they fail? Using Content Snare for an online portal to collect content could be a great addon service that helps instruct and motivate clients to get their content written.
When clients decline your maintenance plan, it’s not because your plan isn’t great… it’s because they don’t truly understand how much work it takes to maintain their site on an ongoing basis.
Even if you do your best to explain this, you risk sounding like a salesperson pushing for another buck on something they don’t think they need.
But what if you could help your clients understand the challenges they’ll face without you having to make “the pitch”?
Delivered to you in the form of an easily customizable & reusable document, The Website Owner’s Manual (or ‘WOM’ as its come to be known) is the perfect way to communicate the benefits of a care plan in a tangible way.
Inside, your client will be provided with all the information they need for the proper care & maintenance of their website. This includes technical details (like their host, domain registrar, DNS records, logins, & more), a maintenance schedule (for daily, weekly, monthly & annual tasks), and a troubleshooting guide for the common problems WordPress websites face.
While any client will appreciate such a helpful document, it’s true power lies in its unique ability to inform clients of all the maintenance required for proper website upkeep.
Since most clients don’t have the time or expertise needed, your maintenance plan becomes the perfect solution saving them from themselves.
We’ll provide you with the customizable template and email scripts we’ve used to convert thousands of dollars in recurring revenue, along with training videos that will teach you how to implement this into your agency’s process.
Have you considered outsourcing your care plan duties?
For some this could mean being able to scale their offerings and open up care plans to more and more clients. For others, this is a way to take the mundane tasks of updating websites off their plate so they can focus on things they’d rather be doing.
For me, this has opened a whole new door of revenue. I have, for years now, denied offering maintenance on sites I didn’t build (because I didn’t want the hassle of “someone else’s stack”). But being able to outsource those customers I can still bring them on as a client, get paid, and NEVER LIFT A FINGER!
That’s all thanks to MaintainPress!
We recently had MaintainPress' owner, Jeffery Patch, on the show to talk about managing care plans (especially when you begin to scale).
Let your imagination run wild when it comes to what you can do to increase your recurring revenue. Having this money in the bank each time the calendar flips over is the key to running a successful agency and avoiding burnout. New project work is great (and lots of fun), and while care plans might not be as sexy— they sure do pay the bills nicely.