How to Sell Websites to Local Businesses? – A Definitive GuideBy Jamie Toyne
There is a lot of money to be made working with local businesses. With an almost infinite number of businesses across a whole host of niches, there are endless opportunities for entrepreneurs to offer services like lead gen or SEO to help businesses grow. But this kind of work involves continuousclient dealings, a heavy time investment and a constant hustle for the next target to contract your services. So what if you could SELL sites to local businesses instead?
If you are already aware of, or are successfully using a lead gen business model, you will likely be familiar with the concept of creating and running a website to generate leads for a business in a local area. But instead of time-intensively renting the site to businesses with month to month contracts that could end at any moment, you might consider selling sites instead. This can equate to bigger deals, bigger payouts and less hassle. While this model comes with its downsides too, it can be a good option for people who are great at building and growing sites or are already successfully running lead gen sites for others.
Types of websites local business want
So if you are thinking of selling a site to a local business, you will need to define what kind of site-local business owners are likely to buy.
We mainly focus here on lead generation business model-based sites which are some of the most attractive to local businesses. From dentists to plumbers to gym owners, every company needs new clients. Lead generation does what it says on the box and sends leads to local businesses.
A lead generation site works by building a site and sales funnel that brings in leads for a particular niche and area. Bringing inconsistent inbound leads, and therefore clients and revenue is obviously extremely valuable to a local business. It can increase the business’s revenue and help them scale quickly so you can see how selling these sites can be very lucrative.
If you can obtain a highly targeted or partial match domain, for example, bestdentist‘area’.com, or rank for geological words with SEO, then it can be easier to corner the market in your particular area. In a typical lead gen business, you would then rent this site to a company or even to several.
Therefore, buying the site could be a logical move for a business not only for the leads but also to outrank the competition. Lead gen sites will usually publish content and can use methods like SEO to consistently bring traffic to the site. It can help the business build its reputation and bring in targeted traffic to market to and send down a sales funnel.
These kinds of sites could also be built into affiliate sites with affiliate links to products or offers in the niche. This can be a good way for a business to diversify its revenue sources.
If building websites is your specialty then you may also look at offering general website services to local businesses. Local businesses often don’t have a professional website and no idea how to create one. Building a site for them can be a lucrative avenue.
Why sell websites to local businesses?
So what are the pros of selling a site to a local business? Could it be a lucrative business model? Could it bring you a more hands-off lifestyle? Does it work with your strengths? Or do you want some extra cash injections?
Stop dealing with clients
One of the biggest benefits of selling a website to a local business is that it involves no client work. Finding and acquiring clients can take a lot of time and money. There may be extra ongoing costs to managing clients too, such as reporting, as well as performing the service. Clients don’t always stick around forever either.
In lead generation for example you might expect a client to stay from 3 to 18 months. Once goals are hit, clients may decide they no longer need your services unless you can keep offering additional value. Therefore, having clients drop off and having to constantly replenish your client stocks can impact the continuity and growth of revenue.
Selling can be more lucrative
Selling a site can also be more lucrative than charging a monthly retainer for your service. When you focus on small local areas, the amount businesses pay per month is likely to be limited to perhaps a couple of thousand dollars monthly.
It will have a limited audience and traffic. Selling a site on the other hand, you can bill a significant lump sum for both buildings the site plus a number of months of ongoing SEO for example.
You only need to find one buyer
If you have a site that is perfectly optimized for one specific area it is only natural that you will have a limited pool of interested parties to choose from. When you sell a site, you only need to find one buyer.
However if you are renting a site and a client stops working with you, it can be harder to keep finding replacements in the exact same niche and area.
What is the process?
So now let’s dive into the actual process of selling a site to a local business and getting started making money with this model.
Pick a niche
The first thing you need to do is choose the niche you are going to work in. For a lead generation site your target will need to be a local service business. Do some calculations to determine the lifetime customer value in this niche. This means the total average amount the business makes from one client.
Make sure it is high enough that buying a site producing qualified leads will make financial sense for the businesses you are targeting. If you already have experience in a certain industry or perhaps even have a network of contacts there, we recommend you get started here.
It will be easier to understand your market, find potential customers and make sales. It is a good idea to dig deep into your niche and determine its most lucrative areas. For example, a company that offers pressure washing may be happy to accept leads for driveway cleaning.
But if you can deliver them leads for full house facade cleaning, each lead is worth several times more. This will allow you to sell your website for a significantly higher price as well as offer more value to the client.
So when choosing a niche remember to consider:
- Is the lifetime customer value high enough to justify acquiring a site?
- Do you already have experience and contacts in an industry?
- Have you determined the most lucrative areas of your niche?
Choose an area
Now you have determined your niche, you need to choose the area you will work in. This is important as leads for local businesses are area-specific. Your whole site will target geological keywords and so you can’t really change this easily down the line. Firstly it is important that the city you choose has enough potential customers.
Choose a medium or large city or area with a significant volume of potential customers to target. Check out the searches per month for the niche in your area. You need to try and hit a good balance where there will be enough interest in the service to generate some high-quality leads each month.
While high volumes and search numbers are important, remember to consider competition too. Some very big cities may also have stiff competition in the niche. In this case, it might be wiser to choose an area with slightly lower numbers but fewer competitors.
When choosing an area remember to consider:
- Are there enough potential customers in the area?
- Are there significant numbers of searches per month for the niche?
- How much competition is there in the area?
Find target business owners
Choosing the right business owners to target for a sale can be tricky. You are obviously offering a very high ticket sale so you need to find someone who is willing to shell out for your site. Look through businesses in the area and qualify them using the following criteria.
Are they a well-established business with enough revenue and capital to be able to afford your site? If they are very new with a small turnover they are unlikely to be able to shell out tens or hundreds of thousands for a site. Have they recently purchased another business or invested in their business?
This could indicate they are looking to increase their customers and are likely more willing to invest in high ticket items. Identify a pool of good potential business owners who you will approach to make your offer.
Create your site
Next is actually creating your site. If you are already skilled in web design or development then great. But you don’t actually need to be an expert to build a site. We have broken down the process here. Alternatively you could buy an existing site, make significant improvements and sell it on.
Register your domain
Start by registering for a domain. It is usually best to find a partial match domain name that contains popular keywords. You might choose a keyword for the niche plus the name of the area you are targeting to help you rank highly for searches. Check out which keywords have plenty of monthly searches.
Where can I register a domain?
- Liquid web
Set up lead tracking
You want to make sure that all new leads coming in are being tracked whether this is by email or phone call. This is important so that you can quantify how many leads your site is generating and show this to your potential prospects. Set up an email address on the domain and make sure any contact form submissions are forwarded there.
You may also want to set up a geo-targeted phone number to forward calls from inbound leads. Use tools to track and record these calls such as CallRail, CallTrackingMetrics or RingDNA. Of course the more calls and emails you generate, the easier it will be to sell your site to a prospect. It can help them visualize the potential sales they could be making every month.
Build the site
Building the actual site is fairly straightforward through a website builder like WordPress. Install WordPress and use a pre-built theme. It is then fairly intuitive to set up, or if you prefer you can even outsource this part. Of course if website building is your skill, then you can design the site however you want.
Understand your sales funnel
Understanding your buyer’s journey and creating a sales funnel is of course key to making sure your website performs and generates leads. If you have offered lead generation services in the past then you will replicate the models used previously.
If not you may need to detail out your sales funnel to make sure you are bringing in qualified leads and effectively moving them through the sales journey. You could for example use informational content and promotional activities like webinars to drive awareness.
You could create marketing materials such as ebooks or guides. And you could list special offers or discounts to spark people to take action.
Next you need to start creating content to launch your site. You may choose to invest less in content up front and get everything up and running first with low quality or duplicated content. You can then improve content once rankings improve. Or you may want to create great content from the start and hire content writers to create content for you. You can find content writers on content sites such as Problogger.com or IWriter.
Traffic and ranking
Now it is time to rank your site and drive traffic there. There are various ways to do this and don’t be afraid to get creative. You may choose to go down the organic traffic route using SEO to organically rank for keywords in the niche.
There are plenty of free resources out there that can help you get started with SEO and help you target and optimize your content to help them rank in search engines. Alternatively you can find paid SEO providers to handle this for you.
If you don’t want to go down the organic traffic route, you can also use paid traffic instead. Facebook ads for example can be a great way to instantly drive traffic to your site. This can be quickly more effective, just be aware that this is not an evergreen traffic source and there are of course ongoing costs. While ranking is important, it is ultimately the leads you generate that is important.
Pitching a sale
How you pitch your sale is important. You want to compel your prospect to want to buy your website, not just sign up with you as a client. Conceptualize your sale by collating all your information and making sure you clearly communicate the value to your prospect. Make sure you find the unique selling point to make the sale a no-brainer.
You may want to break down the pricing of the website creation plus any ongoing SEO services individually, and show how by paying a lump sum they are saving money. Highlight how they will only need to gain X number of new clients to make back the initial investment and emphasize the potential ROI they can make.
Advice to sellers
- Choose your niche and location carefully to make sure you can both deliver on generating leads and find enough prospects to whom you could potentially sell your site.
- Buyers will usually want access to earnings and results so make sure these are trackable and that you can prove your concept before going for your pitch.
- If you have experience in a particular industry or already have contacts, this can help you identify prospects and make sales.
- Get creative and be open to modifying your strategy to work for you.
- When selling make sure you clearly communicate the value to your prospect so the sale is a no-brainer.
- You may want to sell your site through an online broker to find prospects and negotiate the best deal.
- Be aware that making a sale is not always an easy task and that it can take time to find the right prospect – are you willing to do this?
So if you have been considering building and selling a website to a local business, what are you waiting for? Local businesses will always need customers so this model to sell lead generation sites is evergreen. It can help you slow down on client work or simply help you gain some large cash injections upfront.
You can take this model and apply it to other site types as well. Use the principal to sell any site services and create a powerful, value-based offer to sell to your prospects. Although making one sale can be longer and more time consuming, it can also be more rewarding with a bigger payout. Are you ready to take on the challenge?