This is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation (Used with permission).
CS: Thanks for calling us.
Prospect: Sure. Yes I, actually was kind-of asking around some people to see who builds websites, kind-of some referrals and a friend of mine, Jim is his, lets see here, I think it's his brother-in-law, anyways, he used you for his web design.
Prospect: I thought, hey I'll just reach out to you guys and give you a call. I'm the General Manager here, the business we're in is its for the braces industry, for the steel industry. Sand blasting, shop painting, parts, things of that nature for the steel industry. This business has been around for eighteen years and the web site that is active now is really outdated and really doesn't work at all.
One of my jobs now is obviously to get a good website up and going and so I'm trying to weigh some options out. One is doing it myself using SquareSpace or something like that just a template type program and putting something simple together, I mean it is the steel industry, it doesn't need to be all...we want it to be functional, something people can go to but it's not a flashy industry.
Then the other options obviously is to talk to someone like you and get you guys to do something for us. Obviously I wanted to talk to you about costs, you know just things like that, so if we elect to go do with something with you guys, is it something as simple that I can go in and make changes to the website or do I have to call you and pay you guys to do it?
We don't want people to purchase things off the web site. It's just "hey, this is who we are, this is what we provide" pictures of machines, descriptions, things of that nature. What are your thoughts?
CS: Yes, so two thoughts come to mind. One is, one thing that might be helpful is if I kind-of give you our overview of a site we actually just launched this site a couple of days ago, I don't think they're a competitor at all, but they're in the oil and gas industry and it might be related enough to give you an idea of what something what we might do be like. While I'm talking, if you're in front of a computer with a browser, why don't you type in www.pipelineequipment.com
Prospect: Okay, here we go. I think I was actually on this. I think I launched it right off your web site.
CS: Yes, probably so, yes. In fact it's so new we don't even have new screen shots of this, we have screen shots of the old site on there that we did six or seven years ago. That company is oil and gas industry fabricator. They have an industrial coating business, they have an extrusion business, they have a machine shop, so they have a fairly decent sized operation out there.
When you said things like pictures of machines and that type of stuff, you know Pipeline Equipment is a good example of, we do almost everything that we do for them, which means we do trade show booths, brochures, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, photography
Oh wow, you guys do all that?
CS: Video production, web site, search engine optimization, social media, we do almost everything that we do for them. It's a decent example in this case.
To address a couple of the specific things that you brought up. One is if you do elect to go with us, you would have a content management system or a back end tool that would allow you to go in and make changes on your own without having to call us or pay us or wait on us or anything along those lines. You would be able to go in and do those day to day things that you might want to do on the web site yourself. It's very easy to use.
If you've ever used SquareSpace or WordPress or any of those things, our content management system has a lot of similarities to that. It’s built for people who are not designers or programmers to be able to go in and maintain their own site in a way that's easy and efficient.
Having said that, I'll also be completely up front and honest with you, if you're choosing between SquareSpace and a company like us and cost is one of the primary motivating factors, SquareSpace is going to be a whole lot cheaper.
Prospect: It's going to be really cheap.
CS: Yes, right, right. The question then just becomes, SquareSpace is a piece of the puzzle, it would allow you to go in and get a web site that admittedly would be a step above what you have now, because like you said, what you have now is outdated and some of the buttons don't work and all that.
Prospect: It's really embarrassing actually.
CS: Right, yes, so it would be a step above that. What we specialize in, just so you know so you can make that decision is, we specialize in custom web development, that's search engine friendly, easy to manage, and responsive which basically just means that if you come to the web site on a big, nice computer screen, it's going to be a big, nice web site. If you go to it on a phone, it's going to be optimized for the phone without having to have...back four or five years ago, you actually had to have two separate sites, a mobile site and a desktop site. Now a responsive site just means the site automatically, in fact if you have your phone, you could type in www.pipelineequipment.com on your phone and see the difference, but it automatically adjusts for whatever screen. Whether it's a desktop, a tablet like an iPad or Microsoft Surface, or a phone.
That's a bigger piece, and even beyond that, even though you said you're not going to have people buy things off of there or you don't want it to be overly flashy, getting people to your site and helping them find that and being visible in search engines, if you want to do that well and actually come up in the search engine, its something where you do need some ongoing effort in making sure it continues to be optimized for search engines and that's where a company like ours comes in handy.
Prospect: Okay, all right. Part of the other task I was interested to hear you say, I mean I need to go in and redo some new brochures, I'm just trying to do a lot of things like that on my own. I really personally don't have a lot of experience with. I can do something that gets us there for now, but later on it might be something like brochures and more professional things that you guys might be right up the ally for all of that.
CS: On that Pipeline Equipment site, if you click the little tab that comes down in the bottom left that says 'PEI Resources', if you click that there are PDF versions of a lot of the print work that we did for them. They basically have a kind-of a corporate brochure that's a overview of the whole company that's a pocket folder. Then they have several four or eight page brochures for each of their divisions or products that are all, from a design standpoint, they all consistent with each other, they're consistent with the web site.
When they go to a meeting, they can take their pocket folder and then whatever that company is interested in, they take the little shorter four or eight page brochures that are relevant and stick them in one of the pockets. They can put a proposal in one of the other pockets, put a business card in it. They've got some pretty nice stuff.
Prospect: I see, okay. Very nice, yes, I'm sitting here looking through this. This is really cool. Okay, all right. Well so, tell me how does the cost structure layout on this deal. I mean is it, how does that work if I said, okay, I want you to build me a web site, what are we looking at?
CS: Yes. I'll kind-of give you the high, medium and low and give you a sense of how we fit.
If you called ten people like Creative State and got proposals from them, I'll just tell you, we're going to be right in the middle of the pack. There are some companies that might be a freelancer or a one man show who is going to be really low and we don't try to compete with that pricing. There are also companies that have a minimum. Unless you have a $50,000 budget, or whatever their minimum is, they're not going to talk to you. We're not that either. We've done plenty of big projects, but we don't have a minimum.
If you kind-of come back to the middle and say, what's an average project with us. Most of our projects are somewhere between (call for pricing)
From an average standpoint, where somebody says look, we just need a nice custom web site, it needs to be easy to manage, needs to come up in the search engines, maybe we need a four page brochure, a tri-fold brochure or whatever, most of our projects are somewhere in that range. Some are lower, some are higher, but that's an average.
I always like to give people that so they can make a quick judgement of, are we even in the same ballpark and if we are, then I can put together a plan in writing specifically for your situation if you could tell me okay, in a perfect world we'd want a web site and a brochure and an updated business card or whatever would be for you, then I can put together a plan that's specific for what you guys need and want.
Prospect: Okay, all right.
CS: Where does that, from a first just snap reaction to that from a budget standpoint, is that something that makes you want to run for the hills or is that something that you think might be reasonable?
Prospect: Yes, I think it might be reasonable. I have to present this up, I'm the General Manager and of course I'm answering to the President and all them at the company here. I've really never priced a web site so it doesn't surprise me, you know the cost and it might surprise them. No, I think it might be doable.
I'll present it to them and see what they think, but again you know, you guys do a lot more than just the web site. There's the brochures and everything else that can go with that. It's kind-of a multi-purpose tool here for us.
CS: That's our goal. I tell people if they haven't already read it on our site somewhere, the guy that was our first customer fifteen years ago, and I started the business almost sixteen years ago, is still a customer. Our goal is to come in and help you as things grow and change in your business and if you get a new piece of equipment or you do something new that you think is worthy of people to know about, we can help you get that word out whether it's doing a video of it, or coming and taking some pictures or helping you create a brochure of press release, whatever, you know we want to be a partner.
Prospect: Okay. If we said, okay we want to do this and start next week whatever, how long from start to finish do you normally look at. I mean, I don't need the Pipeline, that's nice, but I don't know if I'm going to need all that.
Prospect: To get a web site up and going so that way at least I can start directing my customers to a web site, how long do you think?
CS: The stock answer to that question is if we work on averages, usually the average is somewhere between thirty days on the low end and ninety days on the high end. The difference between that most of the time has more to do with you than it does with us. We work with some companies, law firms are notoriously slow, and so if you take thirty days to approve a design, then it's going to take longer. If we work together closely and you guys give us quick input and quick approvals on things along the way, then it can go quicker.
Another thing that might be, especially with the fact that some of your buttons aren't even working on here, something that might make sense for you guys is for us to do a quick, kind-of temporary landing page type thing that looks nice and modern and maybe has a brief overview and a little photo gallery or something that is not a full web site but you can put up and say we've got something new coming in the next couple of months and that might be better than what you have right now.
Prospect: Absolutely, okay. All right 918-585-9311 right?
CS: Yes, extension 221.
Prospect: Extension 221. Okay. Well, let me get running on this. Let me get working on this with them and I will give you a call back. I appreciate you calling me and your time.
CS: I appreciate you reaching out to us and we'd love to help if it makes sense and after you get a sense from them just give me a call back and maybe we can make something happen.
Prospect: Yes sir, thank you, appreciate it.
CS: Appreciate it, yes, thanks, bye, bye.
Prospect: Thanks, bye, bye.