I recently closed a billion-dollar client onto a massive contract for Wix, and we’re now set to deliver hundreds of websites over the first six months of 2020. Sounds incredible, right? Let me tell you the story of how I got here, and share with you some things I learned along the way.
Where I Started
Four years ago, when I first stumbled upon Wix, I could never have imagined how influential the platform would be in my life. I had just started a new role with a fast-growing group of independently branded opticians. The model for this acquisition and joint venture business was incredibly successful, but not without its challenges. The group had more than 40 locations, each with its own website, and new practices were being added every week (there were well over 100 locations by the time I left the group). This meant there was a tremendous amount of assets to manage and scale, and I was the only member of the digital team to handle the workload.
I was given a broad remit by the CEO to help the practices achieve digital success. At the time, they worked with a well-renowned agency that, in my opinion, did a poor job managing their websites. Their designs were based on the same template, and although they were customizable, anything more than a change in opening hours became a long and painful process.
After a while, I got so frustrated that I began to explore other options. At first, we tried to hire an in-house developer to build the websites on WordPress. Which was great...until it wasn't. As weeks passed and deadlines were missed, the limitations of templates and functions became evident. Shortly after, the developer we hired moved away without notice, leaving us in a bit of a predicament. It was at that moment that I decided to take full control.
Taking Back Control
I knew what I wanted to build, but I needed to learn how to do it without spending years mastering code. I started looking at web builders online, working my way through the search results until I came across three that I believed would be a fit. One of the platforms offered beautiful designs but was very limited in capabilities. The second platform offered high customization but made it challenging to navigate without advanced coding knowledge. Lastly, I tried Wix, which gave me precisely what I needed. The Wix platform’s drag and drop features and creative freedom allowed me to build the sites I needed to create, and more.
Despite the criticism from in-network professionals who claimed that Wix wasn't suitable for corporate business, we saw positive rankings and traffic increases after building and publishing the first couple of websites. From there, we shifted gears, bringing in an SEO expert and three other marketing professionals who had never made websites before. Together, we delivered 60 sites in just six weeks, one of our greatest achievements.
So, How Did We Do It?
To deliver so many sites in such a short timeframe, it was critical to have strong processes in place that could be applied at scale and quickly taught to new team members. Ultimately, it can be broken down into three steps.
Step 1: Creating a draft
We very quickly realized that it isn’t possible to use email to collect website content and business information when developing hundreds of websites at the same time. As a result, we created what we nicknamed a “practice profiler.” This is simply an online Wix form consisting of a list of questions regarding everything we need to know about the business—customer demographics, business goals, and team information, as well as domain providers and email accounts that we would need to recreate after the transition.
We also learned that trying to create hundreds of bespoke websites for similar businesses doesn’t work either. The quality of the websites was too variable and impossible to accurately proof, and the back-and-forth communication with practices that had no idea what they wanted was exhausting. It forced us to ask, why would we make it so hard for ourselves? In response, we built four initial templates, and had each practice choose their preferred template when filling out the profiler form.
This worked great for us, but the practices were underwhelmed. They felt their brands were individual, so how could a template portray that? The other issue we experienced was a lack of consideration as to the best-suited template. Some of the templates had social feeds or blogs prominent on the homepage, but the practice had content that was three years out of date. Others would regularly post to social and blog, but they chose a template that didn’t have those elements simply because they didn’t like the design.
This is when we decided to build smarter. We began building templates that were crafted around practice personality traits. The practice first told us the core focus of the site—for example, being a trusted part of the community or providing an outstanding level of clinical care. A website is just a digital billboard and the space is finite, so by first choosing what we wanted to prioritize and then asking the practice to choose what we named a “track”—a choice of the style of content that they plan to create (see below)—it gives the feeling of a bespoke journey. In reality, we have a series of outstanding templates that have been crafted to amplify the practice’s strengths, aligning to each potential choice. We followed this up with a media visit by a professional videographer. Then we populated the template with all of the profiler information, along with assets from multiple other sources. The result was a first draft website that feels completely bespoke for the practice, while saving us time and ensuring quality by standardizing the whole process.
Step 2: Feedback and optimization
Now that we have a first draft, we send it to the practice for review, with no expectation that it’s ready to go live. The practice then sends back changes, and at the same time our graphic designers and content writers review the website, improving the design and tone of voice to create consistency and remove errors.
This is also when our SEO and technical team go through the website, optimising it for search engines and setting up analytics and goals so that we can properly track the impact of the new website once it goes live.
Step 3: Final checks and go live
Once the practice is happy with their website, it goes through a formal multilayer review process. This is needed for two reasons. Firstly, with corporate clients, everything moves slower. There are many stakeholders who want to review the output before it goes out to the public domain. Their corporate goals might not have been properly prioritized since only the practice had input up to this stage. Secondly, since my team usually only works with medical or professional service businesses, we may not catch errors in clinical copy.
After this final review, the site goes live, with a follow-up process including tools like Hotjar to record the user journey so we can look for mistakes or points of frustration. Finally, the practice sends an email announcement to let their clients know that they have launched a new site.
The success or failure of this process depends on the communication. It’s important to make every stakeholder aware of what’s happening when and how so that the process is properly followed. It would be easy to communicate directly on the phone or over email if it’s only one practice. But things change when a client has over 5,000 team members in multiple countries. The only way to manage so many people inside of the process is to translate all of the complexities into simple terms and action points so everyone understands what to do and why they are doing it.
How I Got a Billion-Dollar Client
Over time, my team at the optical group grew exponentially. The work we did became best in class, and we delivered some exceptional results. As a result of this success, I was contacted by a friend who invited me to visit a business he was working with. This business quickly went from zero to more than 500 veterinary practices in just four years, with a valuation exceeding $1 billion, and no sign of slowing down.
Their rapid growth left them with many of the challenges I previously faced, challenges I knew I could help resolve. Three months after I joined the team, I closed the biggest single-client deal in Wix's history. My new team and I are well on the way to building hundreds of industry-leading websites. This is just the beginning of my new journey.
To get to this level, typical sales techniques won’t work. You need to network and build meaningful relationships with industry peers so that your name comes up as the person who can deliver digital transformation.
What to Consider When Speaking to Bigger Clients
The difference between a small business and a larger corporate client is the mindset of the individuals you are interacting with. For a small business, you are usually speaking to the owner, who is the ultimate decision maker. Their choice to use your services comes down to excitement and the hope that a new website will make their small business look more professional and acquire new customers from digital channels. Many will have started with an outdated website, and while they know a little about what they want, they are heavily reliant on your expertise to help them through the process. Small businesses need to trust that you are on their team.
Corporate clients are a very different game because there are far more stakeholders who have many objectives and are less emotionally driven. Rebuilding a portfolio of a few hundred medical websites requires a lot of input. The CMO will question if the Wix platform is really capable because of its small business reputation. The CIO will ask you complex questions about server hosting, GDPR, security, and compatibility. The investment board will ask you to model tangible numbers of impact around revenue to each site from the redevelopment. The CEO will want to understand the cost benefits and timelines, and more importantly, what could go wrong.
When explaining the benefits of what you are offering, I recommend including a “black hat” section focusing on risk mitigation. What if Wix is hacked? What if the sites drop in Google rankings? Could an employee delete the entire portfolio? How about when that business buys another 50 companies—does the model scale?
These questions could be what holds you back from closing that deal. Corporate clients are absolutely looking for reassurance that you can deliver, but more importantly, they need to know that if anything goes wrong, it won’t ripple through the wider business. So if you’re looking to land corporate clients, do your research and be prepared for many challenging questions.
It’s also important to remember that nobody buys into a service; they buy into a solution. The Apple iPod is an excellent example of this. Steve Jobs didn’t bring the iPod to market talking about its 5GB hard drive and innovative click wheel navigation. Apple simply said that the iPod will put “1000 songs into your pocket.” Keep this in mind when you’re talking to clients.
A small business owner may make a reasonable effort to understand the inner workings of what you actually do when building them a site. However, someone in a corporate C-level role has very defined responsibilities, and they don’t have time to understand the intricacies of your work. So you have to focus on their strategic goals and the projected impact. Nobody cares about your backlink strategy, the UI/UX terms you use, or your explanation of how the features of the Wix Editor are superior to rivals. What they care about is finding new areas of value that align with their strategic objectives, and most importantly, they need you to show them how it’s secure, scalable, and aligns with their overall business goals.
The biggest mistake you can make when talking to large corporate clients is to offer lots of half-baked features instead of fewer, exceptional ones. It's very tempting to open up your “digital arsenal” and talk about things like live chat or editing blogs from mobile. These are great features that will go well in a conversation, but at scale, adding live chat to a few hundred websites without detailed planning actually creates more issues than it solves. So be mindful of what you’re proposing to the client so that features don’t cause any delays or risks.
Wix has evolved from what it was four years ago. Products such as Corvid, Ascend, and the new Editor X have created unlimited design and business solutions that are no longer complex, costly, or time consuming. Wix doesn’t always get everything right, but the reason they have 170m users worldwide is that they listen to their customers. I believe this is why both users and members of this community remain loyal to the platform.
Wix is no longer just a reliable option for small businesses; it is a global contender for mammoth clients and six-figure deals. Why? Because of their market advantage in cost, time, and control over traditional corporate website providers.
My advice to the community is to think of Wix as a product that can deliver for larger clients, and charge substantial fees for the value you offer. Far too many people in our community discount their services because they’re building on Wix. The platform is irrelevant to the client—the important part is what you do with it. And if you create a strong enough value proposition, you can easily charge the same as you would on any other platform.
I truly believe that my application of Wix to large corporate clients who will sign six-figure deals is not unique to my abilities. It’s the inevitable future for our most ambitious designers within this community—those who are looking to remove the ceiling of where they can take their agencies.
My journey with Wix has not only been incredible, it's been life-changing. The Wix Partner community is where I was first introduced to the support, knowledge, and friendships that can come from community if you participate; so make sure you check it out and get involved.
This year, in addition to attending the Editor X launch in New York City, I'll be helping with the WixCon planning process. If you haven't attended WixCon, I highly encourage you to do so! For those of you who are participating, let's connect, share our experiences, and discuss how we can use Wix to achieve our goals together.
If anyone is interested in trying to land larger clients, you can contact me at email@example.com, and I’ll be happy to help however I can.