I am a web applications programmer and having created web applications for education, health and private investigations industries and seeing the value in doing this, I feel I am ready to start my own business. Previously I have done jobs as a freelancer, but in addition, I would now like to advertise my service as a business entity. My problem is this:
How do I market a service like web application development when a client doesn't know what web application development is? To a lot of people, a web app is a web site, or an Internet location. And should the service be in the business name? Any ideas would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
I would avoid the use of the terms web app and platform.
In non-technical situations I use the phrase "online tool". I build online tools.
Find some entrepreneur meet ups where you can practice pitching your services to non-technical founders looking for tech co-founders. That will help you refine your message and find out what your clients are looking for and understand about your type of offer.
"How do I market a service like web application development when a client doesn't know what web application development is?" - they don't have to understand what you do, you just have to understand how to deliver what they need and how to help them overcome their principal problem which is probably, "I have this great idea, now how do I get it built?"
And of course, don't forget you've already built some web apps as a freelancer, use those as examples and try and get some testimonials from the client.
Since you are not marketing a product but your services to build a product they need you have to put yourself in their shoes. They may want an internal program to help with their business, an e-commerce application, a contact database...
You have to think of the common business usage, and then think about that person. They may search for terms such as:
They might even be a little technical and heard of a few technologies before so they may search on:
Even though they may call what you do by the wrong name, these are the 'simple' ideas in their head. So you will have to make your marketing website with some of this type of language. Then after that show examples of programs you have created to reinforce that you can do what they are looking for. This would be showing a variety of things you can do to cover multiple situations.
I've tracked leads back from our website for people who searched for 'web designer' but needed a complex internal database. What they wanted it web based so 'web designer' is what they thought of... but I don't think you could Photoshop/HTML an online database ;)
You should always market yourself as a business. For complex applications it is comforting to buyers to know that there might be more than just a single person responsible for the success of their project. Plus down the road if you build up something that can be sold it's easier to sell "ACME Corporation" then it is to sell "AngusWebDevelopment.com"