Finding Low-Hanging Fruit When Prospecting For WordPress Clients

WordPress Marketing - Low Hanging FruitIf you’ve ever picked fruit from a tree, then you will definitely understand the “Low Hanging Fruit” title, but just in case you haven’t let me explain.

When you pick apples, pears, and other fruit that grows on trees, you either pick the fruit that is at the lowest point because it’s easy, or you drag a ladder out to the tree and get to the fruit that is higher up on the tree.

Is that fruit any better? Normally not – it’s just harder to get to.

So, pass up the easy fruit and work harder to get the fruit that is higher up?

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“Word smarter, not harder!”

I recently published an article here on WPMU about discovering what version your WordPress website was running without logging in. In that article, I noted that you could also use it for learning what other WordPress websites are running as well.

I use that Firefox and Chrome add-on so that when I see a notation of an out of date WordPress installation I know that’s a potential client. I don’t even have to work to find those prospects – I just have to do what I do naturally – work on the internet.

How Can I Actively Seek Out WordPress Websites

If you work with local businesses like I do – also known as Offline – then simply perform a Google search for your city name and wp-content. The returned results might just surprise you – I know they did the first time I did it. These are all websites in your city that are running WordPress and have not done anything to hide the wp-content folder. A quick search of Knoxville, Tennessee and wp-content yields the following results:
WordPress Knoxville TN wp-content - Google Search
Once you get those search results, visit each of them using a browser that has the Firefox or Chrome add-on active to see if they are running an outdated version of WordPress.

Why Am I Searching For Outdated WordPress Installations

That’s where the “log hanging fruit” concept comes in. If someone is running WordPress on an outdated version it can mean one of several things:

  1. They are trying to do it themselves
  2. They hired someone to build it, but they didn’t hire someone to keep it updated
  3. They hired someone to keep it up to date, but they’re not doing their job
  4. They just don’t care – their website is up and they’re good

The first three categories are potential clients (the fourth is not), but category #2 and #3 are your best clients – the low hanging fruit.

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Can I Find Out More Information About Their Website?

Absolutely! When you are at their website, simply hit ‹CTRL› and ‹U› to see the underlying code for their webpage. Look for any line that contains wp-content/themes/ and see what theme they are using. Once you have the theme name, pop that into a Google search. If you get some results for places like Theme Forest. wooThemes, StudioPress – or even the WordPress Repository – then you can figure that this was an inexpensive website for them. Of course, they could have paid a lot and got minimal customization.

If we click the link for Garland Properties in the search above, we learn that it is the Lighthouse theme. In another tab perform a search for “WordPress themes Lighthouse” and you will get several results including a FREE theme and a Theme Forest theme.
wordpress themes lighthouse - Google Search
I suspected that it was a Theme Forest theme, so I clicked on that choice and I was correct. It’s a $45 theme from Theme Forest.

If you notice the 4th and 5th items in the search – they are a post on someone’s website about themes. Many times, I’ll visit those first to see if I find the them that someone is using and that would have been my next step if my initial thought proved wrong.

You can even repeat your Google search with /wp-content/themes/themename (without a city) and see who else is using that theme. Or, include the city to see which of their competitors are using that very same theme.

WordPress Themes - Low Hanging Fruit This is really good information because then you can see what else can be done with that theme or maybe even talk to them about creating a customized theme.

But, if you can’t find any additional information about the theme and you can’t find anyone else using the theme, then there’s a good possibility that it is a custom theme developed just for them. If that’s the case, then since they’ve spent good money on their website, then they’d probably like to keep it updated and secure.

If they have a custom theme, but their WordPress installation is out of date, then they are your real “low hanging fruit” and a client you should work a little to get.

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BONUS: Want To Really Open Their Eyes?

Easy WordPress Marketing - Low Hanging Fruit - BonusCheck their WordPress security by trying to figure out their login ID – you don’t even need their password.

In a new browser tab, type http://theirdomain.com/wp-admin and see if the login screen loads. If you’ve already identified them as a potential client, then chances are it will. Then type in “Admin” for the login and any combination of letters, numbers, or whatever in the password field.

If the login screen returns with a message telling you the password is invalid, then you know their login ID is admin. If it tells you “User not found” then you can try some additional possibilities such as the website name, the owner’s name, and anything else that is obvious on the website. Try a dozen or so possibilities – but only the easy ones. Remember, we’re after low hanging fruit.

If you an discover their login ID, then that’s just an additional item you can show them that is opening their website up to crackers. Each piece of information that you can accumulate will help you build a case for why they should hire you to update their website, secure their website, and pay you to maintain it each month.

Play Hard, Work Lazy

WordPress Marketing - Low Hanging FruitIf you’ll notice, everything I mentioned here can be done without breaking a sweat. I prefer to work very lazy rather than hard. If I can prospect and find the easy ones, then I can potentially pick up clients very easily. Honestly, I don’t want to just do their updates and security, but once I’ve sold them on those services, then I can continue to upsell them on more services.

Consider this, is it easier to get a new client or to sell an existing client something new? Of course, it’s easier to sell an existing client because we don’t have to go through the “get to know you” phase of the prospecting visit. And yet, people continue to try to accumulate more and more new clients.

I’d rather have 50 or 100 clients that I’m working on multiple areas with than have 1,000 clients that I’m only working on one area with. If you remember when Facebook moved to the Timeline format for businesses, a lot of people that had focused 100% on custom tabs for Facebook were wondering how they were going to survive. And many didn’t.

I didn’t blink – although I did hate to lose that segment of my business. It’s still a part of my business, but a very small part. I had so many other services that I was offering and I’ve added others, that I found myself unaffected.

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So, use these very simple methods to locate that “low hanging fruit” and fill your basket with the harvest that is available to anyone willing to look for it. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. It just takes a little bit of effort. It’s not “push button simple”, but it’s not an insurmountable task either.

How do you prospect for new clients? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Of course, there’s a dozen more ways that I use, but these are my “easy” ways. I look forward to your methods.

Photo credits
Michael Bentley via photo pin cc
Katy McGrady via photo pin cc
UvaFragola via photo pin cc
Daquella manera via photo pin cc

Comments (19)

    • Thanks for sharing that Adewale.

      When I wrote the first article I referenced, someone suggested using http://www.whatismywordpressversion.com/ to discover what version of WordPress a website is using. For that one, I found it difficult to use compared to my little trick of just letting my browser show me. With that website, you HAVE to either copy and paste the domain or type the domain into the search box – and you better use the http:// in front of it or it will not give you any results.

      The one that you shared doesn’t require the http:// in front of the URL – so that makes it a little more user friendly. But, I still have to either copy and paste OR I have to type the domain. I will do that if I have to, but as I said, this is all about “lazy marketing” so I’m looking for the easiest way. I’ll work harder if I have to, but not just because it can be done harder. ;)

      Once again, thanks for reading the article and posting your comment. It is greatly appreciated.

        • Even funnier Amy, is that their website is showing as running on WordPress v2.7. BTW, did you read their FAQ on their website? Apparently, their system determines your WordPress version by searching for certain files that are associated with certain versions of WordPress. Not exactly a precise method in my opinion.

    • Thanks for the comment Matthew. I appreciate you taking the time to read this article.

      This is so true in a lot of ways. But, there are ways to hide much of this and I’ll be addressing some of those in an upcoming article here on wpmu.org. Some very simple things can be done to combat every trick I’ve outlined here. That’s why I call this “lazy marketing”. If someone has done something to keep me from seeing these simple things, then they are smart enough to think they don’t need my help, so I’m not willing to work that hard to get them – unless it’s someone that I REALLY, REALLY want as a client.

  1. Interesting article James. Really loved the “low hanging fruit” scenario.

    I’m particularly interested in the WordPress themes.
    Are Themes Forest, WooThemes, etc. not good to use?
    What are the best ones to use?
    Is Thesis Theme good?
    Is there a list or recommendations anywhere?
    Thanks.

    • Thanks Leonie.

      There are lots of good themes available. I’m personally a huge fan of the Genesis framework from StudioPress. I use a lot of their child themes and then modify them to suit my or my client’s needs.

      I’ve also used themes from ThemeForest in some cases. There are some really good themes on ThemeForest, but there are many more that look good, but are poorly documented. I’ve been fortunate that the ones I’ve purchased were well documented.

      A good friend of mine uses the PageLines theme framework. I’ve looked at it on her installs and it looks really simple to use, but I’ve never actually used it myself.

      Thesis has a lot of good qualities and I’ve dug into some websites that use Thesis, but I’ve never designed anything with Thesis. It’s well structured like Genesis, but I find Genesis much better for my needs.

      I’ve “toyed” with WooThemes, but never actually used them in a working environment. They definitely look very nice when you visit website built with them.

      Another set of themes to look at is Elegant Themes – they really impress people when you show them what can be done with WordPress although I have never used them on a client’s website.

      And one more place is TroBaz. They have lots of great looking themes in their store. My daughter is getting married in a few weeks and they have an outstanding wedding theme that you wouldn’t guess was a WordPress theme. Disclosure: I personally know the owner of this website through a private Facebook group that collaborates on coding projects, but I make nothing for recommending his website to you.

      These are but a sampling of the many reputable sellers of quality and well documented WordPress Themes that can be found.

      But, by all means, DO NOT use any FREE themes that are NOT in the WordPress repository. I’ve checked several of them out and found malicious code embedded in them. This can potentially be a dangerous situation for your client and an embarrassing situation for you if you use it on a client’s website. To learn more about this very subject, review an article published here on wpmu.org almost two years ago that still applies. Be sure to read the follow-up that tells where you can find FREE WordPress Themes.

  2. I loved this post, it was a real eye opener for me and sooo simple! I’ve been developing WordPress sites for several years now and to have a system like this that I can put into place to keep my funnel full is awesome. Thanks James

    • Thanks for the comments Steve and I hope this can be one way that you can keep your funnel full. It’s good to be busy today, but if you don’t have anything waiting in the wings, I find myself much slower to complete the task at hand because I’ll be “unemployed” once I do. I know that’s crazy, but having things coming up makes me much more efficient and productive.

    • Thanks for commenting here – it really improves the community when people comment and a conversation takes place.

      I have found WordPress installations that are NOT in the default directory using this same method – so I don’t think installing it in anything other than the default directory is enough to keep “lazy snoopers” like me from finding them. There are other things that you can do, but just installing in a different directory is not enough.

      Regardless, I do appreciate you bringing this up so that others may comment as well.

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