Do you remember the early days of the Internet? 1995 or so? It was all pretty basic back then, and most businesses did not have a website.
The first website I created (well, someone else built it) was in early 1997. It was simple, probably four or five pages, promoting the coaching business my former husband and I had just launched in Canada. We were way ahead of the curve with that site.
Fast forward 18 years, and there are few businesses that do not have a website. In fact, according to Netcraft.com there are 177,296,984 active websites as of February 2015!
Most business owners, whether local or online, know they need a website now. But that’s not enough anymore.
Recently I went off on a bit of a rant in a small mastermind group with my business coach. I was feeling frustrated because I keep meeting business owners who feel that all they need online is a website. No blog. No social media.
They figure people will find their site in search results, and that will be enough for prospective customers to pull out their wallets and buy their thing or make an appointment for their service.Your buyers want a connection with you, so they feel good about making their investment. A website is not enough anymore!
Wrong! It might work a little bit, for a few people, but, for the most part, buyers are more discerning now. They want to see proof. They want to know you know what you’re talking about. They want to know they can trust you. They want a connection, so they feel good about making their investment. And if you don’t give that to them, they’ll get it from someone else. I guarantee it!
Selling via the Web has changed.
A static website with a few brochure-style pages doesn’t cut it anymore, yet I still see them when I roam around the Web or conduct audits for clients. At least 10 years ago, blogging was added to the mix and is now regarded as an essential feature for a successful business site. And yet, so many business owners still don’t have a blog and don’t want to deal with publishing blog posts.
What does a blog do for your business?
A blog helps you build credibility and authority in your niche. It helps create proof and trust, and demonstrates to the buyer that you know what you’re doing.
What about social media? Are you using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or Pinterest for your business? If not, you’re missing opportunities to create connection and trust and “seal the deal” with the people you want to serve.
Why am I harping on this? Because I talk to small business owners who tell me they don’t want to deal with a blog and they don’t want to bother with social media. They just want to set up a website and leave it at that. And honestly, it frustrates me. It’s not effective, and the business owner is not going to see the results they say they want.
Today’s consumer is far savvier than 20 years ago and does their research before clicking the buy button. Without trust borne out of a relationship, you may have trouble getting that prospective customer to type their credit card number into your online order form.
In many cases, the relationship starts on a social network. It’s like chatting at a party, getting to know one another. Then when you offer entertaining and educational content on your blog, your fans may be ready for a date and some one on one time at your site (home base). Once there, you demonstrate your expertise and help them solve their problems. Finally, you move them into a more intimate relationship (your email list) with permission to send offers for your products and services.
UPDATE #1: I want to highlight a comment that was posted on Google+ by Stephan Hovnanian. What he points out really is the bottom line…it’s all about the customer experience and giving them what they want.
UPDATE #2: Check out this White Board Video from Rand Fishkin at Moz.com for serious reinforcement of my points…
Yes, it takes work. Yes, it takes time. It’s called marketing, and it’s about creating a successful, thriving business.
Before you start though, you need a clear strategy for building your online presence, and then you need to implement tactics to make it work. Please don’t approach your online marketing by doing the equivalent of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if what sticks!
When I finished ranting to my coach, I realized it wasn’t about being frustrated by poor websites and lack of social savvy. It was about the passion inside me to show you the way, a way that is better than mediocre or incomplete, so you can be great and serve more people.
If you feel like I’m talking directly to you and felt uncomfortable with my comments, let’s talk. I want your business to be great!