Your Web Site to Grow Your Business
A snowplow operator in a New Jersey suburb was hailed by a woman
asking him to plow her driveway so she could get out. Wading through
less than a foot of fluffy snow to her SUV, he asked her why she
didn't put it into four wheel drive and simply back out. Her puzzled
answer was, Four wheel drive, what's that?
A web site is just a means to and end, like a car it will get you
where you want to go only if you know how to use it. Too often independent
professionals and small business owners spend their hard earned
cash on a web site and get little return on their investment.
* What is the purpose of your marketing?
* What is the purpose of your web site?
* What do you want your web site to do?
The first step to creating or improving your web site is to clarify
the role it should play in your business and its marketing. If you
are like most independent professionals and small business owners
you can benefit from constructing your web site on the basis of
the following four objectives.
1. ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF YOUR TARGET
This may seem obvious, yet most small business web sites don't
do this. Instead of leading with content that will attract prospects
they focus on information about themselves. Typically they are boring
to others than their creators.
Too often web sites focus on the firm's services, products, processes
and credentials. These sites are a turnoff to prospects and can
keep you from earning money. If your web site shouldn't feature
your firm, what should be the primary content?
To get prospects attention, whether with your web site or
with your other marketing materials, feature content that interests
them. Your clients and future customers are always looking for solutions.
For example, if you're a lawyer, your site could focus on legal
tips and strategies which your target market can use. If you're
a graphic designer, include ideas on using design to improve communications;
if you're a computer systems expert, give your site visitors tips
on keeping their computers from crashing. A writer could include
a tutorial on writing, with examples of copy makeovers of web pages,
press releases or brochures.
* What is the content you could use on your web site that your
target market is searching for?
2. BUILD CREDIBILITY
Just because you have a web site, have impressive credentials,
a client list of Fortune 500 companies and even know what you are
doing, isn't necessarily going to convince prospects you can help
them. To help prospects trust you, you need to find ways to demonstrate
your expertise and qualifications.
Chances are you have many satisfied clients. Ask them for comments
on how you helped them and feature their testimonials on your site.
Comments from others are perceived as having much greater credibility
than the descriptions you write about your own products and services.
Write articles and distribute them widely to demonstrate your knowledge.
Tell personal stories or describe actual situations to showcase
your ability to solve problems.
* What can you do differently on your web site to build credibility?
3. GENERATE LEADS
One of the most important roles a web site plays for service professionals
and small business owners is to help generate leads. When people
come to your web site and are interested in the problems you solve,
you want to have as many of them as possible contact you.
You want your web site to help you identify people not ready to
buy and people ready to make a purchase.
* Is your web site attracting as many new prospects and clients
as you'd like?
* How many leads per week does your web site generate?
* Does your web site motivate people to give you their contact information?
* Does your web site prompt people to tell you what they need and
want and to contact you?
* What do you need to do on your web site to increase the number
of leads it provides on a weekly or monthly basis?
4. SELL YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The goal of your web site is to help you make money. If you sell
services or products, make it easy for prospects to find them and
include comprehensive information about each and the benefits or
using them. Consider showing a list of products and services in
a side navigation bar on every page of your web site.
You'll want individual sell pages for each product or service.
One way to grab prospects attention on these pages is to lead
with one or two questions clarifying what prospects want. Follow
these with testimonial quotes, and visitors will be more likely
to read the rest of the copy describing your products and services.
* When you provide information on your products and services,
do you first create the context, i.e. clarify the problem it solves?
* Is your site effective in convincing prospects you have the product
or service they want?
* Is your site helping you sell more of your products and services
Whether you are trying to get an SUV unstuck or grow your business
with your web site, if you know how to use it, you can get where
you want to go.
2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals
and small business owners attract more clients and increase their
earnings with the 5 Principles of Highly Effective Marketing. Sign
up to receive the Free Marketing Guide and the 'More Business' newsletter,
full of practical tips you can use at http://www.charliecook.net
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