website content

The #1 Problem with Your Website...

If your website is like many of the ones I visit on a regular basis, it needs an update.  Just today I was on a website that had so many different directions I got a headache reading it.  Far too often as entrepreneurs we try to cover EVERY possible target customer, but end up with no focus and no customers (I know because 5 years ago that was me). When was the last time your website made the sale for you?  If your answer... wasn’t today, yesterday or the day before, you have some changes to make.  In the past, just having a website was enough to set us apart from the competition, but not in today's competitive environment.  Today, not only do we have to speak to our customers, we have to get them to believe in us and our ability to solve their problems.

The majority of Internet users are online to find answers to questions or problems, just look at the number of searches on Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines.  Companies spend large amounts of money to have their website "return" at the top of a specific search, but if your prospective customer clicks to your site and finds a confusing site...you have lost them…and wasted a TON of money.  So what can you do to keep your prospective customers engaged in your site?

First, scan your site and look for any reference to “I” or “we.”  Any  information that focuses on you or your company has to go.  Then, replace it with information that helps the customer identify the problem that you can solve.  As your customer reads your website, you want the customer to agree with the statements and begin to establish you as the expert.  People buy from companies with whom they feel are experts in their field (which is why having a website catered to everyone never works).

In my next post, I will talk about the importance of your website layout and how it can have an impact on your marketing.

Marketing Secret #7 - The Customer/Advertiser Disconnect...in Plain English

You spent money to create a great website, run an ad in the industry magazine and you were on the radio, but how many customers did you get from those efforts?  More often than not, most business owners complain about the poor results of their advertising or marketing campaign. Why the poor results? Watch this....then continue below:

The problem with most advertising is that it is too general.  Everything from websites to magazine ads to radio advertisements are written and designed to appeal to a large crowd....not the select few who are customers.  What does your website say?  Is it truly focuced on the customer?  TEST YOUR SITE: go to your website and count the number of "we", "i" or me" variations you have on the website.

How many did you have?  If you have more than zero, you have too many!

Most of the advertising/marketing focuses on telling customers about us, but it should focus on solving the customer's problems.  People buy from us because we can solve a problem they have, not because we have been in business for 15 years for have a certain license, those are just confirming qualities.  Meaning, once the customers believe we can solve the problem, they want to verify we can do what we say (that is where the qualifications will be needed).

What does your marketing material say to your customers?

I'm Appalled...And You Should be Too

I'm about to piss off my web designer friends, but I owe it to you, dear reader, to share this...

In the last month I've met with three entrepreneurs that all killed their budding businesses the same dumb way--they spent all of their money on websites.
All three are in bootstrap mode, trying to get their businesses off the ground with a very small amount of cash. And they all fell prey to the notion that they need a "big company" website to be able to do business online.
In the worst case of the three, the entrepreneur spent nearly $20,000 on two different web design firms and had a clunky and crash prone site to show for it. And now, no money left to promote the business.
If You Have a Website, But No One Visits Does it Really Exist?
Answer: It doesn't matter. Nobody Cares.
The gigantic mistake made by these entrepreneurs was focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time in the startup process. A fancy, image filled website is not important at the beginning. Frankly, it may not ever be important. But it's certainly not the FIRST place to spend your precious capital.
The place to spend is on marketing and sales. You want to prove that a market actually exists for your product or service. Invest your capital on this first. If you have a strong offering, your market will overlook a less than perfect website.
But, if you're offering is weak or doesn't fit your target audience even the prettiest website won't deliver the critical CASH you need to reach launch velocity.
Your mantra should be "Good enough today, is better than perfect next week..."
We've worked with entrepreneurs to get websites launched in less than a week and for less than $1000 (often less than $500). That leaves most of their money to be spent on marketing to actually get people to the site (what a concept).
Once you have cash coming in from sales, you can improve the website, if you need to.
If you're a do it yourselfer...you'll want to want to check out our favorite tools for getting a good website up super-quick:
We use Wordpress to run every site we create. Every web hosting company worth using has a 1-click automatic installer for the Wordpress software so anyone can get it setup.
Then we use the Thesis theme for Wordpress. While the out-of-the-box design looks basic, it is easily and inexpensively customized. It handles all of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for you. And, when you're ready to juice up your site Wordpress and Thesis are the perfect foundation, so you won't have to scrap what you've done.
I'd love to hear your website creation story. What did you do...how did it work? Share you're experience with the Black Belt community...post a comment below.

In the last month I've met with three entrepreneurs that all killed their budding businesses the same dumb way--they spent all of their money on websites.

All three are in bootstrap mode, trying to get their businesses off the ground with a very small amount of cash. And they all fell prey to the notion that they need a "big company" website to be able to do business online.

In the worst case of the three, the entrepreneur spent nearly $20,000 on two different web design firms and had a clunky and crash prone site to show for it. And now, no money left to promote the business.

If You Have a Website, But No One Visits Does it Really Exist?

Answer: It doesn't matter. Nobody Cares.

The gigantic mistake made by these entrepreneurs was focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time in the startup process. A fancy, image filled website is not important at the beginning. Frankly, it may not ever be important. But it's certainly not the FIRST place to spend your precious capital.

The place to spend is on marketing and sales. You want to prove that a market actually exists for your product or service. Invest your capital on this first. If you have a strong offering, your market will overlook a less than perfect website.

But, if you're offering is weak or doesn't fit your target audience even the prettiest website won't deliver the critical CASH you need to reach launch velocity.

Your mantra should be "Good enough today, is better than perfect next week..."

We've worked with entrepreneurs to get websites launched in less than a week and for less than $1000 (often less than $500). That leaves most of their money to be spent on marketing to actually get people to the site (what a concept).

Once you have cash coming in from sales, you can improve the website, if you need to.

If you're a do it yourselfer...you'll want to want to check out our favorite tools for getting a good website up super-quick:

We use Wordpress to run every site we create. Every web hosting company worth using has a 1-click automatic installer for the Wordpress software so anyone can get it setup.

Then we use the Thesis theme for Wordpress. While the out-of-the-box design looks basic, it is easily and inexpensively customized. It handles all of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for you. And, when you're ready to juice up your site Wordpress and Thesis are the perfect foundation, so you won't have to scrap what you've done.

I'd love to hear your website creation story. What did you do...how did it work? Share you're experience with the Black Belt community...post a comment below.

Thesis Theme for WordPress:  Options Galore and a Helpful Support Community

Disclosure: The links to the Thesis theme are affiliate links, so if you click them and buy the theme, we'll make a small amount of money. I'm sharing this with you, because we want to be upfront with you. I also want you to know that we never recommend a product lightly. Frankly, our reputation and relationship with you is worth far more than any commission we might receive. We use Thesis to run this site, and know first hand how good it is AND how what great support you get from the creator Chris Pearson. And that's why we recommend it to you.

Is Your Website a Lead Generation Machine?

Which phrase best describes your website: 1. Lean Mean Marketing Machine, Delivering Leads to the Business 24/7 2. A Pretty Brochure that Potential Clients Visit to learn more about you. If you picked number 2, you have some work to do. Why? Because you have invested money in a website, probably thousands of dollars, and all it does is sit there. Shouldn’t you see a return on your investment? The old approach was to build a website, because everyone else had one. If you did not have a website, you were behind the times and nobody could find you. Right? Today, a website should be a source of potential clients for you.

Now that you know the difference, let’s talk about how to make your website work for you.

First, make sure the language on your site is talking to your potential customers. Most websites are focused on what the company does, the qualifications of their employees and how to submit a resume. Potential customers are looking for a solution to a problem, so make sure your website is what your potential clients want to read.

Next, have a way to capture warm leads. Give away a report, coupon, or other item your prospects would want to have. In turn, they have to give you contact info, such as their name and email address. Now, you have a way to keep your company in front of the prospect.

Finally, use your website to filter leads from other online sources. You can use pay per click, search engine optimization, article websites, referral sites and so on. The possibilities are endless for sites that can refer potential prospects to your site.

One last note, a website should be continuously updated. If you go for more than a few weeks without adding new content to your site, you are slacking.

First, let’s talk a little about why it is important to update your site. I know you are probably thinking, that is going to be a lot of work…since the first site was an undertaking. I am here to tell you it does not have to be painful to stay updated.

You want to keep your clients coming back to your site, especially is you sell via your website. Having old/stale content does not make anyone want to come back to visit. Also, it makes new visitors wonder about the company.

Second, the more you add good relevant content to your site, the better your search rankings will become. Sites that are published and just sit there are not going to rank well within search engines.

Now that you know two good reasons to update your site, what can you change?

1. Stories/Blog: Yes, you need to have good content that people want to read. AND I AM NOT talking about your latest internal promotion. Most of your content should be focused on what interests your clients. Don’t be afraid to branch out, away from your industry for noteworthy news topics. People read more than one section of the paper, so your news should be equally diverse.

2. Links to your site: Most people say to get higher in search rankings you have to have LOTS of links to your site. While some of that is true, the important part is you want HIGH traffic sites pointing to your site. So, if you are not on LinkedIn, sign up and put your website on your profile. I get at least 2-3 hits per day from LinkedIn on our website.

3. Old Information: I know this may seem obvious, but I cannot count the number of times I went to a site and read old information. The company did not provide the service anymore, the contact was no longer there, the address was incorrect and so on. Make sure all your pages, that means your home page and any sub-pages (check you website directory) must be current. Black Belt Marketing Secret: Have a lower paid, tech savvy employee make the changes. They will enjoy it and probably complete it faster.

4. Have a way for potential clients to opt-in to marketing. It could be a newsletter or free report, but give them a way to stay in touch.

5. PLASTER your phone number on each page. So many times I have to hunt for a phone number…it should not be that hard. Make it so easy for someone to contact you they don’t even have to think about it. (same goes for email).