Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wait- why do you have a website?

Your website serves two functions:
  1. At a minimum, as a "brochure", it provides necessary and sufficient credibility. 

  2. At best, it is a valuable marketing tool.
Everyone in business today should have a website and an email address attached to the domain name.   Add an "about" page and other basic information, and you have an online brochure that will tell people who've met you in some other forum that, yup, your firm is a "real" business.  This is not difficult to do, depending on the level of design you choose and whether you want to learn wordpress yourself or outsource.  In today's world, whether you think it makes sense or not, a website is the equivalent of a business card.

As a marketing tool, your website attracts people who need your services.   Prospects, researching their problems and questions online, find your site.  Once there, they want valuable, actionable information.  They want to easily find what they want; they want to get it with no strings attached.   Finally, websites that serve a marketing role engage those prospects and help move them from being researchers to being buyers of your services.

I've come across a few folks who've just thrown a page up, their business is growing, they're busy, they leave the page up.  They apologize when they point you to their site. Not OK.  Without going into a lot of detail- a bad website is worse than no website, but just barely.  It's your business, the site represents you.  Even when the purpose of a site is solely to reassure someone who already loves you, please ensure it doesn't detract from your reputation.

On the other hand- what if your website were responsible for 30% of your new business?  Paying clients.  As you think about your marketing strategy for 2012, consider what role your website might play.  There are different considerations across practice areas and target clients, but make sure you're open to the possibilities.  The cost of acquisition might warrant an increase in your investment in your website.  Tomorrow's clients could be researching the problems that you solve right now.

So what?  As you head into a new year, planning your marketing investments and priorities,  answer the question:  why do you have a website?  Make sure your website serves its purpose.

Disclaimer:  I'm not a marketing guru.  My position is always that there are rocket scientists out there who offer terrific resources on most every topic I coach.   I'm about the rocket science of  action, using those expert resources.  Sometimes, however, I find it helpful to share something that sounds as if I'm positioning myself as a guru.   Au contraire, mon amie!  (if I were, I might feel compelled to get into the website vs. G+/facebook/linkedin/etc. conversation, but heck no!)