Whenever I talk with the owner of a business or professional practice who is struggling to attract more clients, they inevitably tell me that they are either in the process of planning out a new website, or working with someone to build a new website, or updating or completely overhauling their existing website, and I am frequently forced to point out that a website alone is very unlikely to fix your business problems.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast today co-host Chris Templeton and I will discuss why a website will probably not fix your business problems. Welcome back Chris.
Chris: Thank you David. Nice to be here. A lot of professionals seem to put so much stock that their website is going to grow and scale their business. What makes you think that it’s not going to solve their problems, David?
David: Well, a website is usually an extension or a visual representation of the business, so if you’re not making enough sales then your website is only going to continue or amplify whatever is happening. It becomes a reflection of what you’re doing off the website, which obviously already isn’t working. So simply adding that to a website is not likely to change things, but it seems to be the Go-To thing. Everybody always is talking about this website like it’s going to somehow revolutionize their business.
Chris: And so, are you saying that if you don’t have good sales that it’s more than just the website or is it only the website?
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David: No, the issue is definitely not limited to websites. In fact, it sort of goes back to what we talked about in a previous podcast about marketing vehicles that we used, and how some people put their entire faith in the marketing vehicle. In this case, the website, and completely forget about the fact that it's not just the delivery mechanism, i.e. the website, that matters. It's, you know, what's the messaging that's going on there? What am I trying to accomplish? Have I created this sort of greased chute that we've also talked about in previous podcasts? It's designed to attract people, pull them in, gather information, turn them from total strangers into prospects by giving me their information so that we can then have a conversation with them or interact with them and eventually turn them into clients. So people think that a website should automatically do that, but very often they're just not even built that way. They're not even designed that way. They're not well thought out, and they're certainly not designed to accomplish the kind of results that people often would like to get from a website.
Chris: When you think about a website and the mistakes that professionals make, what do you think are the biggest mistakes they make in terms of their online presence and their websites?
David: I think it starts with thinking that the website is going to be their entire solution. They think, okay, well once I have this website, everything's going to be wonderful. Now there are online businesses like Amazon, where the website is the business. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about, for most people who are in business, if you have a business or a professional practice and you're using a website; if you don't recognize that it's a tool. It's not a substitute for a sales team. It's not a substitute for a marketing department. It's a tool, like a business card or a brochure or a catalog or a vending machine. It's a tool and many websites are designed like that. Some are designed to be like a business card, or a brochure where it just provides information. Some are designed to be like a catalog where there's just tons of information and data that people can access. Some are designed to be a vending machine where somebody can come to it and they can order something and they can have it shipped to them or if it's digital they can digitally download it and they can place their order online and it happens like that. So there are situations like that where the website plays a more important role, but once again it has to be designed like that; and most businesses that I've had these conversations with are generally not website-centric. They are in a lot of cases, brick and mortar businesses or they're brick and mortar and they have an online presence and they want to utilize the website to be able to enhance that online presence, but they haven't really figured out how to do it. It's a little like building a house without having a blueprint first.
Chris: And having a real clear understanding of where that website sits in the sales process too, wouldn't you say?
David: Yeah, and the website itself may be symptomatic of the problem, but it's probably not the problem. In other words, there's something before the website that isn't working and if you don't identify what that is, then the website itself is not going to be likely to fix it. Another mistake, you'd asked about mistakes, and this one I think is a big one. Is in a lot of cases, business owners will trust a total stranger, very often a designer or a web developer to know their business and to be able to explain their business better than they do; and that is very rarely, if ever, a winning scenario because that's not their job. You hire somebody whose job it is to make words look pretty, and then you delegate to them the task of explaining your business better than you can do it, and that just doesn't work.
Chris: Which is a really, really great point and I think you're right, it is an unrealistic expectation for a business owner to think that a web designer is going to be the person that can explain your business better. But what's the solution to that? Like how do I help a web designer or developer to be able to portray my business in the way that I want it? Is it consulting from a sales and marketing standpoint? What do you see as a solution for that?
David: Well, if you're going to have somebody design a website for you, I believe you need to provide them with the majority of the content, whatever that content is, you need to be able to deliver it to them because if you're expecting them to come up with it, it's just not going to work. So if you're not clear on your messaging, you're not going to know what to put there in the first place. Many people want to delegate that rather than figuring it out for themselves and you are always far better off figuring it out for yourself. What do you want to have happen when people come to the website? And a lot of times designers won't ask you that. They'll ask you about the colors you want to use, they’ll ask you about your logo, they’ll ask you about white space, or they'll tell you about white space. And those things are not going to be the deciding factors when it comes to generating revenue on your website. It's just not going to happen. You can have an ugly website with good content that will outperform a beautiful website with little to no good content every single time.
Chris: And you know, in terms of where things are going with search engines and that sort of thing. One of the things that we're seeing over and over again is the importance of current content. That it's not something that's just static, that there's blog posts and that sort of thing. Talk a little bit about what else they can do once they've got good content to create more of it on a regular basis.
David: Okay. Well a couple of good points right there. One is that a designer or a web developer actually can be very helpful in that regard. Once you've got the good content, there are people who will be able to help you to get it in front of the people that you need to reach. And if you're doing a lot of it yourself, if you have a WordPress blog or something like that, you know, you can certainly do things with meta tags where you're adding in keywords and you're adding in a sentence or two that describe the primary benefit of the page so that when people go on a search engine, they're going to be more likely to find it. So there are people who can be helpful to you in that regard, but it all has to start with you. Until and unless you've got a crystal clear idea of what you need to communicate to your market, there is not a web designer in the world that's going to be able to help you.
Chris: And it really does go back to things like features and benefits and understanding from the client's standpoint what's going to move them, isn't it?
David: Yeah. And figuring out what are the problems they have. Because if you're relying on any sort of organic search, chances are people are going to be typing in a problem they're having. They're not likely to be typing in the product or service that you offer. That would be too easy, right? They're going to be talking about some sort of problem. So you need to make sure that your content ties into that. And then they read your content and they recognize that you understand the problem and then they say, “Okay, this person understands my problem and is able to express it better than I can. Maybe they also have the solution.” And that's when they're going to initiate a dialogue with you.
Chris: And again, I think the other thing that's so important to be talking about in regards to the website is what its role is in your sales process. You know, I had a guy that said to me, a website now is like the modern day version of driving by a business in the old days. And being able to say, okay, so maybe part of it's credibility, but what other parts of the sales process does this help? And then of course, then the other question is what's before and what's after that? That memorable first contact. However that came about from our last podcast. How does that fit into the website?
David: Right. A lot of moving parts.
Chris: A lot of moving parts! I guess the thing that I want to go back to also, David, is just this idea that yes, a business owner can do all of this on their own, but really you bring a lot of the foundation and the structure for a business to work in and really figure those things out, right?
David: Well, yeah. When we work with our clients, that's a lot of what we do is we help them to determine: "How can I express what it is that I need to do in a way that's going to be compelling?" So if they have the type of content that they need to be able to put onto a website so that it will actually attract the kind of clients they want to have. It's not enough to just put up content that attracts people. You want the right people, you want people who are going to be interested and willing and able to spend money with you. That's exactly the type of client you want to have and when you create content that is tuned in to that market and uses language that is attractive to those people, that's what's going to get you the results.
Chris: So, I guess my point is simply to say this, you said earlier, you know, you've really got to figure this out on your own. And I'm saying, no call David. Let them help you through the process. Because having that structure and those guidelines in place that you bring to a business is going to make a really big difference, especially if you're struggling with it or struggling with this idea of, I don't know how to present myself.
David: One of the reasons that we offer free strategy sessions for people is so that we can have that type of conversation and we can determine is there something that we can help with? And if there is, we'll tell you that. And if there's not, we'll tell you that too. But I can tell you that every single strategy session we've had, and again, these are free. We haven't charged for these things. Every single strategy session we've had, the person who has come onto the call has walked away from that call feeling better and having more information than they did when they came in. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact of whether or not they end up buying something from us. That doesn't matter. The whole idea is that when we engage in one of these conversations, you're going to walk away from that with value in terms of ideas and strategies that you can implement in your business right away.
Chris: And that is huge. I mean, I just know that somebody who's really struggling with this whole idea, having that conversation is going to move you from, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to figure this all out?” to, “Oh, I could do this and I can do this and I can do that.”
David: That's exactly right.
Chris: Okay. Let's wrap up and talk about the action steps that our listeners should take instead of just relying on a website to fix all their problems, David.
3 Action Steps
- Identify the real problems and bottlenecks in your business.
- Focus your best efforts on finding solutions to those problems. It's far better to invest in solutions before building existing problems into your technology.
- After you have a business model that works create a website designed to move prospects through your proven process.
David: Okay. Well, I'd start with identifying the real problem in your business. What is it? Are you having trouble attracting clients? Are you having trouble converting clients? What exactly is it that is the bottleneck? In most businesses it's something related to bringing in business and you don't want to delegate this to a designer or a web developer. It's not their job to know that sort of thing. That's your job or your marketing manager or your sales manager's job, and if no one in your organization knows it, schedule a call. We'll at least talk through it and see what we can help figure out for you. Second, focus your best efforts on finding solutions to the problem. You're far better off creating processes and procedures that will get your business to work better than to just put a bunch of money into a website for a struggling business, because you're just taking stuff that isn't working in the real world and you're digitizing it. So that's just not going to work. And then the third thing is, after you have a business model that works, once that's in place and it's running like clockwork, then develop a website that's designed to move prospects through a process that actually works!
Chris: Makes so much sense. And I'm convinced that not enough businesses do that. And number two, that they do think that a web designer is going to be the answer to their problems and articulate their business, and that's not the way to do it. Okay, let's talk about what's coming up on our next podcast, sir.
David: Okay, Chris, in our next podcast we will discuss the Catch 22 of Inaction.
Chris: Excellent! Hey David, thank you so much. Be sure and visit topsecrets.com to find out how David and his team can help you in your business. See you next time. Thanks, David.
David: Thank you, Chris.
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