You’re in business. You’ve been in it long enough…no longer do you have to do quite so much sales and hustling.
While you’re a professional who knows what they are doing, the new world of business can often seem a little trickier to navigate.
Direct mail could work, but many report it doesn’t provide the return it once did. Cold calling is soul destroying, and it starts the business relationship in an awkward, and somewhat ‘pushy’, way.
Advertising is expensive and often ads are ignored as many filter them out when they are seeing so many messages online and across social media.
So, what’s working now?
The answer is your track record, your reputation in the industry, your network, and whatever form of marketing you’ve tried and tested. So, things are good, and perhaps you’re thinking “I don’t really need to get my hands dirty with all that social media nonsense. Why should I redo my website again? We had it done four years ago and it looks fine. I’m quite happy being a digital dinosaur!”
Can’t I just continue to ignore things?
Sure, coast along, but more and more savvy surfers are looking and comparing your site to others. Sure, you can continue to rely on the trusted best sources of new business – referrals, repeat business, heavy spend on Google Adwords – but within each of those there are risks…
Nowadays, people ask for referrals online. It’s a first-come-first-serve bun fight, and you can easily get lost in the mix. However, if you have a good relationship with a strategic partner, they can be very convincing, meaning a much higher chance of an intro.
But if people have received two or more recommendations for a service, comparison behaviour ensues. They check out the websites, they Google each option, they check out your profiles, and ultimately, they judge you.
I have seen people do this over and over again, and they choose the company they feel has the best website and track record. They go for whomever seems switched on, knowledgeable, and active.
Eventually your customers will make new contacts and relationships, and those businesses may be more prominent, more visible, and show their expertise more than you do. It’s risky to take these existing relationships for granted. If you lose some of them to competitors who are not letting themselves slide backwards, your business may not be in such a wonderful position anymore.
Those people who have businesses offering services like yours can easily look better than you, and will be able to get in front of your customers too.
Why? Because they have certain things in place:
- A website which is visually appealing, easy to navigate, written to attract your target audience, mobile friendly, and has clear messaging.
- Indicators of success online: well-written client case studies, reviews, testimonials, stats, and independently published articles.
- Activity that shows they’re in business and they want to be: their social media is updated frequently, you can see they are interacting and engaging with others, and they have an approachable tone of voice in the way they have written their website.
Many businesses have been using these for years. The reason it works is because of numbers. But as site visitors get more discerning, they will start to ignore these, or choose to do their own due diligence. Conversion rates also increase when you have landing pages in place that are relevant to what people originally searched for and this can take some significant planning.
Three Steps to Success
You can start by taking a good look at how you’re appearing online. Google yourself, your business, and the people who work for you, and check what’s coming up. Is it in line with who you are and what you stand for? Has it been recently updated? Do the updates make sense? Is your core message shining through? Does it inspire people to contact you? Make a few notes on what can be improved?
It’s better to clean up what’s already in place before you add any more enhancements.
The next thing to do is learn. A little or a lot – it’s up to you. There are some basic truths that you can read about in six minutes. If you own a business, it’s your responsibility to not let things slip away. Book a short 45 minute training session so you can see examples of this in action, and learn to recognise the good and the bad.
Unless you transform entirely into someone who takes this up as their speciality, the next thing you need to do is find the people and the resources to implement these changes. Make sure that they’re capable – hence the need for a little awareness – and hire/outsource to someone who takes on board your values, key messages, and the purpose of your business.