For the past several years, I’ve been doing an increasing amount of custom web design work. It seems there’s an insatiable appetite for custom design work. But there’s a problem. A big problem. And I’ve decided this needs to be addressed.
The problem is that everyone is approaching the internet the wrong way. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! Haha I’m laughing right now, because this stuff is so damn simple. But everyone is trying to make it really complicated.
Building a website and marketing yourself effectively on the interwebz is EASY. But if you buy into the line that your website needs to win some non-existant visual design award, then you’re in for a world of hurt. And allow me to be the first to admit…I’ve been part of the problem.
Here’s the Deal…
Bottom line…the goals small business owners have for their websites have changed dramatically over the past several years. We used to basically want an online brochure. Some basic info about our company. Oh yeah…and we wanted it to show up on the first page of Google.
Now, we want our websites to be interactive. We want to build email lists and generate sales. We want our websites to be an integral part of our MARKETING strategy. The website plays a completely different role in today’s small business marketing environment. Unfortunately, many of us still seem to be convinced that jaw-dropping graphic design is the path to internet riches. It isn’t. The truth is that simple, easy to navigate websites with a very clear message are the ones that win in today’s internet climate.
Guys…I’ve been testing this stuff for over 15 years. Simple works. Fooling around with finding the exact right color for your logo, moving that image 4 pixels to the right, importing that perfect font or getting a rockstar header design…it sure can be fun. But if you think it’s going to be what makes or breaks you on the interwebz, you got another thing coming.
What Works on the Internet
If what I’ve said so far resonates with you, you’re in the right place. Here’s a list of what to focus on if you want your small business web marketing strategy to work:
- Get a simple, easy to navigate design. Minimalism is key.
- Who is your ideal customer? What do you do better than anyone else to serve your ideal customer? These questions should be clearly answered within a few seconds of being on your website.
- Write a blog. I know…it’s a whole different approach to marketing. I’ve found the majority of small business owners who think blogging takes too much time are the same ones that happily drop big money on radio or newspaper advertising. Contact me at once for a spanking if you think radio ads offer a better ROI than blogging. The data is resoundingly on the side of blogging. And yes…it can be outsourced. There are a hundred ways to integrate blogging into your marketing strategy easily and effectively, many of which I’ll no doubt be sharing on this blog.
- Clear, compelling calls to action. If you want more people to sign up for your newsletter, ask yourself “why should they?” Give visitors a compelling reason to sign up. The most common, tried and true approach is by offering a bribe. Namely a free report or video…something of true value to them. This is a method marketers have been using as long as marketing has existed. It’s not a new idea. It’s a very old idea. And it works. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to get your first report put together. I’ve generated tens of thousands of leads this way, and so has every other marketer who uses this strategy well. Why reinvent the wheel?
I humbly submit this list for your consideration. Each and every one of the items on this list should be addressed before focusing on making your website pretty.
What I’m Changing
I’m no longer offering custom web design services to the general public. I work with clients in an ongoing capacity, providing assistance in tweaking and continually improving their marketing campaigns. I feel we’ve created some incredibly valuable services to help with this, and anyone who has a service agreement with us will continue to have my attention for any custom design work.
I know as a client in an ongoing capacity that my approach to marketing resonates with you. And I totally understand my approach is not a good fit for everyone. But the way I see it…if my approach to marketing doesn’t resonate with you, why the heck would you want my company to build your website? And if my approach to marketing DOES resonate with you, why heck aren’t you already a client?? 🙂
Don’t Get Me Wrong
Please don’t misunderstand me. A lot of times when I talk about this stuff, people think I don’t take design seriously. Actually, I take it VERY seriously. Your website should be beautiful. It should sing. And it should get you results. My focus is on providing you marketing strategies that WORK, not just stuff that will impress your friends.
I’ve had too many conversations with business owners who’ve spent way too much of their hard-earned cash on websites that look fantastic but fail to deliver results. They call me all confused. Their website looks awesome. Everyone they know tells them they love it, but it just sits there. It doesn’t generate any business. And then I have to explain to them that you can build a website for any reason you want. Some are built to impress people and others are built to generate business. It all comes down to priorities. What kind of website do you want? I build websites that convert. When it comes to the other kind, I’m retired.