USING YOUR WEB SITE TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
By Charlie Cook
A snowplow operator in a New Jersey suburb was hailed by a
woman asking him to plow her driveway so she could get out.
Wading through less than a foot of fluffy snow to her SUV,
he asked her why she didn't put it into four wheel drive
and simply back out. Her puzzled answer was, "Four wheel
drive, what's that?"
A web site is just a means to and end, like a car it will
get you where you want to go only if you know how to use
it. Too often independent professionals and small
business owners spend their hard earned cash on a web
site and get little return on their investment.
- What is the purpose of your marketing?
- What is the purpose of your web site?
- What do you want your web site to do?
The first step to creating or improving your web site is
to clarify the role it should play in your business and
its marketing. If you are like most independent
professionals and small business owners you can benefit
from constructing your web site on the basis of the
following four objectives.
1. ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF YOUR TARGET MARKET
This may seem obvious, yet most small business web sites
don't do this. Instead of leading with content that will
attract prospects they focus on information about
themselves. Typically they are boring to others than
Too often web sites focus on the firm's services,
products, processes and credentials. These sites are a
turnoff to prospects and can keep you from earning money.
If your web site shouldn't feature your firm, what
should be the primary content?
To get prospectsÕ attention, whether with your web site
or with your other marketing materials, feature content
that interests them. Your clients and future customers
are always looking for solutions.
For example, if you're a lawyer, your site could focus
on legal tips and strategies which your target market
can use. If you're a graphic designer, include ideas
on using design to improve communications; if you're
a computer systems expert, give your site visitors
tips on keeping their computers from crashing. A writer
could include a tutorial on writing, with examples of
copy makeovers of web pages, press releases or
- What is the content you could use on your web site
that your target market is searching for?
2. BUILD CREDIBILITY
Just because you have a web site, have impressive
credentials, a client list of Fortune 500 companies
and even know what you are doing, isn't necessarily
going to convince prospects you can help them. To
help prospects trust you, you need to find ways to
demonstrate your expertise and qualifications.
Chances are you have many satisfied clients. Ask
them for comments on how you helped them and feature
their testimonials on your site. Comments from others
are perceived as having much greater credibility than
the descriptions you write about your own products
Write articles and distribute them widely to
demonstrate your knowledge. Tell personal stories or
describe actual situations to showcase your ability
to solve problems.
- What can you do differently on your web site to
3. GENERATE LEADS
One of the most important roles a web site plays for
service professionals and small business owners is to
help generate leads. When people come to your web
site and are interested in the problems you solve,
you want to have as many of them as possible contact
You want your web site to help you identify people not
ready to buy and people ready to make a purchase.
- Is your web site attracting as many new prospects and
clients as you'd like?
- How many leads per week does your web site generate?
- Does your web site motivate people to give you their
- Does your web site prompt people to tell you what
they need and want and to contact you?
- What do you need to do on your web site to increase
the number of leads it provides on a weekly or monthly
4. SELL YOUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The goal of your web site is to help you make money.
If you sell services or products, make it easy for
prospects to find them and include comprehensive
information about each and the benefits or using them.
Consider showing a list of products and services in a
side navigation bar on every page of your web site.
You'll want individual sell pages for each product or
service. One way to grab prospectsÕ attention on these
pages is to lead with one or two questions clarifying
what prospects want. Follow these with testimonial
quotes, and visitors will be more likely to read the
rest of the copy describing your products and services.
- When you provide information on your products and
services, do you first create the context, i.e.
clarify the problem it solves?
- Is your site effective in convincing prospects you
have the product or service they want?
- Is your site helping you sell more of your products
and services each month?
Whether you are trying to get an SUV unstuck or grow
your business with your web site, if you know how to
use it, you can get where you want to go.
2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps
independent professionals and small business owners
attract more clients and increase their earnings
with the 5 Principles of Highly Effective Marketing.
Sign up to receive the Free Marketing Guide and the
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you can use at http://www.charliecook.net