“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” - Steuart H. Britt
Yes folks, a lot of business today are winking at customers in the dark. No nice way of putting it and it’s about time you turn on the lights.
Yes, I know you have spent the cookie jar on the brand new super sexy website. I also know that you are spending money every single month on SEO, Social Media Marketing maybe even pay per click. You might have an AdSense account that’s crippling your credit card and still you’re not lining up to put a deposit on that Ferrari from the awesome profits of your business!
Well maybe, just maybe, you are getting the people to look at that super sexy website. Maybe you are also ranking well on the good old google search. Yes, that dark room maybe full of men and women ready to joyously receive that wink, but as the title goes…It’s time to turn on the lights.
I see it so often when I look at a business stats whilst they are offloading to me over good old skype, I hear the cry, “I’m getting traffic, why am I not getting sales”, or “why do people look at my website and quicker than you can say lost sale, they leave?”
Well maybe, just maybe, when they go to that super sexy website that’s all they see. Yes, it looks sensational, has all the latest flashy video sliders, awesome pictures of you, testimonials from super happy customers. But something must be missing, what would that be? Incentive.
Yes, a great website, Google rankings, PPC, Social Media Marketing even AdSense are all designed to do one thing. What is that you might say? Well, they are designed to send people to your website, once they have achieved that, their job is done. What’s the next job? Give the customer a reason to call you, to book, to make a reservation, to ask for a visit, take a test drive, give them an…Incentive.
With our websites, it’s easy we have a feature called InSite. It can be a pop up, it can be activated by time of day, device type, geo locations, all sorts of ways. It can be activated when somebody gets to your site first time, second time, or every time. What they will then see is an offer, an incentive, a discount, whatever you like. If the website is the hook? A super special awesome designed correctly programmed InSite will be the bait.
An InSite incentive is the light of your website, a special offer. Yes, that’s the wink to show them you’re interested. So, make it part of your advertising ideas each month. Look at special events you can link to promotions, think about what second time customers are looking for, think about the sort of discounts a first-time customer might want to see, think of announcements, news, anything. Just start turning on the lights of that website for all to see.
And who knows that first wink? Might end up with a date or even more!
If you are a motor mechanic and a customer walked in to ask for a tune and an oil change, would you offer them a seat on a nice cozy couch, make them a coffee, escort their family to send them into a service bay, work away with tender loving care for a few hours, present the keys back to the customer, say "Hey it's on us" and smile as they drove off?
I could ask the same question to a pub owner, a butcher, a baker, even a candlestick maker saying, "would you provide any service at all and just take a smile as payment?"
Okay, in between you saying to yourself, "Has TheCamel lost it, is he crazy?" Let me ask why. As in, why would you not do all that work for free?
Well, you have bills to pay, employees to consider, you must make a living as the old saying goes "Money doesn't buy happiness," well, let me say that your life would be miserable without money, fast.
The only problem? There is a lot going on in this world for free! FREE websites, FREE Software, FREE Social Media, FREE all sorts of things and people are clamoring for free stuff. This now leads us to the topic of this blog, "There is no such thing as a free lunch!"
Somewhere along the line, somebody must make money out of something, so they'd avoid the miserable category.
Free Website Builder? Of course, it's free but the hosting is not, and if you want the site to look great, we hope and pray that your technical ability is above left and right click of a mouse and also, beyond drag 'n drop. Then, if you need any of the sexy features, oops! Sorry, they are not free but seeing as you're halfway done might as well pay for those, too hard? Well, we can give you online help but that will cost you $X.
Free applications and software, wow great idea! You can really make the site shine now, but that is just the standard. You can't do anything free version with ads (as we need to pay for stuff you know). So hope you don't mind if your customers get the occasional pop-up video of Dolores Bath, House and Spa weekly specials. But, you need the app or software now you're in, so best to drag out the trusty Visa card.
All a bit much? Well, what about Facebook? Hey, you can make a free business web presence on that, no need at all for a website. You will even save yourself the hosting fees.
Great idea! But hang on, do you really think they will share with all your likes for free all those sexy posts about exclusive offers you're making? Be fair, they have multi-zillion on dollar salaries to pay, so sorry if you want all your customers to see what you're offering? That will cost you money each time and if they don't like your posts, sorry, that's all subject to the automated customer (read Robotic) service department of Facebook. So maybe you will have to adjust it to some zillion times to make it more of a picture than an offer, but hey, it's free!
Let's not also forget they are not just your customers, they belong to Facebook and they can also use the information to send competitor ads as well.
So, it's time folks, what's the point of all this today, am I anti-free stuff? No, I'm not. What I am trying to say is not all things for your business growth should be put in the FREE basket. The things that are super important, those first customer impressions - your website, those customer grabbing needs like SEO, booking services, etc. Maybe they are important enough to invest a little, to maybe look at experts to help you.
Then, your business can move towards the success path you want and deserve, and you can buy people lunch!
Elton John had a famous song, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”. Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the song about a romantic relationship which is falling apart. The song has a chorus that pretty much explains the heartache, “So sad, so sad, why can’t we just talk it over, sorry seems to be the hardest word”.
Oh, the tears are falling on my keyboard as I type those words.
Must be honest, I really disagree with Elton and Bernie, I really don’t think “Sorry” is the hardest word, I think NO is.
Think about it for a minute, if we said “NO” more often we would not have to say sorry, would we? Most relationships get into trouble as one or the other didn’t say NO to a mistake so ended up in a so sad, so sad SORRY conversation. Many people have lost their license as they didn’t say, “NO” to the last drink and end up so sad.
So sad your honor and I am truly “Sorry” for what I did as they get their license taken away.
You could look at most, “Sorry” conversations and it would be a good bet that if you or somebody else had said, “NO” there would not be a conversation and nobody would be getting into trouble or feeling sad sad situation.
So, what has this song got to do with websites and SEO and other business-related stuff? Well I’m glad you asked that question. Let me share my thoughts.
A lot of issues with non-performing websites those being ones that don’t convert lookers into buyers, and SEO work that does not convert to good rankings that allow people to find your website, both of which usually have a “Sorry” it’s not working conversation attached either with a designer or you with your customers or business partners could have been different if somebody said NO.
No to what, you might be asking? Well, in the case of the website, NO to way too much insignificant content, NO to lots of bells, whistles and moving objects that really have no impact, NO to a major focus on the desktop and not enough on the mobile. NO, to features and fixtures that have no focus on getting people to book and buy. NO to way too much reading and not enough clicking to action.
With SEO? NO to key words or phrases that will not narrow down the search to you, your business, where you are and what you sell or supply. NO to wanting to win a global search when you’re making hamburgers in downtown suburbia.
The good news? Unlike the song, the relationship can be fixed, a little bit of good SEO work, informative website design, will set the right music and have your business singing a love song to your customers and Google and then? No need for “Sorry”, you can move onto another song like “Happy Days are here again”.
I live in a fantastic city, it’s alive, it’s vibrant, shopping centers are busy, super market checkouts are long and the trolleys are full. I see more and more new cars on the road. It’s super exciting! A sign that all is doing well and prosperity is happening.
With all this success you start to see newer commercial buildings sprouting up to occupy the skyline and even old ones going through renovations. These commercial spaces need people to fill them and I imagine some people, young and old getting the old entrepreneurial juices running once they see a little spare cash in the bank account or maybe other family members have and they are the ones to take down the for-rent sign.
Yes, suddenly, these new cashed up wanna-be-successful business people get a flash in the head, fireworks start going off, a potential million-dollar idea is in process, dream of Porsches and Yachts stream through their brains as they tell the boss goodbye and start dumping that bank balance or a close family member on a deposit for one of those fresh new office lots or just renovated street front shop.
Yes, it all seemed like a good idea at the time.
I say good idea at the time for a reason. The reason is?
Well, I see all these new buildings and renovated ones having a lot of the for-lease signs being replaced with work in progress. I see a lot of new furniture, new clothing racks and people and stock arriving, but pretty soon I also see the removals’ coming, closing down sale signs falling and being replaced with “For Lease”.
You see, the problem is that 80% of those that get that overdose of entrepreneurial juice running? Fail and run out of money juice within the first 12 months of operating.
So, what are the major causes of failure?
Not Seeking Professional Advice
Lack of Good Customer Care
Lack of Experience
Lack of Personal Growth
Lack of Focus
Quitting Too Soon
So why am I writing about this today when I normally discuss websites, SEO and stuff like that. Well, we need the new business to be around, as we want to build websites, and do SEO work. I also know that a lot of other business need them to service as well so we can all help each other.
So, let me give you a little advice, something I have used to build a successful business that has grown but most importantly made it past that first one year and was not part of the 80%.
When you have one of those, “Seems Like a Good Idea” moments? Stop and listen to a great quote from Abraham Lincoln. A quote that I use every day to press the pause button when my mind starts to run faster than common sense.
When asked what he would do if he has six hours to cut down a tree? Abraham Lincoln replied, “I would spend four hours sharpening my axe”
So, folks, before committing your cash (or others) putting the deposit on a Porsche or a Yacht, grab the idea, a few sheets of paper and start thinking through a good business plan.
Spend a little time sharpening that axe before you attack the tree.