Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 29, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with someone about some of the things I did. I told him that one of my careers was being an internet marketing consultant for small businesses. He of course asked me what I meant, and I told him.
At that point he said “I have a website, but I’ve never done anything with it, and it hasn’t done anything for me.”
I said “Well, if you haven’t done anything with it, what were you expecting it do for you?”
He said “I don’t know; I thought I’d have people calling me for business, but it’s never happened.”
This is very common in business across the board, but especially for small businesses. I do okay with my main business website, and I’ve at least gotten some work through my SEO, though I’m working on things, as I talked about in my posts on my update (which, by the way, I hope you saw my last comment on, which mention that things may have gone better than I’d thought). I asked him if we could take a look at his website, and since we were in a place with internet access, we did.
I looked at his site, then I asked him what he did, though I knew what he did. He said “I offer business solutions for people and help them solve their efficiency issues.”
I said “No, that’s a result of what you do. What do you do?”
He thought about it for a moment, then told me exactly what he did. I asked him where that was on his main page, and he looked; nowhere. I asked him where he did his business, and where was it on the site; nowhere. We pulled up my main business site for comparison; with some stuff hidden, since I’m not in advertising mode for that business today, I showed him my first line: “XXXXX, is a health care revenue cycle and management consulting company based in Syracuse, NY.”
Right from the beginning, you know my business name, which, of course, is in the top logo. One should always put it into their content on their main site because search engines can’t read images. You know exactly what I do if you’re in my industry and are looking at the site; if you’re not in health care this means nothing to you, but at least you know. And you know where I’m based, which many businesses omit. Sometimes it’s contained on the contact page, which you know I hate; I’m going to have to write an article on that one of these days.
We looked at a couple more pages, and he was starting to get the picture. I told him this was a free consultation, but to mention it to friends and other business owners if he got something out of it. After all, I need to get the word spread on what I do for local businesses.
The thing is, this can be perceived as just SEO stuff to help someone’s search position on the internet. Sure, it’s a part of that, but in reality, this is a business concept. If you don’t tell people what you do, then they won’t know. If people have to drag it out of you, then things may never get to that point, and they’ll never know if they could have used your services. This happens at networking meetings, and it happens with websites.
It’s probably the reason why I hate most sales pages I see online. Sometimes you read what could be 5 to 10 pages of sales stuff, and never get to just what the product is for. Sometimes you only have a few words, and you either get a video that usually says nothing or you’re being asked for your name and email address so you can receive some report.
Once again, not selling (as proven by no link here), but on the site with my website marketing book, I first ask the probing questions (which is also a good way to handle advertising; find the pain), show the product, then tell exactly what it is. After that, I use some testimonials and the like, but I get to the point immediately. If that doesn’t intrigue people, then nothing else I saw is going to be seen; if it does, then the rest may help to enhance the sale.
Take another look at your website, if you have a business site other than your blog, and see if you’re really telling people what you do, and how soon. Who knows, it could help increase your business overall.