If you’re like most business owners, your current web site is acting like a virtual brochure. A virtual brochure is like a paper brochure … only instead of paying for printing, you pay for hosting!
Most business owners would think you were crazy if you told them to take all of their brochures and lock them into a back room, with the instructions to the staff that the brochures were ONLY to be distributed to people who came in and asked for a brochure. That kind of arrangement kind of DEFEATS the purpose of a brochure! However, that is exactly the style of web site MANY business owners maintain and then wonder why their business web site isn’t doing more to create more business for their business!
Unfortunately, the most common “offenders” of having a “set it and forget it” style of “virtual brochure web site” are the very types of individuals for whom a virtual brochure is virtually worthless: those independent service professionals who are engaged in making a Major Sale!
Here’s an excerpt of an email to just such a business owner:
If you’re looking for a “set it and forget it” web solution… then don’t bother with the Acumen Web Services solution.
Right now, your current web site is acting like a virtual brochure. Everyone who goes there is someone YOU have sent there. You’ve done the leg work. You’ve passed out your business cards…. you’ve made the networking connections…. and your web site is acting like a virtual brochure in that it provides your contact information, an overview of what you do and the assurance that you are a “real” business to the few visitors that you have directed there.
In a sense, it’s a billboard erected alongside an isolated dead end road, and at the end of that road is your business. Almost all of the traffic on that road are cars you have personally sent down the road. Your web site is just a way to assure those travelers that they are indeed on the right road…. that your business does lie ahead. If that’s all you want your web site to do, then your web site is doing all it needs to do.
However, if you want your web site to do “more”…. you’ll need to create a different kind of web site. If you want your web site to act as an CLIENT ATTRACTION MAGNET…. as a way to attract interested passers by… as a way to begin building enough of a relationship with people that they will reach out and contact you… then you’re going to need to plan on investing some time building a blog. You’ll also need to invest time in creating a newsletter. (RSS feeds are nice, but 96% of web visitors don’t know how to use it so I strongly recommend clients make their blog content do double duty as a fodder for their traditional email newsletter!)
To build the kind of “trust” it takes to get people to take a chance and contact you… you need to develop a LOT of content. You’ll need to create a whole body of work so interested parties can tell by reading your entries whether you’re the type of professional they want to put to work for them. You can do that with your HTML web site, but it will take a lot more time and a lot more effort than it does with a blog.
Also, a blog will allow you to create other kinds of content such as audio and video clips which you can post to your blog. Those are even BETTER ways of connecting with potential clients!
Your Acumen Web Services blog will be search engine friendly… that means you’ll have to fight like hell to deal with all the spam you’ll get if you make the mistake of listing your email address “out in the open” on your blog. What that also means is that when you create a blog post with the right “keywords”…. those being words someone uses when they’re looking for the services you offer… that they will be more likely to see your site returned in those results. However, most importantly, your Acumen Web Services blog will allow you to make a “connection” with potential clients.
Last May I converted my HTML web site to a blog to promote my book, Beyond the Niche. I was AMAZED to start getting phone calls from people who had read my blog posts and wondered if perhaps, I could help them. Prior to my blog, new client contacts began with, “I’ve been talking with your client [name here] and he/she says you’re the best!” After my blog launch, I started getting, ” I was reading where you said….” Since converting my HTML web site to a blog, I have personally become my own best referral source!
Now, is maintaining a blog more WORK than maintaining my “set it and forget it web site”? YOU BET! However, I’ve never had a greater return on the investment of my time.
Are you frustrated that your web site isn’t doing more to create new business for your business? If you’re making a Major Sale… then you really need to invest your time and energy into creating ways to connect with your target customers. Your goal should be to demonstrate that you are worthy of that trust… and there’s no better way to do that than through your blog.