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Don’t get excited — the rest of that statement is, “by itself”. You absolutely MUST have a website if you have a business, any business, online or physical……we’ve all heard that for years.
And it’s true. In today’s world, how will people ever find you if you aren’t on the internet? Hardly anybody has a physical phone book at home any more. Nobody I know takes the local paper. Physically mailing out advertisements is expensive and they usually end up in the trash before being read…..along with all the other “junk” mail.
The younger generations don’t ever call anyone for information. They text, tweet, browse, etc. to find what they want online. If they can’t find you, they assume you don’t exist.
Fact: the attention span of today’s consumer is 8 seconds! The fast-paced online world we now live in has caused this. You used to have 20 minutes to capture someone’s interest in a newspaper, etc. But now, if you don’t attract them in 8 seconds…..POOF, they’re gone.
True story — the other day my friend asked for a recommendation for a new hairdresser. I told her my husband is very picky and he loves the one he’s been using here in town for the past year or so. So I got her name and told her where she was located. Now, I drive past this place almost every day, but I couldn’t tell you the name of the place.
So of course, we all go merrily online to find them. We knew where the shop was physically. We’re Googling for salons in our town (and this is a SMALL town) ….many come up on the map, but not that one.
Without the exact name, we could not find them anywhere online. Funny thing is, when we did have the name, they come up all over the place……yellow pages, yelp, Facebook, many many directories. But none of those directories came up when we searched for salons in a specific location.
Maybe if I went to pages further back in the search results, I MIGHT have found them eventually. But nobody does that….unfortunately. By the way, this business does not have its own dedicated website.
Get Your New Website Built
So you go out and find someone to build you the new website of your dreams. You want the most gorgeous website on the internet for your baby. Once it’s up, customers/clients will love it and flock to do business with you. “If you build it, they will come!” Right?
Right away, you start to realize there’s WAY MORE to a website than you knew. If they are worth their salt, the web designer starts asking you questions…..
- What does your ideal client avatar look like?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the “feel” you want your branding to convey?
- What are the different functionalities you want on your site?
- Which ESP do you use for your “list”?
- Which payment gateways do you use?
- Have you had a graphic designer create a branding board?
- Have you had all the powerful, converting web copy written, or do you need that done as well?
- I’ll need any media you intend to place on the site, or does that need to be created?
- You need to have all your social URLs to link to the site.
- Which ad networks are you approved for?
- You’ll need an Analytics account….
- And what the heck is SEO?
The list could go on for a while, depending on the specifics of your particular business or industry……
Your Website Is Built…..Now What?
So after agonizing over every tiny little detail, spending hours/days/weeks, getting it all JUST SO, the happy day arrives! Your site is live! And then…..
Where are all my new customers?
Where are all the new orders for my stuff?
Why don’t I see my site listed when I search online for businesses like mine?
So now you come to realize that just the fact that you have a website, does not mean it’s doing you any good at all. You’re probably thinking……”why did I have to spend all that time, energy and money on a website?”
The good news is, it was absolutely not a waste. It was just the first step….one piece of the puzzle that makes up your entire online marketing strategy. After all, that’s what you’re doing when you build a website for a business….you are marketing. A new website is without a doubt an IMPORTANT piece of the puzzle. It’s basically your base of operations.
Did You Forget About Marketing?
New business owners and entrepreneurs sometimes forget they must have an overall marketing strategy and plan in order to grow their business. There must be a line item in the operating budget for marketing activities.
So, now what do you do….what’s the next step?
Well, think of it this way…..your website is basically a billboard. If it was a billboard on a little back country road, nobody would see it, right?
You have to figure out ways to divert traffic off the interstate, down the country road, so they drive past your billboard.
The internet superhighway is the same way. There are millions of billboards (websites) out there, and you have to figure out how to be the one that causes viewers to take the off ramp that leads to your billboard.
Let’s Talk Traffic…..
Just like in the physical world, traffic is a HUGE factor in online business and marketing strategy. In fact, I’d say it is the #1 concern. If you can funnel enough traffic to your website, even if it is NOT beautiful, you will get customers. And this applies to absolutely any type of business in any industry.
Consumers don’t really care how pretty your site is….they want to know what you do or what you offer. What problem is it going to solve for them? How will it make them feel better? How will their life be better off? How is it of any value to them?
Valuable enough for them to call you, or pull out their wallets and order. Or to give you their email address to get more information. Or to go check out your blog or Facebook profile to see if they like what you stand for….
This is exactly what internet consumers do.
There are several ways to drive traffic to your website. Each one could be considered an art form in itself.
Direct Traffic is people who have obtained your web address, and type it in exactly to go there. They could get this from an advertisement, business card, from a friend, etc. They are not searching for you, but going directly to your site.
Organic Traffic: People who arrive at your site by typing in a search term and choosing your site when it comes up in the results.
Social Traffic is viewers who arrive at your site because they clicked a link on a social media platform that brought them there.
Referral Traffic comes from a link to your site that may have been posted on some other website.
Paid Traffic comes from ads you have paid to have placed online.
We will discuss in detail all these traffic sources and how to best utilize them in later posts.
Internet traffic is an entire industry unto itself. People make a living just helping businesses grow their traffic. But you really need them all to one degree or another to be successful.
Make sure to have a total marketing strategy that uses all forms of internet traffic to drive lots of potential customers to your website. Once there, they need to see that you offer something valuable and helpful for them specifically.
And remember, it’s a numbers game…..
You have to drive a TON of people by the billboard…..
Some of them will actually go to the store to “shop”……
And some of those will actually BUY……
So that’s why your pretty website is pretty useless…..by itself.