And for many small business owners, and side hustlers, a website is considered THE marketing tool. The foundation of just about every other kind of attention getting, business grabbing, success striving marketing effort out there.
It’s something that every business owner sees, and often has an emotional connection to. And they usually want to improve it anyway.
That all makes it low hanging fruit for anyone with some basic skills and a “Hammer”!
The Hammer-Nail Marketing Thing
I talked about this idea at length here You are Not Outsourcing Your Marketing, but the basics are pretty obvious.
To a Hammer, everything looks like a Nail.
In other words, if you’re a business owner and want to grow your business, the marketing people/companies/consultants you approach – MOST of them anyway – have a specialty.
They have something they’re great at. Focused on. Built a business around.
That specialty, in this case webdev or website devlopment, is the Hammer.
You are the Nail.
Let’s say that another way
Imagine you are a homeowner up North and it’s the dead of winter – and you just can’t get your house warm enough for comfort. Not enough HEAT!
Your goal is for you and your family to get warm as soon as possible, so you make the obvious call…
The HVAC guy you call to check on your heater comes and evaluates your heating unit.
Yes, it’s a little old. The new ones are much more efficient, so you’ll save on energy bills anyway. You should replace it.
So you do. And it DOES get warmer!
But your windows have been open the whole time.
Website Builders are Just Like that HVAC Guy
Or at least a pretty big percentage of them are.
Most of the time when a business owner decides on a new website, what they really want is MORE BUSINESS. Or a BETTER IMAGE – something they can be proud of that reflects how they see their company.
So they can get MORE BUSINESS.
A business owner is the guy in the previous example that wants their house to be WARM.
That guy didn’t want a new heater.
He wasn’t looking for energy savings.
He wasn’t concerned with how special the new units are, how fast one could be installed or what it looked like when it was done.
That was the problem with the new Website idea
That guy with the cold house decided the problem was the heater. Because that was the most obvious thing he could think of. The one he was familiar with. The one that all of his neighbors told him to check with a [I’ve got a great HVAC guy].
He didn’t think about windows, insulation, notice the hole in his roof.
And would have gotten a much different, and BETTER result by looking for the answer to:
“How do I keep my house warm?”
Just like a business owner will get different and better results by looking for the answer to: “How do I grow my business?” rather than picking up the phone and calling a website development company – or a marketing company that really ONLY does websites.
Marketing and Web Development
Truth: I’ve never turned around a small business, increased revenues or helped them improve their image and reputation without a pretty big website component.
But it’s always part of what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s part of the Solution.
It’s not the Heater.
Your business is not a Nail.
Because in the end, you need more sales and more profits.
And you’ll do that first by getting more people’s attention. Then doing things like giving them value, information or help they need, talking to them in their own language and encouraging them to make the decision – to do business with YOU.
A website is an important part of almost any marketing effort. But it’s by no means the only part!
And you shouldn’t decide that’s what you need, or all you need, BEFORE you think it all through. Talk to a pro.
Find someone that will notice your windows are open. Or learn enough to notice that yourself.
ATTN: Small Business Owner – How to Tell You’re the Nail
Right now, you are probably not qualified to pick the most potentially successful marketing method for your business.
Just like you’re probably not qualified to fix your Heater, build your own house or diagnose your own illness.
But unlike Engineering and Medicine and General Contracting, you can learn enough about Marketing and its impact on your business to make some better decisions.
- Create your own simple marketing plan.
- Learn about the ways to get found online for FREE.
- Read enough to understand the basics of how SEO and SEM work.
- Explore social media marketing through just a few articles and videos.
- Take a hard look at investing in pay per click advertising – when you know how much a customer is worth.
- Study YOUR BUSINESS by objectively looking at what you offer, who’s buying it and who’s not.
Then when you decide to have a new website built you know what you’re asking for, why you’re asking for it and how it fits into your potential success.
Quick ways to know you’re talking to a Hammer and Not a Marketing Pro
#1: They ask YOU to write the content for the website
That makes sense, right? You know the business and they don’t after all.
But there’s a lot that goes into crafting good web content.
Writing so Google loves you and finds you (seo).
Being convincing so readers believe you and your product are the best.
Using images or videos that your potential customers can relate to.
YOU probably can’t do that yet – but a real marketing pro can.
#2: They don’t ask about things like:
What do you want people that visit your website to DO?
- Visit your business
- Call you
- Fill out a form
- Schedule an appointment
- Buy something now
If the answer is visit your business, does your website emphasize walk in traffic?
If it’s Call You – Are you ready for the phone calls and to convert them into your next step?
When they fill out that form on your website, where does the information go? Are there automatic follow up emails to make sure you get your message across?
Scheduling an appointment? Are your internal systems grabbing that appointment and putting it on YOUR calendar. Are there reminders for the customer to show up and your staff to be ready?
Is there a nice shiny BUY NOW button with a call to action that motivates people to push it?
#3: They are just waiting for you to tell them what you WANT
A Marketing pro or someone that takes an interest in your business, as opposed to someone just holding that Hammer high, knows what needs to be done.
You should have the final say on your website, of course. But you also don’t want to make decisions that hurt the performance without knowing the consequences.
You want someone that knows the best practices and why they’re best practices.
Someone that takes the time to find out how your business works, what you want to have happen and helps make that a reality.
Shocking Reminder: Your Website may not even be the Problem
Just keep an open mind when you start working on your marketing plan.
Realize that the website may not even be the answer to whatever your business growth issues are at all. It may be the Heater in your house.
If you could double your business in 90 days without a new website would you do it?
Of course, you would.
Would you buy a new heater if there were better ways to keep your house warm?
No, you probably would not.
So before you pick up the phone to volunteer to be a Nail for website guy, consider the following OTHER things that might better serve your business growth:
- An email marketing strategy
- Pay per click advertising
- Better sales copy on your site and sales materials
- CRM for better sales follow up
- Have you heard of Google My Business?
- Customer reviews
- Social media marketing/presence
- Faster phone answering times
- Better customer service training
- Improved follow up after the sale
In Conclusion – Don’t be a Nail!
If you want to learn more about Marketing for your small business, you can read more here, do your own research or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t tell yet, I love helping small businesses grow!