Don't Waste Time Getting a Website
Starting a business can be intimidating.
Knowing what to do and what direction to go can be the source of sleepless nights and countless headaches. One piece of advice seems to always come up soon after you’re officially open for business.
“Get your website up and running.”
This is typical, and don’t get me wrong, you definitely need a website, but not just yet. At this point, you have the drive, the excitement, and the passion to succeed in business. Don’t waste it on endlessly tweaking a website!
Believe it or not, I learned this concept in action from two brothers at a no-name startup pest control company out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I observed the following as they were getting the ball rolling on their new venture. They set up a free website on a simple site builder that presented the words, “We’ll get rid of your bugs and rodents, call us at this number.”
That was it.
Can’t get more straight-forward than that, right?
For an industry that largely relies on customers calling in when they have pest problems, this simple (and ugly) website was all they had. The website took a grand total of 14 minutes to complete, then they sat back and waited for the leads to roll in.
They immediately set out to create their own demand. This is key. They literally spent every waking hour that summer walking from door-to-door, talking to people about what their new company could do for homeowners (at a steep discount to start). By the end of the summer, they had hundreds of recurring customers that they had won over.
Action is King
There are a few “wisdom nuggets” that we can take from these two brothers and apply them to our attempt to build an online business. The first thing is taking massive action. A website is not massive action. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s passive action.
Massive action includes active selling. Sitting behind the screen of your laptop all day probably isn’t getting the results you’re hoping for. Cold calling and emailing may be your go-to, but let me suggest getting out locally and using your vocal chords a bit. In today’s online marketing climate, most business owners aren’t keen to work with an individual unless they actually talk in person or at minimum, over the telephone. This isn’t always the case, but the chances of closing a sale go up with more interactions on a human level.
Look at it this way. You just started a business, what is the one thing that will keep your business running? REVENUE. In other words, sales. You need to change your mindset from that of a marketer to a salesman. A stone-cold confident salesman that sells his or her product because they know that’s the only way they’ll get paid. This is your situation.
Now flip the coin. How does building and endlessly tweaking your website helping you get sales? Unless you’re solely an ecommerce venture, there’s a hundred things you could be doing to get sales besides building your dream site.
Here’s What to Do
If you insist on building a website, do what the bug guys did. Set your phone timer for one hour and see how simple and concise you can make it before the timer rings. Make up your mind that you’ll be 100% done in an hour. You’ll be surprised what you come up with when you have a limited timeframe with which to work.
“I Optimize Your Site so your Phones Ring off the Hook.”
“I Make Your Email Campaigns 240% more Effective.”
“Your PPC Needs Some ‘Dan Magic’ to Outperform your Competitors.”
“I Build Freaking Awesome White Hat Backlinks that will Improve your Traffic and Rankings.”
When you have unlimited time to create something, you often lose focus on your core offering. It becomes a game of creating effects and choosing cool pictures instead of the nuts and bolts of what you actually do. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B in an automobile, the seat warmers and radio aren’t going to help much. Get an engine and four tires before you’re tempted to upgrade. Digital marketers are often going for a Ferrari before they even have a bicycle. Dream big, but don’t let that distract you from what’s important NOW.
I’m not talking about LinkedIn when I tell you to network. I can only speak for the USA, but virtually every major city has several business meetups scheduled on a weekly or monthly basis. You’re a business owner too- there’s no excuse to miss out on these opportunities to connect with your target audience. The people who attend these meetings are actively looking for business connections! Create a special offering for those who attend, like offering a site for free when they sign up for 6 months of SEO services. Not to mention, referral partners can be a great source of long-term growth as well. If you’re using this tactic, it becomes a numbers game in that most will not give you many referrals, so get a dozen to start and you might see some consistent leads coming in as a whole. Don’t forget to do your part and be on the lookout for leads for them as well. If you’re first to give a referral, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate.
If you’re going to be on your computer, you might as well be working toward your next sale. Make a list of niches you’re comfortable with and the companies in the area that need your services. Look in niche business directories for listings that either don’t have a website or that don’t pull up in Google. Chances are, they’ll listen if you frame it right.
Here’s an email pitch that I heard over 5 years ago and still works pretty well today:
Hey (Real Name),
I realize sending a cold email is a lame way to get a hold of you, but I’ll get straight to it-
Your company looks like it’s doing well, but I can help you get even more sales through my ________ system. I made a quick video explaining how my process can help you take it to the next level.
Let me know if you’d like to see it and I’ll shoot it over!
PS. Congrats on the new baby!
This is especially effective if you’re looking to start in your local market. People are much more likely to take you seriously if you mention you’ve seen their “plumbing trucks driving around”, for example, or better yet, that you’ve actually used their services.
Sniper, Not Shotgun
The days of “spray and pray” cold emails are coming to a close. This isn’t to say that you can’t close someone using this method, but business owners receive lots of emails that end up in the spam folder, and sending a “to whom it may concern” email is a quick way to accomplish just that.
It takes time, but finding out a few key details about the business owner can make all the difference in the world. LinkedIn is actually a good medium through which to prospect in this way, mainly because when you export your contacts, it pulls up a personal email address rather than a catch-all “info@business” address.
A website will eventually be a cornerstone of your business, no one is trying to dissuade you of that. However, getting customers before you have a nice site will validate your business idea before you spend the time and resources to build a site. Endless tweaking of your site does little to bring in new customers, only massive action will accomplish that.