Practical small business advice: Forget the Internet
By Jeffrey Dobkin
Why struggle, spending time and money – and more time and money – and trying like hell to get onto the first page in web searches? Ain’t happening. What is there – a dozen slots on the first page? And how many people in your industry vying for them? You can stop counting at 75,000. Let them spend the tons of money and time on getting top ranking (unless you have tons of money – then gimme a call and we’ll talk!)
Really. With a small budget, why kid yourself? Use your company name as your URL (web address), open your site with a few words about your product and services – and use your company name a few more times. Then go back to the real world and make money like you used to, and stop worrying about the web, Google updates, and SEO stuff and how it isn’t happening for you. Stop whining, honestly – you have more complaints than a baby with a heat rash. And stop wasting so much time and effort online.
With a small but clever site, people who search for you will find your address and phone number right away. People searching for your business will find you in Yelp, yellowpages, and any of the multiples of shitty review sites that will describe your business by name and location and give you good reviews if you pay them – like The Better Business Bureau.
As long as you have your company name a big phone number on your front page, you’ll provide an easy way for potential customers and clients to call you – which is all you wanted in the first place, isn’t it? Really.
No, you don’t need a great website. What jerk told you that you did?
Sure, lots of people live on the Internet. Geeks. Computer nerds. The skinny geeky, computer nerd kid in school you wouldn’t let sit at your lunch table who now drives a Bugatti Veyron. Large companies who have the time and personnel. And… some of your buddies who hope to one day make a lot of money, somehow.
And you? You’ve spent thousands of hours and… and…nothing. Nada. No money – or not enough to live on and keep your cat well fed at the same time.
Is the web a viable way to earn a living? Sure. If you have the time and the talent. Then, add more time – because everything changes rapidly. Every time Google draws a line, you’ll need to jump and don’t worry – they’ll tell you how high.
Then once you have a website be prepared for every pundit in the world to tell you how to succeed online. Unfortunately – they all point in different directions. You have to separate the truth from fiction. The good advice from the bad. Good luck with that.
And now just like everyone else, I’m going to tell you what you’re doing wrong. But I’m also going to tell you what to do about it. This is prudent advice from the heart because there’s no bullshit involved and I’m not trying to sell you anything. Oh, wait…! If you need some awesome sales letters to make people call you…
First, go back to your old ways.
You were making money before, weren’t you? You still can. Remember how you made money the old fashioned way, you earned it offline? Yea, that still works. Head back there. Do it that way.
So what about the Internet – because it isn’t going away. OK, here’s the lowdown. Yes, get a website. Even a small one. It’s OK, really.
You actually do need a website. You just don’t need a great website. A one pager will do fine. More pages if you can, but if not, that’s OK too. List your company name and address, and your phone number. Show a hint of your products and services. Offer a white paper, then you can be different, too — just like everyone else. Make it simple. Keep it simple.
Show a big phone number.
Go back to the basics. Highlight your company name. Offer a few helpful articles on your specialty so you have some credibility and some SEO possibility. Because today, you actually do need a web presence. But what you really need is a big phone number.
You need to be there, so you can be found, and a big phone number so people can call you. What you don’t need: Flashy stuff, multi-pages, order pages, video, rotating images, screaming ads that won’t shut up, and a huge SEO budget.
You can have an email sign up list, but that’s not a dire necessity if you’re not mailing clever things on a regular basis to those people that don’t care to get more email. What you do need? You do need to show a big phone number because that’s the goal: have people who visit your website call you. It’s old fashioned, but… so am I. I believe that’s the way you get clients. And that’s the way you keep clients. You have conversations with them. On the phone.
You see, your website has one purpose: when customers or prospects need to find you, they can look you up on the web, and call you. That’s the purpose of your website: to get someone to call you. Isn’t it? Well… Yes, yes it is.
You’ll build credibility with a small site and actually that’s all you need — credibility so that people can see you there, see you are real, find your phone number — and call you. You’ll have better credibility with a small well written and tightly designed website than with a big website that’s mediocre.
Turns out the web is a pretty good telephone book. And that’s what most people use it for – to look firms up – to see if they’re real. Then… call them.
That’s why you need a big phone number. Because the real number one “Objective” of your website is to make people call you.
It’s actually the reason your website exists. To generate a phone call.
The phone call is the start of every purchase and the start of every serious inquiry.
Every person who wants to do business with you calls you. No one looks at your website and sends you a check. Or an order.
All business starts with a phone call. No call, no business. Get the message? I’m pretty sure I’m right on this one.
Here are a few more interesting articles for Financial Advisors: Referrals – a Three Part Technical Article on Getting Referrals
View our Free Sample: “Thank you for your referral” Letter.
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