Designers Don’t Build A Web Business Part 1

Who makes your business?
Does the builder of your office make your business work? Does the sign company make your business work? We would never suggest that any business is successful except for the efforts of the owner/entrepreneur, but when it comes to web sites we think differently.

Why would we think that a web designer will build us an online business? Just because they say they will make your site stand out in a crowd? Just because they say they will drive traffic to your web site?

Maybe.

Maybe we believe the marketing hype because we want to, and we want to because we don’t have the technical know-how to make our own web site. Well, we don’t have the building skills to construct our own office either and that never stopped us from building our business.

The lack of technical know-how is no reason to hand over control to a web designer who knows nothing about our business or the market we serve. In fact it is downright dangerous and costly to follow a web designers ideas about building a web business.

What does a web designer know?
A web designer, having graduated from a college course in web design, knows how to build a web site. They do not know how to build a business. And this is where most of us get off track. We think that once the web site is designed then we are in business.

Compare this to buying an automotive repair shop with the hydraulic lifts and compressor, the work bench and office, and we would call this a working auto repair shop – but it is not an auto repair business until WE make it so.

We accept the recommendations of web designers and web marketing people and then believe that that is all there is to running a web business. The experts sold us a working web site, not a working web business. In fact, they didn’t sell us much of anything at all.

A custom web design in the digital virtual reality is something of a laugh because nobody starts from scratch, at least not for us small business guys. And that is not going to change, but maybe we will realize when we are paying too much for recycled ideas and copied code.

You are the business
After our web design has been built the biggest part of making it a business is yet to come. After the web experts have been paid all we have is a shell, just like the auto repair shop. Everything works and functions just fine, but there’s still no business for our new web site.

Unfortunately, if we had listened to the web designers we would have filled our web pages with filler and not real content. Filler is just a bunch of talk about our products or services and what a great business we are and why everyone should buy from us.

Who really believes what a company says about itself? Why would anyone, even in the market, care about filler that is very suspect?

We have been tricked
While we have been following the logic of web designers we have missed the shear genius of our own information. We have been tricked into thinking only about ourselves instead of thinking about our market. And it is not just the web industry that tricked us this way – it is old school offline marketing & advertising that tricked us first.

Putting the focus on our market is both the heart and brains of a business web site. We must first put our knowledge and experience for solving problems into the business and then we must talk to our web market as though we know them by name. And we do know them by name when we address them as a group of like minded people.

Standing apart
If we were to put our clients first and speak to them about their problems and how we can help to solve those problems then we would be one of the first small business web sites to do so. Our web content would be very different from any of our competitors. Our keywords would be more specific to the problems we solve. We would be giving our market what they really want and our web marketing costs would drop like a stone.

If we were to ignore all the experts in the web industry and paid full attention to our market there would be a big shift in how we did business. This much is pretty obvious and it’s hard for us to deny the value of communicating directly to our market with what they want to know. But, it’s hard not to shake with a little fear about wandering away from the comfort of doing what everyone else is doing.

2 Considerations
#1) If our web designer didn’t build us a web business, then they haven’t build anyone else a web business. What this means is that by being true to our business we have no competition.

#2) The risk in financial costs of attracting our real web market is tiny and the time it takes to build this into a business is less than the time we have already spent spinning our wheels and listening to others.

To make a web business happen we need to be engaged with our market and not expect anyone else to make it happen for us. We can look for help and learn from others, but if we expect designers to build our web business for us it will just another cookie cutter web site as they do what they have been trained to do.

To take control of our web business we need to know what our web market wants and what they need from us. This is not so difficult to do. To understand any web market, and our market specifically, you can find insights in the article in this series titled “Designers Don’t Build A Web Business Part 2”

Look Out! Is Your Business on Auto-Pilot?

First there was the fax-on-demand…information received instantly by using a fax machine. Then the Internet evolved into the use of e-mail, producing email-on-demand with the use of autoresponders.

An autoresponder is just what the name implies. It is an auto response that is programmed to automatically deliver a specific message upon receiving the request.

Autoresponders allow your business to be operational around the clock 24 hours a day – 7days a week – 365 days a year. A good example is the Customer Service link provided on so many web sites.

Once you have sent your question or comment to the Customer Service link, you receive an auto-reply message acknowledging receipt of your message.

Autoresponder messages can by used in a variety of ways delivering your strategic information instantly to your targeted viewer /audience. Newsletters, sales information, free reports,
even ecourses, articles and tutorials are just a few of the ways autoresponders can be used effectively.

Follow up is critical to keeping your name, service or product in front of your prospects and clients. Autoresponders allow you to deliver your follow up messages automatically, specifically, and most importantly….timely, to your target audience!

Most all of us are familiar with signing up to receive news about impending sales or discounted items automatically from retail stores. Our e-mail address is entered into their mailing list and the requested information is automatically sent right back using an autoresponder.

But are you aware you also can send pre-determined messages with specific information related to your business, to your prospects and /or clients at pre-set intervals?

For example, let’s say a prospect, client or customer visited your web site and responds to a link on your site to receive more information on your services or products.

Immediately your first autoresponse message goes out thanking them for expressing an interest and giving them the basics on your services or products and any other information in their initial request.

A couple of days later your 2nd message automatically goes out. This is the perfect time to let them know about who you are, your experience, and what you do….your credentials and area of expertise.

A few days later (don’t wait too long), your 3rd message automatically goes out. This could be testimonials and feedback from clients or customers stating the positive experiences they have had as a result of doing business with you. This will associate value with your services.

A couple of days later your 4th message goes out with maybe a free offer, a free bonus, article, special report, or specific tips related to your services or products. If you have an online newsletter (ezine) this is an excellent time to offer a link to your free subscribe area.

Your 5th message could be your final (pitch) response message. Offer any additional products or services you may have that would be of benefit (solve their problem) to your client or customer. Usually by about the 4th or 5th message you have a new client or customer.

The number of messages sent is entirely up to you based on the information you are delivering. If you are offering a tutorial or an e-course for example there could be message for up to 6 weeks or longer. I recently subscribed to receive 89 messages (one a day for 89 days) on a specific subject.

A good impression to ending your response messages, and one more time your name being is front of your audience, is a short survey asking for feedback on your services or your products. This is an excellent way to receive testimonies for use on your web site or other marketing materials.

Using the above example, you can see how autoresponders keep your name and your specific information in front of your targeted prospects, clients, and customers making the critical follow up as easy as (message) 1, 2, 3.

For those of you interested in creating the autoresponder messages yourself for your business, here are the addresses of a few of the most widely used autoresponders:

http://www.getresponse.com,

http://www.sendfree.com,

http://www.aweber.com,

http://www.responders.com,

http://www.autoresponders.org,

http://www.freeautobot.com,

As you can see, having your business on auto pilot using an autoresponder means your time can be better spent marketing your business, creating new services or products (increasing your revenue), or enjoying more quality time with family and friends.

Autoresponders allow you to conduct this critical follow up part of your business to your targeted audience continuously and automatically with little upkeep on your part….allowing you to say, yes, your business IS on Auto-Pilot!

3 Ways To Help Run Your Online Business On Auto-Pilot

If you are currently running an online business then perhaps your ultimate goal is to be able to have your business operate on auto-pilot so that you can be assured that you are receiving traffic and making money even when you decide to take a day off or go on a vacation. Here are some tips that will allow you to grow your online business on auto-pilot so that it will not suffer in your absence, and your website will always continue increasing in traffic.

Optimize Your Website For Search Engines

Online business websites benefit when you laser focus your site on one niche market, basically keep your website and website content focused on just one topic. Combining products and services on your website that are related to this topis is key to setting up a search engine optimization(SEO) strategy. For example, if your website was focused on golfing then every page of your site theme should cover different topics under the golfing umbrella such as improving one’s swing or reviews of the best golf clubs to buy, these items would naturally be available for sale from your website. If you don’t know how to develop your own products and services then it should prove easy to find affiliate programs that you can join and become a reseller of these items. SEO is the process of benefitting from this focus by using the content of your site to attract the attention of the search engines.

In order to scientifically make sure that you are running an SEO strategy that will work and eventually(allow you to rise to the top over time) you will need to research keywords. Keyword research is the process of choosing keywords that are high in receiving traffic compared to the competition from other sites already ranking for that keyword.

Submit Your Website To Online Directories

There are many companies online that will do the work of submitting your websites to thousands of web directories. The key here is that you can choose a plan whereby your site is listed to a certain amount of directories on a by-weekly basis. The second part of a good SEO strategy is that your site be recognized on other websites under the topic of golfing. The fact that your link will be clicked n and viewed by visitors to those sites, but it will allow you to attract even more search engine attention and will increase your position for your keywords if done over a long period of time.

Having a company submit links for you on time release will ensure that your website traffic grows constantly over time. If your website has been created with SEO in mind then this methods of promotion will give you the dual effect of increasing your search engine ranking as your links build over time. You can select packages from directory submission firms who will submit your websites for your and will allow you to choose a number of different heading(use your keywords here) and descriptions(here, also). Link directories are sort of like yellow pages where websites are stored under their appropriate categories.

Add A Blog To Your Website

Adding a blog to your website is a great way to add web pages to your site without having to go through the process of creating a page and uploading it to your web server. A WordPress blog installed on your website will allow you to keep adding fresh content to keep the search engines indexing your new pages very quickly. Indexing involves the search engines actually including your website in their search results. On your blog you can submit articles about golfing(to use our previous example) every few days basis to attract free search engine traffic. After doing this over the course of a year your website will have added at least 100 pages of focused content, and the search engines love indexing fresh content.

People are always going to use the search engines to find the product, services, and information they want. Tapping into this free promotional tool is the secret to running your online business on auto-pilot. and if your website can be found here you can be found here under search terms related to your website’s theme then you can be guarantee your website will be viewed 24/7, 365 days a year. The key to success is to take your time and really research and use good keywords for your website’s headings, titles, and content. Also, you don’t have to implement all of these strategies at the same time. As you finish one piece of the puzzle then you can work on another and you will notice an increase in traffic after each step. The end result after you have accomplished all three is that you will see consistent traffic coming to your website even if your want to take a break from running your online business.