A client recently told me she didn’t feel professional when she was marketing her mobile massage business because she didn’t have a website to direct people to when she told them about her business–especially when she was speaking with large businesses about hiring her to provide on-site massage services at their office or events.
“I feel like I have to have a website to direct them to where they can read more about my background and my services, and to ‘prove’ that I am a professional, or to have people find me when searching online for massage services.”
She was ready to devote a lot of time and money into hiring someone to help her create a website when she hired me as her coach, and I told her to put those plans on hold for now. She was shocked, but when I explained why, she understood better and was willing to wait on the website and use some of these other tactics I suggested first.
The Argument for NOT Having a Website Just to Appear Professional
1. Timing is important. There are many things that are more important to have in place BEFORE your website. These are the things that are more likely to get you business quickly (offline marketing tactics), and/or that create the foundational pieces and copy for your website. That would include business cards with your contact information and a “free offer” to entice them to call you or get to know you more. A brochure can provide the information that most static websites share, such as your training/experience, testimonials or list of past/current clients, a list of services (sometimes with pricing–that’s another topic for debate), a “free offer,” and contact information.
It’s also crucial that you have all your administrative/office processes and paperwork, and your offerings and fees, fully in place and ready to use with clients once you sign them up. There’s no sense in marketing your business with a website (or any other means) until you know clearly WHO you serve, HOW you serve them, WHAT problem you SOLVE for them, your SYSTEM of working with them, and your FEES and PAYMENT system. Not having these foundations in place when someone is ready to hire you will TRULY make you look unprofessional.
2. Don’t get a website just to “legitimize” your business in someone else’s eyes. There are many ways to be perceived as a professional. Having conversations with people, sharing your testimonials and expertise at networking or business meetings, being part of an industry-specific association, speaking/presenting/teaching on your own or for a group/organization/business on your topic of expertise, etc. Let people get to know/like/trust you in person and you’ll have business coming to you even without a website or other online presence.
3. There are many ways to be found online other than a website:
- Video and audio blogging or podcasting
- Writing web-based articles (and providing phone and email info. to contact you) and submitting them to article marketing sites like ezinearticles.com
- Getting into the media with events, news-worthy press releases or interviews
- Having a social media presence (Facebook profile and business page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile).
Search engines like Google pick up and catalogue/prioritize all these online records of you and your business so people will find you when doing relevant keyword searches. In fact, you can create on a Facebook Business Page a lot of the elements of a website on your own or hiring someone to quickly set it up for you (I use resources like Fiverr.com).
4. Most people do their websites wrong or backwards. A website is not very effective if it is set up like an online brochure. Unless someone is ready to “buy now,” and you are perceived as their best or only option, they are not likely to land on your website and immediately call you to say “I want to hire you.”
You want your website to provide information about you and your services but also act as a “lead capture system.” This means it is set up to encourage people to provide their contact information to you by offering a highly desirable “free gift” in exchange that immediately helps with their issue or need. You can find out more about this idea at this previous blog post.
Remember that people have been running businesses and getting clients for centuries before websites came along. Although you can gain some additional benefits and business from a properly designed website, don’t wait for, rely on, or hide behind having one in order to be seen as the professional you are and get your ideal clients to hire or buy from you.
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CALL TO ACTION/CHALLENGE:
1. Make sure you have your foundational pieces in place (points 1 and 2 above) before you do any marketing or consider creating a website.
2. Start using some of the free/low-cost, in-person, and quicker methods (points 1-3) to get in front of your target market and find people who are in need or search of what you offer. Then tell them how to contact you and/or follow up with them through phone, email or a scheduled meeting.
3. Start with a Facebook Business Page as a “pseudo website” to share information and encourage continued connection with you. Use this as a means to keep sharing information, resources and offers with your connections.
4. Once you have mastered these elements effectively, THEN consider creating a website (with the guidelines I give in many of my archived posts, such as this one). You might even find you have more than enough business without one!
To learn more about the practical and psychological aspects of growing YOUR successful business, Schedule a FREE Strategy Session with me to identify what your needs are in both of these areas. Having a “fancy” or “professional-looking” website is not enough to have a successful business.
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