The New Year has begun and like every other new year in living memory, you’ve started with a renewed spirit like the tired old cliché it is. We’ve all been going through the same motions like clockwork year in and year out. The good news is that it’s not going to change any time soon so what the heck, why should this year be any different?
And as long as we’re embracing the New Year spirit: lose weight, make more money, eat healthier, go to the gym (that one’s mine) I’ll add the most forgotten one, kickstart your website. If all of us were to make a concerted effort to make our websites be all they can be, wouldn’t the world be a better place?
That was my intro for intro’s sake, so now let’s get to what this article is really about. This year is the year you’ll treat your website like your life depended on it. The year you to do it the right way, the way nature intended.
Step 1: KICKSTART YOUR DARN SELF!
And that’s the censored version, for it’s with great restraint that I’ve reluctantly used that euphemism. You know what gets me? I’ve made it so incredibly easy to keep your website on full auto-cruise with my unique Maintenance Plan.
Imagine, for a paltry $250 a month I’ll do ALL the work and thinking for you and I designed this plan for precisely this reason. But there shouldn’t be any need to kickstart your website or kick your ‘ahem’ as you should never need it in the first place. But here we are aren’t we? So…
Step 2: You have to BELIEVE IT to SEE IT
I’m dead serious here. This is not psychological mumbo-jumbo or obeah— though killing a chicken in the cemetery may not be a bad idea (don’t ask me how I know that, I heard…). It’s a fact that success in anything, regardless of how impractical it may seem starts with believing in it. And that’s achievable when the odds are against you. In the case of your website the odds are actually in your favor.
Without belief there can be no wholehearted effort and all you get are only half-assed attempts that are doomed to fail. There are three things that require a personal concerted effort:
- Believe with your heart and mind that your website will work for you
- Be prepared to do the work first without looking for the results
- Believe that the if you do the work, the results will come
Step 3: Work on improving your website, especially landing pages
The site is everything; all roads lead to and from your website so it’s logical place to start (I love logic). I don’t care if you have one of the free websites from WIX or Weebly or a paid version or any other not done by Forward Multimedia.
The fact is that I did have such a project last year to improve this Weebly (paid plan) website- Visiting Nurse Services of Trinidad & Tobago. I accepted even though it’s not something I encourage, but the client had already spent good money and didn’t want it to go to waste. It did prove my point that do-it-yourself website builders can only take you part of the way but not all of the way AND that you can’t totally do it yourself.
How do you improve your website? You start by:
(a) Re-visiting all the content and updating EVERYTHING– text, images, menus, blog posts, news posts, projects so that it looks like you give a damn. Do you know that’s the number one reason why visitors don’t stick around local sites? One look and they know you you’re playing dollycook. Website builder or professionally built it doesn’t matter— some of my own clients’ sites are dead on the water right now and I can rattle off a nice list. Bottom line, if you don’t care about your website your visitor won’t either.
One thing about content- STOP being so ‘matter of fact’ with your text. Your site needs to have a personality, something to connect with on an emotional level. Enough with the blah, blah and blah blah blah and speak with your real voice instead. Too often your content sounds cookie-cutter and scripted. Trinis would love it if you be yourself. Don’t focus on getting it right, focus on getting it REAL and right will follow. This is also a reason why you need a professional.
(b) Concentrate on Inbound Marketing by bearing in mind that when a visitor comes to your site you want them to DO SOMETHING. By this I’m referring to your ‘Calls To Action’, you want to compel them to make a move. The approach is: Attract → Convert → Close → Delight; and there are tools for each one. Your site itself is the ‘attraction’ via your pages, blog, keywords etc. You convert via your calls to action.
(c) Follow this simple rule of thumb: If your site is one you’ would visit then it’s very likely others will too. So you be either the critic or have others critique it. There is a logical sequence you’ll want your visitor to follow when they land but remember your visitors fall into different profiles or as they are referred to in inbound marketing terminology ‘buyer personas’.
What is a ‘Buyer Persona’?
An example of this is what I’m about to institute on my own site as a result of my observations that owners are telling staff to research web designers. I’ve prepared a special download over the holidays to provide this info easily. One persona my site has been positioned for is for the decision maker but now I’m preparing for another persona- the staff member gathering info for the boss. Some personas for your business may be:
- New customers looking to evaluate your business expertise → need to have good background info, testimonials, description of services
- New customers wanting to know if you’re able with their project → your project portfolio need to be up to date, also testimonials
- Current customers looking for latest products/services/news/updates → need up to date promotion, sale items, new blog posts
Step 4: Support your site with social media
Facebook remains the number one most visited site in Trinidad & Tobago, and that’s for good reason- Trinis like to maco. All you have to do is harness this propensity to maco or ‘macosity’ for good.
Work your Facebook Page
Some businesses are doing a magnificent job with their Facebook page alone and they don’t even have a website. There’s one in particular that I have my eye on as a living example and I can only imagine what they would do if they had a website. And that’s just it, someone will come along and do what you do a little better as I have pointed a client right now to that Facebook page to follow what they’re doing PLUS I have the website to finish the one-two punch.
Facebook Ads Work Everytime
By ‘every time’ I mean they get you the attention. But if your landing pages are not ready for the traffic a Facebook ad brings then you’re shooting yourself in both feet. First, the visitor will shake his/her head and leave. Second, visitor may never come back as you’ve already lowered their expectations.
I click on most Trini Facebook ads I see on the right of my page whether it’s meant for me or not. You’re never going to get all clicks to LIKE your page but you’re going to get the views. It’s always a numbers game, all you’re doing is trying to stack the numbers in your favor and that’s achieved by high converting landing pages. The least you’ll come away with is AWARENESS.
5. Back things up when closing the sale
Assuming you did the right things and then did them right— something I learned in business school: Efficiency is doing the right things, Effectiveness is doing things right. Trini talk would be ‘spinning top in mud’, i.e. plenty of action and motion but getting nowhere which sadly is a national Trini pastime.
By backing things up I’m referring to the inevitable personal interaction that culminates from the choreographed song and dance you did to coax your website visitor through your door.
If you’re a true Trini business, your staff will barely look up or ignore the customer completely. Should the stars align, the customer will get an icy stare and a welcome “yuh gettin true?”, followed by the rest, as protocol dictates, will include- taking the customer’s money, shoving the item in a bag and giving change without another word.
That my friends, is how you back up the sale. I would go a step further and stick a sign ‘Kick Me’ on the customer’s back as they walk out. Okay, well that was some heavy sarcasm, I meant the opposite of course. By the way, I was joking about the chicken. No chickens were harmed during the writing of this article.
HIGHLIGHTING DAVYN LTD
I take this opportunity now to feature a new feature for the end of my articles in which I promote one of my clients. I begin with a company called DAVYN Ltd. Davyn was founded in 2000 with a focus on delivering Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions to clients in Trinidad and the English speaking Caribbean. Today, Davyn employs the largest group of certified Dynamics ERP resources in Trinidad and is certified by Microsoft as a Gold Enterprise Resource Planning partner.
What I like about Davyn is that they’re not exclusively for big companies, but promote their solutions for small and medium sized business as well. They’re also a very personable company and very accessible. Owner Derrick Villeneuve is a a really nice guy and so too their Marketing Manager Kevin Phillips, both of whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet on a regular basis. I recommend them to you and all my clients.
Of the many services of Davyn, there are two I want to highlight here:
Microsoft Dynamics’ Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, which offers you a platform which addresses your organisation’s marketing, sales and customer service needs, with a broad array of analytics, extensive options for organizing and tracking customers, sales, marketing campaigns and activities. Being that customer relationships are an alien concept to most Trini businesses, an investment by a forward thinking company is bound to pay huge rewards.
Microsoft Dynamics GP Payroll. DAVYN has invested the time and expertise in customizing and enhancing Microsoft Dynamics GP payroll module to conform to Trinidad and Tobago’s payroll standards and guidelines. NIS, PAYE and Health Surcharge deductions are all done accurately and automatically. Of course these are just two of a wide range of services. You can get the full details on their website, built of course by Forward Multimedia.
Visit Davyn Ltd Website [/note]