If you’re website isn’t generating the business you feel it should, don’t blame the website.  It might be you.

I recently met with a client who felt that his website was nothing more than an online brochure…it was nice to have, but only two calls in the past year were generated from someone visiting his site.  He mentioned that he had read an article that his particular industry (wealth management) wasn’t really suited for developing leads from the internet.

My immediate question to him was, “How old was that article?”

He admitted that it was a little dated and that, in a nut shell, is the problem with many business owners today when it comes to how they view their website.  Their ideas and perceptions of the internet are dated

One of the most common metaphors I have heard is that the internet is the Wild West.  Well guess what happened to the Wild West?  People started laying their claims and developing their lands.  Pretty soon it wasn’t the Wild West anymore; it became an industrialized segment of our country.  That is what has happened with the internet.  It has gone to the next level and that means as a business or marketing manager, you have to be aware of these changes.  Do you know about responsive web design, or that Flash doesn’t work on iPads and iPhones, or that your website copy (the written content) is incredibly important to search engine optimization.

At the end of the meeting I told him that in a year from now, I wanted him to receive viable leads WEEKLY from his Impact Media built site.  That is purpose of a business website…to generate leads for your company.  It is not just a billboard;  it is a 24 hour sales representative whose sole function is to capture the attention of someone who is looking for your product or service.  Because it is a digital world, your options of how you program your online sales representative are almost endless.

Let’s look at this way..

You have hired a new salesperson for your business.  That salesperson has a good look, they dress nice and they have some familiarity with your product or service.  You put them out there and how do you think they are going to do?  They will probably do okay and get you some business based on their surface skills.  But that’s not what a successful company does.  The companies that are constantly out-performing their goals are the ones that thoroughly train their sales staff.  They make sure each account manager knows that company inside and out and then they equip them with whatever tools they need to create a compelling presentation.  If you do this then you have not only maximized your salesperson’s potential; you have maximized YOUR earning potential.

It’s the same thing with a website.  You can’t just toss up a website, even it if looks good and has all the proper information and expect it to maximize your earning potential.  I have read countless ads on Craigslist that read, “Small business needs website but has limited budget. This is the perfect opportunity for a college student.”  I call this the Craigslist Blues.  They are absolutely correct in one way.  It is the perfect opportunity for a college student because the college student needs experience and cash.  However, it’s a terrible business decision.  A college student doesn’t know the ins and outs of the ever-changing world of the internet and while that business owner may, theoretically, end up with a good looking site, its underlying function could be completely worthless.

Here is another example:  The other day, I met with an attorney who had traded out legal services for web design services.  Her “designer” ended up using a FREE online service to create her site.  The attorney asked me to take a look at it and give her my opinion.  I found all her contact information, which legal services she offered, times of business, a bio, pictures of her, and some pictures of the city (which I am positive were used in violation of copyright laws).  What this lawyer had was a Flash based website that wouldn’t function on an iPhone or an iPad; it wasn’t set up to be found by Google and it completely lacked a responsive design. It was a website that would have worked well in 2002, but had she stuck with it, she’d have cut herself off from maximizing her revenue potential.  She is now a client of Impact Media.

A good web developer will create a site for you that offers responsive web design which means that no matter what device you are viewing the website from, it will look proper and easy to read. This is crucial with the ever expanding world of smartphone ownership and our reliance on them for internet browsing.  A good designer will create a layout that will look professional and will play on the psychology of the web viewer.  They will optimize the copy so that the search  engines will find it using the most recent search methods.   Up-to-date knowledge is crucial because Google, Yahoo and Bing are constantly updating their search engine algorithms.  Google makes minor tweaks to their process 200 to 300 times a year and they make 3 to 5 major changes each year.

So now you’re saying, Okay C.S., I have a professionally built website optimized by the right keywords, with a responsive web design that includes a 60 second video of me presenting my company…bring on the leads

You are definitely closer, but it’s not quite that simple.  In my next blog entry I will discuss the most effective marketing strategy for your website in today’s internet climate.