If you are starting up a business or just do anything entrepreneurial, there’s usually about a million and eight things you need to accomplish almost every week. (I feel this myself running my agency, believe me.)
The sad part about most business development and growth models that get passed down is that they often ignore digital, because it’s not a traditional way to make a ton of money quickly — unless, of course, you’re Amazon.
This is a mistake, because your website can be your best friend when running a business — really of any size, but definitely for entrepreneurs. Here are a couple of examples:
Your site needs lead forms that work. You need to be able to capture the information of people on your site who are interested enough to want to provide information. Yes, they may just be a tire-kicker — but they’re quite probably a legitimate lead. If your website doesn’t have mechanisms to capture this information and move it to your CRM (or at least your e-mail marketing suite), you’re not doing lead forms right. Here’s the other part people forget with lead forms: you need to closely watch your analytics and adjust lead forms and pages accordingly. For example, in a given month, one post/page might get a ton of traffic that wasn’t there in the previous month. When the traffic is booming, you better have a lead form on that page — more eyeballs will see it and can opt-in to your mailings and offerings. Doing lead forms right is about a ton of things, then: A/B testing, wording, design, monitoring analytics, and placing them strategically on pages. This is how you start building a list, and that’s where you can sell from. I have examples of strong lead forms on my website, so feel free to check them out.
Products and Payment
If you have products/services that people can purchase online (i.e. if you’re doing some level of e-commerce), make sure you have clean, crisp pay buttons and an easy, intuitive process. Also make sure your store offerings look good on all devices, have nice imagery, and aren’t overburdened with text. Make a contact phone number easy to see/access in case someone has questions during the process. None of this is rocket science, and there are many applications that can help you with it — WooCommerce is a good one if your site is in WordPress, for example. One rule above all here: design your online store in the way you’d want to shop someone else’s online store.
If you’re a speaker, thought leader, presenter, consultant, etc … have a calendar with events you’re attending or speaking at. This allows you to be more “now” with your website visitors; oftentimes, oddly, websites are passive and kind of summarize the person or the product but don’t explain what’s happening with the person now. Adding a calendar is a simple way to change that. You should also have an internal calendar for you and your team in terms of scheduling posts and social shares, etc. Again, if you use WordPress (because many sites do), CoSchedule is good for this.
The Business Card Model
Many of the traditional staples of hiring, like the resume and the cover letter, are kind of falling by the wayside now. It’s all about personal branding and social branding, which is where I work with a lot of my own clients. If you don’t completely understand the revenue power of digital, think of it like this: it’s your business card via Google. Someone is going to learn about you or your products and Google you. What will they find? What message will it send to them? In this way, your website is your online business card. With a bad one, you leave a ton of money on the table — people toss away business cards all the time, and they’ll toss away your products if your website makes no sense or has no logical flow. With a good one, you’re building a relationship. That’s crucial to any form of business growth.