It’s time to answer YOUR questions!
It’s Monday — and that means I’m digging in the ol’ mailbox to answer YOUR questions.
Before I do that — what’s YOUR single-most important marketing, selling, or business question? Can I answer it here? Email me at Roy@RoyFurr.com and I’ll add you to the queue for an upcoming Mailbox Monday issue.
On to today’s question…
It’s a long one, but I think it does give substantial context so I decided not to edit it down…
I just joined your list and have enjoyed your emails so far.
I run a small (solo) web marketing and design services company for small business people in my hometown (Asheville NC).
Since Asheville is a BIG arts and crafts town, and has very good tech programs at the local community colleges, there a lot of web designers/developers around competing for the same work or projects.
I very quickly learned that my web design and programming skills were just not good enough to compete.
But I since have a degree in communications and a background with online marketing (I was a website manager for a local company that had over 250 affiliate sites), I felt I could bring my writing skills and that experience to the party and make some headway.
It has worked to a certain level. I have a handful of repeat clients, who I work with regularly and some income coming in.
But how to I breakthrough to the next level? What marketing techniques (my website) do you recommend I use to stand out from the crowd?
Most of the local web designers make websites look pretty while I work hard to make “pretty” sites more “profitable” using direct response.
How can I differentiate what I do from the “artist” designers who “build eye pleasing, spectacular and brand websites”?
This is a very interesting question Chancer…
And I’ll tell you what…
What I’m about to tell you could completely transform your life and business!
Because what I’m seeing right now is you trying to stand out as a mediocre me-too provider of a commoditized service…
When, with some positioning, you could very quickly laser-focus on the perfect ideal clients for your business… Help THEM get all the success they want… And get YOURSELF all the business you want in the process!
First, let me address…
Your biggest mistake…
What I hear first and foremost is that you’re trying to serve everybody. Every business in Asheville — at least the ones that could manage with a one-person web shop.
This is also the default audience for everyone else hanging out their shingle as a web designer or website builder.
That automatically makes your life a lot more difficult. Because there are a ton of poorly-targeted prospects for your business. They are hard to reach in a really effective way. And even when you do reach them, you don’t stand out.
The alternative? Get laser-specific about the kind of business you serve. And build your offer and your messaging to speak to the result they most want.
In a town of your size (assuming you want to stay local), that doesn’t necessarily mean you target a niche. In fact, I’d advise against sticking with one kind of business.
Rather, I’d target a mindset, based on your comments.
As you said, there are a ton of people out there who are happy to build you a pretty website.
They may build a site that looks very nice, and makes you feel really good as you hit “publish.”
But all you hear when you launch that pretty website out into the world is crickets.
Sure, your mom likes your website. “It looks nice, dear,” she says. But it’s doing NOTHING for generating business results.
You provide the alternative. For small businesses who can’t afford to waste money on pretty websites that don’t accomplish any business goals, you build websites to get results.
It won’t be the prettiest website in town. It probably won’t win any design awards. But you generate new leads and new customers.
This is something that every business needs, so if you can deliver on this result, you’ll automatically resonate with a certain subset of businesses who think this way.
Further, you’ll get extra traction with those who had some art school grad build a pretty website that did nothing for years, and now they’re just looking for something that converts.
Build all of your messaging and offers around this, and you’ll immediately distinguish yourself from the crowd who you think are your competitors (and they will not end up being your competitors at all).
Everything I said above hinges on one very important assumption.
I’m assuming you can build websites to generate business results, for the kinds of businesses who you might approach as potential clients.
I’m assuming you’re going to apply what you’ve learned here through Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, as well as direct marketing best practices in general, and that you know how to do that to generate at least reasonably-satisfactory results.
If you can’t do that, you’re in trouble buster!
That said, I’d probably lean even harder on this, and not only build your business around it, but further develop your skills around it.
Become Asheville’s best traffic and conversion person.
Understand what it takes to buy website traffic. The different sources, how they’re different, best practices for making each profitable, and how to plug it all into the website itself to generate business results.
You don’t necessarily have to do all this work. In fact, you probably want to figure out how to NOT be constantly juggling 38 things. But understanding the strategy and being able to plug your clients into the right traffic sources is paramount. You may even consider building an agency where you bring this talent in-house — physically or virtually.
Build out your business in such a way that you know exactly who you’re serving, and what result you’re best able to deliver.
(And from your question, I think the result is business results — leads, sales, etc. — and the who would be the small business founder or owner who cares more about that than a pretty site.)
Once you have that down, you need to master the art of SELLING AGAINST…
Have you ever heard direct response folks rant against Madison Avenue or image advertisers? There are a ton of great examples out there. Study them.
That’s your pitch, in a nutshell.
Once you’ve established your offering in opposition to all those “pretty” website designers, you need to dig out the Grand Canyon between what they offer and what you offer.
You offer results. They offer a very expensive pretty picture that does nothing for the client’s business.
Small businesses can’t afford to waste money on a website that doesn’t work. Especially today, where the web continues to grow in importance.
You need a website that looks good and works well, sure — but looks are hardly the most important part.
All these art school grads couldn’t run a real business if their life depended on it. Because they don’t understand that real businesses need to spend their advertising and marketing dollars (including online) where they will bring back new customers plus friends in return.
People don’t buy because of a pretty website. They buy because your website tells them that you can deliver the result they want — whatever that is for YOUR business.
Add to that the ability to actually go out and buy traffic to the client’s site, and bring new customers in through the door, and you won’t have very many competitors in Asheville.
You’ll be selling services that reset the buying criteria for getting a small business website. And it will just so happen that for those people who agree with the buying criteria you lay out, your service will be the highest and best choice available to them.
Alright, that’s enough breakthroughs for today — now the most important part…
GO DO IT!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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