Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Business Process with Website as Your Store-front

I've been thinking a lot lately what the prospect to sales to client process is, for me. I like to think of my website or my clients site as their "home base." It is part of who you are, describes you, your design style and how you want the world to perceive your brand. Doesn't it? Think of your site the colors, what do they say about you? What does the content describe?

Finding More Clients

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk only leads to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

If you are not receiving the traction online that you would like to, have you thought about why? What is YOUR strategy? Do you even have one or are you just "ON Twitter" or "using social media?" Some things to think about off the bat:

  • Why are your clients your clients and how did the ones you have find you?
  • Who do you want to be your clients? 
  • What do you LIKE doing? So what if you can do it all, at the end of the day what do you enjoy? People can tell if you are passionate about what you do. So why live life unhappy.
  • What are you worth and how long does it take you to complete your services or what will make you a healthy living? Do you have a yearly goal? Break it down.
Monetary Goals

Diligent Hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. Proverbs 12:24

Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry. Proverbs 19:15

Yes, we are all thinking about the money. I can tell you a hundred times that it is not the most important thing in life, and it would be true, but it wouldn't feed your family. So think about what you need to live on monthly.

  • Utilities
  • Your gadgets or whatever it is you use to do your work
  • Your phone
  • Your computer
  • The rent or mortgage
  • Food (for you plus whoever lives with you)
  • Gas or public transportation
  • Networking events (these are important- they are your connection to the world outside of your office, how you will meet new clients, and your back up plan if you ever get laid off- don't wait till you get laid off to make these relationships or you'll be annoyingly known as "that guy")
  • Unexpected costs (car breaks down, someone get sick, you are robbed etc.) I would divide whatever you need to live on and then make this the number for your unexpected costs. Save at least a quarter of this money in a savings account.
Now once you've figured out what you need to live on and pay your bills. Think about one or two hobby things you need or want to do every month, yes these are semi-essential. They keep you sane. They keep you happy and keep you from being depressed. These extras can be:

  • Your hair (this is not an essential, it is an extra- although looking your best is important)
  • Nails (like it or not you CAN do your own)
  • Hockey
  • The newest gadget or video game
  • Dancing lessins
  • Skydiving
  • Rock climbing.. you get the point?
Now that you know your total monthly income that you need to make to live life the way you want to live it. Break that down into weeks/days. If you want to make $50,000/year you should be making $200/day. How are you going to get there? What did YOU do TODAY to get there? Do you need a second job? Do you need to raise prices or just work harder? There is a time for each.

How are your prospects finding you?

Do your prospects only find you via word of mouth? This is a trusty method but will not help your business grow. If you have great customer service, you will sustain the clientele you have but your budget will never become bigger unless your clientele do. When I say your clientele get bigger this can mean that your actual client's businesses grow in revenue and hire you to do more things OR that your client base grows (you get more clients). Make a list of how you are currently getting clients, if you don't know start today by doing the following:

  • Track incoming calls, ask new leads how they find you.
  • Give your website/print ads/normal clients different numbers.. track how many of those numbers get called.
  • Give different outlets different email addresses (same as the numbers)
  • Implement a CRM
  • Add google analytics to your website (this is FREE, do it today)
  • Have a drop down box with your contact form that asks people how they found you.. or just a blank box that asks them. If this doesn't get used, offer incentive or simply ASK them yourself.
  • If you are doing PPC, track which keywords lead to a sale. Track which ones never get clicked on. Adjust accordingly.
How to Find New Clients
Step 1. Your Website.

Let's start with that home base. Content is king. Does it describe you in a way that your target client would understand or is it full of Jargon? Do you rank for any keywords? Check using google webmaster tools (it's free). If not look into SEO (I talk about this a lot in other posts, but not this one).

Is your website out dated? Check to see if your website code is up to web standards or outdated by heading to w3.org. If your site does any of the following please seek a designer immediately:

  •  Excessively centers content (text)
  • Has no pictures
  • Is made up of flash
  • Has no text and only pictures
  • Uses the font Comic Sans ANYWHERE, unless you are a daycare.. still iffy.
  • Only talks about YOU and not what you do or sell.
  • Doesn't have contact information on EVERY PAGE.
  • Uses Front Page, or any cheap template.
  • Can't integrate a CRM.
  • Check to see that it works in IE6, IE7, Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox
  • Read Smashing Magazine's blog.
Step 2. Blogging

Read other people's blogs in your industry. Decide what you want to write about. Keep reading and writing.

Step 3. Social Media

Join LinkedIn, Twitter, and make a Facebook Group for your company (NOT A PROFILE- those are for people). Read Chris Brogan's blog, Seth Godin's, or some other Social Media think tank.. and learn how to strategize OR hire someone like me to guide you.

Step 4. Consider using the following to drive customers to your site

Newsletters, banners, public relations, SEO, directories, groups, events, social media.

I explain in other posts how to do this, but this one has already become really long. So let me know what you think. Does this ring true to you? Where are you heading?

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