It's a really nice shiny object and I'm sure you poured your heart and soul into it and believe it will be a huge success.
Maybe you've finished your shiny object. Maybe you're creating it right now. Maybe you're just thinking about creating a new shiny object.
Shiny objects are wonderful. They capture our attention, our imagination and our creativity and become a visual representation of your concept.
Everyone will love your shiny object! Your shiny object is shinier than all of the other shiny objects out there.
Unfortunately, Having a Shiny Object isn't enough
One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make when they are starting their online business is thinking the first step is to build a website.
Don't create a marketing plan for your website. Create a website that facilitates your marketing plan. --Me
Your website is like the shiny object in the picture at the top of this post. You focus all your efforts on making it look professional and pretty. You have meetings about colors and images. The coding on the backend is another time-consuming task.
But, when you do all of this first, all you have is a shiny object that no one sees.
There is a lot more to planning an online business than building your website. And there are several things you should do before you build the shiny object.
Here are a few questions you should be able to answer before you start building your website
1. Who is your target audience?
Have you identified the demographics your potential customers belong to?
Have you created buyer personas? A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better. --source
2. How will you find them?
(Yes, I said find them, not how will they find you) Where do your potential customers hang out? Which social networks do they use?
3. How will you attract them to your website?
Will you be doing content marketing, pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization? Do you have a plan? Have you even looked into it yet?
4. Which social media sites will you spend most of your efforts on?
Related to number 2 above. How will you find your potential customers. Identifying which social media sites to spend most of your efforts on is important.
Let's say Facebook is going to be a big part of your social media marketing. Have you planned what type of content you'll be sharing there? Who's going to do it? How often? Are you going to boost posts? Are you going to use Facebook ads?
Each social media site is different. You need a plan for each one you plan to use and you don't have to use all of them.
Social Media is where you 'start' the conversation with your potential customers. Your website is where you 'continue' the conversation.
You need to know how you will start the conversation before you can possibly know how you're going to continue the conversation.
5. Are you going to create landing pages for email and social media campaigns?
Landing pages are essential for generating leads and even for closing sales. These are targeted toward 1 product or service you offer, or meant to capture personal data in exchange for downloads or access to webinars, etc.
How will those be added to your website?
6. What will you offer them in exchange for enough info to turn them into a lead?
Not just on landing pages, but throughout the website. Will you have special offers, free downloads, subscriptions, memberships, etc.?
How will those be incorporated into your website?
7. Will you be adding a blog and doing content marketing?
Will it be a Wordpress addon to the backend of your website or be part of another CMS you use to build your site. What type of content will you be creating? Podcasting? Lots of images? Mostly text?
8. Will you be sending out a newsletter?
How often? How will people be encouraged to subscribe? Where will those forms go? What's going to be in it? Where will you send readers to after they read it? (Back to landing pages)
9. Do you have a conversion optimization specialist onboard to make sure your site will generate leads or close sales?
Building a website without knowing how you will generate leads and/or close sales is putting the cart before the horse. Hiring someone that specializes in that to consult with you before and during web development is the best way to go.
10. Are you going to hire an SEO expert while you're building the shiny object? (This is the how do they find you part.)
Navigation, content, and the way your website is coded are all important to how well you will rank in the search engines and organic traffic from the search engines has a high conversion rate.
Having an SEO onboard during development is essential.
11. What's the best platform for your website?
This is not your web designer's favorite platform. They all have one. Choose the right platform for your business based on what capabilities you need. Then choose a designer that is an expert with that platform.
The problem is this; Business owners go out and spend a lot of money on designing a website. Then they start thinking about things like SEO and marketing.
And most times they have very little money left over for these things because they spent most of it on web development.
They bought the shiny object. Now they expect to find marketers and SEOs who will work cheaply.
- That is where businesses fail.
- That is why they get penalized by the search engines.
- That's why they don't close sales or generate leads.
Depending on how complex your website needs to be, you should be spending between 20% to 40% of your budget on the shiny object and set the rest aside for marketing.
I can tell you this as a fact;
Give me a client whose shiny object isn't as nice as your shiny object, but who has a larger budget for SEO & marketing, and they will make a lot more money than you
I've been a salesman for 40 years. I've been doing this online for 20 years. I help you manage the entire project from beginning to end. I help you create the whole plan and then guide the development of the website to make sure it fits into the plan we created together. For a free consultation, call 800.977.4355