I remember when we built our first website 15 years ago for our first business. I knew we would find success online, and I was so excited to get a site up and running. Because there wasn’t a lot of strategy involved in web development, we just started building. And adding, changing, and growing.
We put everything we had into the site, and changed it all the time. Because there wasn’t a lot of other tools to work with, we kept at it.
But what about today?
You can start a website. Then a blog. Then join a social site. And another. And when you have 20 different things to do every day, another site comes along that you just have to join.
When does it all end?
Joe emailed me last week. “I’ve been following your advice for several months now. I have a site. I started a blog. I have a Facebook account, and I just opened up a Twitter account. I showcase my work on Flickr. I have a newsletter that I send out once a month. What do I do now – I’m still not bringing in clients?”
So I spent a few minutes and visited his website, blog and social sites.
His website was a 5 page brochure site, with little copy. His blog has a “welcome” post – from three months ago. No additional posts have been created. His Facebook page has a great summary and quite a few photographs; but he only has 26 friends. Likewise with Twitter. The only way to subscribe to his newsletter is through his contact us page – just a simple box by the side of a map to his location.
Joe isn’t alone. I see this all the time.
Technically, Joe is following my advice. He has a site. He has a blog. He joined social sites. And he is sending a newsletter.
But who is he really connecting with?
Let’s do an experiment. Head over to your favorite coffee shop this morning. Hand out 26 business cards and tell them to come to your office to sign up for your product or service.
How many new clients do you think you’ll actually get?
It’s easy to see the lack of strategy when you put it into a more traditional sense. But when people head online, they expect instant results. They’ve put in the time; they’ve visited a few sites and signed up for free accounts; they’ve done the work. Why aren’t they having any success?
Success comes from having a strategy in place.
- It’s about knowing how your site will affect visitors.
- It’s about knowing the right way to blog.
- It’s about knowing how to attract people through social sites.
- It’s about directing people where to go online for information about you.
- It’s about keeping it all active every single week.
Strategy is the most important part of your business plan. Without it, none of it will work, and help you grow your business. It’s the foundation of your business. It’s what will pull you ahead of your competition. Or quickly make you sink to the bottom.
How will you run your business?
[Joe took the first step and invested in an Online Marketing Plan. Are you ready to plan for the future too?]