Websites don't fix businesses

What do you do when growth stalls or when sales are down? We hear it way too often, “let’s get a new website.”

A website isn’t going to fix your business.

I like to refer to a Company's website as “your business DNA”; I can tell practically anything and everything about a business by simply studying their website.

Great websites reflect an intimate knowledge of customers, their wants, needs and the way they go about making decisions. It is also a culmination of a well-executed marketing plan.

Where do so many business owners go astray? By not realizing that websites, emails or social media postings are merely tools-of-the-marketing-trade and that there are no secret tricks or tips to get them to perform and convert.

Marketing magic only happens during the steps everyone wants to skip; the critical ‘thinking and planning stages’ of your marketing. Amazing things happen when humans sit down and brainstorm, challenge conventional wisdom and find ways to truly differentiate their business.

The day-to-day reality for so many entrepreneurs is very different:

“Hey, check our new website it is really great, people love it.”

“Great, how’s it working out”?

“What do you mean?”

“How is it performing? What types of results are you getting?”

"You mean other than people liking it?"

While there's nothing unique about having a website there's a lot to celebrate (as in 'ka-tching') when the site performs.

Why is a website a reflection of the business' DNA?

  • Because it's the engine that drives all customers/prospects interaction.
  • Because it accurately reflects whether you truly understand what customers in your business segment really want.
  • Because layout and navigation tell whether it's just a "www" address or whether you've taken the time to deliver value.
  • Because if your copyright statement is more than a year old (that @ at the bottom of the page) it indicates that you aren't paying attention to the most important aspect of your marketing communication.
  • Because buying a $49 Wordpress template and just throwing up on the screen isn't marketing.
  • Because if your Boss doesn't believe or want to spend any money on your website, it's likely that she's not spending wisely anywhere else.

Here's the thing:"Likes" don't cover overhead. Website visits don't pay bills. Self-promoting blogs won't get you into the SEO promised land.

A website that comes across as the 'self-admiration society' (and you can tell by counting how many times the word "we", "leading", "best" , "award-winning", are mentioned) only impresses those who wrote the content. We've moved way beyond regarding websites as a digital business card or an online catalog; your site is a hub, a community center that offers knowledge, value and an opportunity to experience something no one else offers.

Yes, developing a remarkable and engaging website is not easy. However, I bet one of your competitors has done the hard work and is growing month-over-month, year-over-year while others in their industry are complaining that marketing doesn't work. There is a correlation between sloppy websites and how well the business is doing.

There are plenty of beautifully designed websites out there and they all miss the point; when it comes to websites, we should not judge a book by its cover - we actually don't care. Content and an engaging experience are what matters most; a positive reaction to a website visit is a psychological reinforcement to repeat that behavior and repetition and frequency lead to conversions - that's how you get your site to pay the bills. 

Start by answering a simple but tough question: What business are we in? Get it right and you're on your way to having a productive website.