Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are You Absolutely Sure You Need A New Website?

Beware the CEO who thinks it's time to change the website. In graduate school, we studied highly successful advertising campaigns that companies inexplicably dropped, only to learn that the CEO was bored with the old successful campaign and decided the company needed something new.

Air charter operators, and I imagine other small businesses, often become bored with their websites and bet the entire year's marketing budget on a new site. Aside from the inherent risk of betting the budget on one tactic, changing the website is only certain to do one thing...give you new pages! There's no guarantee you'll have more visitors to your site or more sales. Also, a solid search engine optimization (SEO) effort can often be less costly than an entire new web site.

Before Building a New Website, Do These Things First
  1. Add a blog to your website and post useful information once a week for 12 weeks. 
  2. Improve search engine results by optimizing each site page, not just your home page. 
  3. Make sure you have a unique web page description in the meta data for each page. 
  4. Get relevant, high quality back links for your site. 
  5. Update the content on your news or press page at least monthly. 
  6. Put links to your social media sites on your home page. 
  7. Update your website with some kind of fresh content weekly. 
  8. Use landing pages on your site to promote special offers or educational material. 
  9. Install Google Analytics (free) on your site so you can track unique visitors, entry pages, and exit pages and other useful metrics (or have a professional do it.)
  10. Use social media on a scheduled basis to drive visitors to your landing pages and website.
  11. Have a mobile version of your website. Readability on mobiles devices is very important
    to searchers on smartphones.
If you're still determined to spend money, have your old site rebuilt in WordPress. That's a lot cheaper than designing an entirely new site. The advantage of a WordPress platform is that you can easily add landing pages and update content yourself; and blogging is easier.

It's Like Buying Fuel For Your Plane

These items may seem like a lot of work, because they are a lot of work. It's also the internet equivalent of buying fuel for your airplane. Getting (or redesigning) a website is like buying a plane or doing major avionics upgrades. You still can't go anywhere until you put fuel in the tanks.

The same is true of your website. It doesn't matter how fabulous you make it until someone visits it. If no one's finding you, it's like an airplane in a hangar. These ten steps are your fuel!

Save money! 

Unless and until you consistently do most of these things with your old site, it's a waste of money to build a new one because no one will see it. After you've spent thousands of dollars on a new site, you'll still have to do all this other stuff to drive traffic.

Do all this traffic enhancement stuff first! Make sure you have the time, drive, and imagination to maintain it. Then study your sales and those analytics. You may be pleasantly surprised that the old site is now performing like you hoped a new one would have performed.

And think of the money you saved!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Using Risk Reversal Made A Sale!

The week before Thanksgiving in 1995, I drove to Benton Harbor, MI to call on a division of Whirlpool. During the 2-hour drive, I listened to a Jay Abraham marketing tape. One concept he discussed was using risk reversal to close a sale. 

Later that morning, sitting across from the division president, I suddenly realized that I had lost the sale. That's when I decided to try that risk reversal idea.

I said to the president, "Let me take you off the hook. It's pretty obvious I've lost the sale. Now that it's out in the open, would you mind telling me whom you have on your short list"? The president relaxed and named two of the largest consulting firms. He also said the Board wanted the project finished by Christmas! 

I remarked, “Those are big brand names. But the people who got those names won't be assigned to your project. You're going to get the most junior people because all the best people are trying to finish their own projects by year-end; or have been on the road 11 months this year and won't want to schlep to Benton Harbor just as winter sets in." 

Then I tried the risk reversal. I told him that since they weren't hired yet, and the clock was running, why not hire me to start the project, outline the solution, and present that proposed solution next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving?

“I’ll take all the risk out of the transaction," I said. "I’ll work for free between now and next Wednesday. All I ask is you cover my travel expenses. Then, when I make my presentation, one of two things will happen. Either you will agree that everything I've told you about my qualifications is correct and you will hire and pay me to implement the solution I present; or you will hand back all copies of the presentation, send me out the door, and owe nothing except travel expenses. There's no downside because we both know even if you hire someone else they won't start until after Thanksgiving." 

Whirlpool accepted my offer to take on all the risk; and the following Wednesday I closed the first sale for my new consulting company. All by doing what an expert said would work.

What about you? Where have you had a surprising success trying something an expert said would work...even if you were skeptical at the time?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Charter Marketing Survival Bulletin Archives

Find the most popular issues, based on our readers' responses, in The Charter Marketing Survival Bulletin Archives. If you're new to the Bulletin, here's a place to catch up on past articles. For our loyal readers, this gives you a single source to find that nugget of information you need today! 

Keep reading. This is really good stuff!