There’s a reason why the website doesn’t come in until stage three of our ESCAPE Plan process.
If you are not sure what “Stage 3” is here is the sequence of our ESCAPE Plan –
E = Explore – What should you be doing, or not doing, as a business – what will work for you?
S = Serve – who are the people your business will serve – who will be happy to pay for your product or service? Validating that process. (What problem can you solve for them?)
C = Create – Your product or service, and the platform through which people can find you and buy from you. Leadership Authority via a case study. Minimum Viable Website.
A = Amplify – How get yourself known in the wider world so you can reach even more customers – speaking, guesting, the book, paid advertising.
P = Perfect – How you can perfect your processes and systems so you can serve more customers.
E = Expand – How you can leverage your business beyond what you can do yourself.
Many people who are looking to get a new business going, the first thing they say is “I need a website”! They start thinking about SEO and blogging and setting up social media so they can have their little icons on their website, what their logo should look like…
If you are just getting started in your new business, maybe even building it up as a side gig until it is making enough money for you to quit your day job, then the website is way down on the list of things you need to be thinking about at the early stages.
Even if you have explored the viability of your business idea, and know who it is you will be serving, your ideas still need to be validated You need to know that your process will deliver the results the client or customer is looking for. And, most of all, you need proof that it will, and proof that you can convert prospects into paying clients.
People do business with people they know, like and trust. We hear that all the time. Why? Because it is the truest truism in running a successful business.
The ‘trust’ element of that trio is very largely about being able to prove that you can get them results –
This you do by showing them you have already done it successfully for someone else – the Case Study. Without that you are going to run out of customers or clients very quickly.
Where a website WILL help is in the ‘know’ and ‘like’ parts. However, that doesn’t need to be anything but the most basic site to start with. Don’t worry about SEO – no amount of SEO is going to get you traffic at this stage, and even if it did, without the case study and validation of your process and offer, it won’t convert that traffic into paying clients.
All you need is a basic site – we suggest WordPress because it is easy to set up and use – and is likely to be the platform you use for more expansive site when you get to that stage (eventually you will need an assistant and most Virtual Assistants know WordPress).
Most importantly, it is free – at a time when you don’t need to be taking on unnecessary monthly expenditures. The platform and how you choose it deserves a post in its own right – there are a lot of competing choices out there and no end of people who will say you should use “this” or “that” for all sorts of valid sounding reasons – suffice it to say here, we recommend WordPress, hosted on a service that will include a domain name in the price – something like Bluehost.
The point is that when you first start out, no-one is going to find your website unless you send them there. But the people who you do send should be able to find out about who you are, what you are offering, and why you want to do what you are doing.
Have some basic content about the problem you are solving so that people will self identify that they are in the right place if they have that problem. Talk about how you can help them. And, most importantly, have a clear path for them to work with you – even is that is just providing a phone number and email address. That’s ALL you need at the start.
The one nod to technology we do advise you take at that early stage is to install Google Analytics and your Facebook Pixel so you can get information about the people who do visit your site and what they look at on your site in general. Tracking visitor numbers, average time on a page, and bounce rate, is a good habit to get into, right from the start. It will become all the more vital once you really get going.
This does mean creating a business page on Facebook – but, again, just set up the minimum viable business page – the same as the website – you don’t need to be posting regularly – yet.
Once you have validated your process, got a good client case study to demonstrate how effective you are in solving people’s problems, you start generating traffic to a webinar that generates calls, and you have your sales process down – only then should you be looking at upgrading your website, thinking about branding (based on your story), some core content based on the frequently asked questions that your clients ask, or objections they might have; and start looking at how SEO might help that content get found in searches etc.
That is the time you want to think about investing money into that process. Avoid web designers that are all about the design and look of your site – find ones that understand how a potential customer will react when they find the site – what that customer wants/needs to know – how easy is it for them to find the specific content they need – quickly – and how easy is it for them to take the next step towards working with you.
What can you offer for free that will get people on your email list?
Don’t overload them with information – they don’t want information – they want a solution – all content should lead to a call to action.
Putting a Facebook pixel on your website will ensure that people visiting your site, (and who are Facebook users, which is a LOT of people), will get the ad for the webinar retargeted to their Facebook feed – and so the loop is completed –
Facebook Ads > Webinar > Call
SEO > Website > to Pixel > Facebook Ads
But it is important to understand that there is a sequence to getting to that stage.
So many solopreneurs waste so much time and money by reversing the process and going all out on the technology, the website and the Facebook Ads before they have even validated their business and process. And then, when it doesn’t work, they blame the technology, often just calling-it-quits because they see people making a success of it where they are just failing.
It can work – you just need to follow the plan.
And following the plan is so much easier if you have someone who knows what they are doing, supporting you along the way, and showing you which steps along the path to take and when. It really makes the process quicker and far less stressful.
Hmmmm – now where would you find such helpful people?
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