Every business wants and needs a website, search engine and social media presence in order to generate new prospects and sales. Many businesses will pay good money to build an online presence with the expectation that a website, social media and a search engine like Google will bring lots of willing buyers to their business at a substantial profit. But most times that doesn’t happen.
I can remember a few years ago when I owned my web design business I was meeting with a rather large company who wanted all kinds of specific bells and whistles and advanced capabilities, but they wanted it at a bargain basement price.
They also wanted to generate massive leads on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and they expected to grow their business 300% in one year just from their online presence.
Okay, those are great goals, but I tried to persuade them of how to go about doing it right and for the long haul. Needless to say they weren’t going to be a good fit for me after investing several days talking through the strategies, goals and objectives to make it happen.
Of course the sticking point was the price. Like I said they wanted bargain basement prices.
In the end, they spent more money with another and ended up firing them in six months due to non-performance. But was there more to it than that?
Over my ten years of entrepreneurship in web design, development and social media I’ve met business owners who hired and fired their web designers, SEO and social media vendors faster than they could hire them.
Who was really to blame for the non-performance of their internet marketing? Is it the marketing company or the client?
I haven’t thought about this in a while until I read a really interesting article on web.search.social by Ralph Rivera titled “Good Search Engine Marketing May Be Bad For You”.
I will have a few ideas to share and expand upon what Ralph wrote. So after reading my article I hope you’ll check out his article. He has some wise words of advice to offer.
So if you are in the industry or if you are a business who will hire someone in the internet marketing industry in the future, I encourage you to read the remainder of the article. I think you will be enlightened better of for understanding who is really to blame when internet marketing goes bad.
Why the Web Team is to Blame
So let’s be brutally honest here… I’ve met and known hundreds of web designers, SEO and social media companies over the years and many of them are really gifted and talented because they have taken the time to learn their craft.
But while they are great at their craft they are not so great in their businesses many times and they especially struggle as a result in understanding another business. It’s what Michael Gerber in his Emyth book series describes as the business owner who is just really an employee inside his or her own company.
They are good at what they do but they are not good at being a business owner due to a lack of training, mentoring and experience.
That can lead to a great company being fired unnecessarily!
Do You Really Understand What Business You’re In?
One reason these professionals struggle so much is because they don’t really know what business they are in.
You are not merely a web designer who can create a great looking website.
- You are not merely an SEO company who can drive traffic to a website from Google with keywords and optimized website pages.
- You are not merely a social media company who understands how to find people to follow a Facebook or Twitter page.
- You are much, much more than that!
You are the people behind the face of a company who needs your services to survive, grow and make a difference in their business for:
- Their families
- Their employees families
- Their local communities
- Their vendors businesses
- Their prospects and customers
If you think your job is to just know and keep up with the technology, then you’re in the wrong business. You have to know your business and you have to manage and run it well. You have to learn basic human psychology and most importantly you have to learn how to listen to what each and every prospect is really saying.
In Ralph’s article he shares why an SEO company was fired who did exactly what they said they were going to do for their client. If you’ve been around for any length of time the client probably said something like this in the sales process:
“I want to be found on search engines.”
But what were they really saying? Did you listen closely to them or did you know enough to trigger a response from you. You know they want new site visitors, but why?
It’s all about sales for a company, right? That is the bottom line. How much did I spend to acquire a prospect and what is my profit?
At its most basic level that’s all a business really wants!
Unfortunately, marketing and sales is confused all of the time. They are not the same as I explained in this detailed article titled “What is the Difference Between Marketing and Sales?”
Marketing in its most basic form is connecting with people in such a way that they want to learn more. You are educating, sharing and engaging in building your competency.
Sales is giving people the opportunity to buy. (Please read the article I mentioned above before you dispute this basic claim, it will make more sense) It’s really that simple to understand but more obviously more complex to execute.
Ralph got it exactly right! What they are really saying is I want more sales and I know that leads in numbers will lead to a certain percentage of new sales.
If you’re a web designer, SEO or social media vendor it’s your job to listen to and understand what is really being said.
When we don’t hear what our prospects are really saying or we don’t ask the right questions we set ourselves up for failure and rightly take the blame for not fully understanding what the client is really wanting.
We also set ourselves up for failure by not educating our prospects and clients on how the internet holistically works and how one area of internet marketing affects another.
This happens because we are so laser focused on our areas of specialty that we neglect the broader areas that the client expects you to know or believes you know whether you verbalized it or not.
How Can a Web Design, SEO and Social Media Company Solve This Problem?
The first thing is to really know your business:
- What business are you “really” in?
- What “specific” problems do you solve?
- Who do you “specifically” solve them for?
- How are your products or services a “part” of a solution
The second thing I do is I email them a questionnaire with anywhere from 3 to seven questions before a sales meeting. I want them to think about whom they are and what they want out of the technology. I must receive it at least 24 hours before our meeting so that they feel I’m prepared to meet with them.
Each company I coach has different questions depending on their business and areas of emphasis. One question on the list ought to always be:
“What do you expect from… (your website… SEO… social media)”
This will help guide you ahead of time so that you can deal with and answer their questions effectively or their preconceived ideas that might be harmful to themselves and your future business relationship.
The third thing is that you can create a very simple and dynamic presentation for the sales meeting that walks them through what you do and what they can expect from you and the service. I include the basic concepts of how the internet works and what your general strategies and goals are for your clients and how you help them.
After covering the presentation (I like it to stay around fifteen minutes) I then pull out their questionnaire and start covering it with them.
This is what will separate you from 90% of your competition, and the prospect told you ahead of time what you needed to know so that you have the time to really address any issues or concerns.
The key for a web designer, SEO or social media company is to really make sure you did your due diligence and that you well educated your prospect or new client. The most uncomfortable situation in business is when you didn’t do a good job of educating and you have to have the “conversation.”
No one should be fired for doing what they do well because the definitions, terms and expectations that was not well presented or laid out.
If you get fired, it’s probably your own fault for either:
- Not educating well enough and therefore creating unrealistic expectations both said and unsaid.
- Not communicating well during your production.
- Not delivering on your expectations or promises.
The first one happened in the sales process and the following two happened because of lack of competency in your production cycles.
Remember, your prospects don’t know what they don’t know. It’s up to you to inform and educate them.
One thing I enjoy doing is helping web designers, SEO and social media companies via coaching and consulting. If you want to learn more about how to build a long-term, scalable and growing business in this industry, I would love to learn how I can help you.
Check out my coaching program designed specifically for the internet marketing industries and how I can help you grow your business!
Why the Client is to Blame
So you think you know your business. You may be shocked at how much you really don’t know. The internet is forcing us to change and think differently about our businesses and customers in a very different but positive way.
As I explained in this article The Decline of Content Blogging in a Context Age, the internet is allowing us to directly influence our prospects and customers by being able to specifically address their problems, needs and make a difference in their lives.
But how can I do that if all I know is what I do?
You’re clients don’t care about what you do and don’t think like you do as a business owner. They want or need something for a very specific reason or cause. Good salesmanship is giving people a reason to buy. Are you really doing that or are you just offering something and competing on price.
I can’t tell you how many sales meetings over the years I’ve had where a business thinks they know my industry better than I do. I’ve even asked a few why they need me? Why not just hire a high school kid to build them a website for a few hundred bucks?The truth is you don’t know what you don’t know.
You and the vendor you hire are setup for failure when you know it all and are unwilling to listen and learn. Of course you should be respected as the business owner or decision maker and all decisions are yours to make. But shouldn’t those decisions be informed ones?
You may be going through lots of web designers, SEO or social media vendors because you’ve set yourself up as the expert and then hired a bunch of “professionals” who are desperate for money and sales and will just give you want you want without giving you options, suggestions or ideas that are better than your own because you don’t know. Maybe they aren’t offering any new ideas because they are too uneducated or uninformed to know? That’s why they are cheap!
If I can see right out of the gate that you think you know more than me but you don’t even know what business you’re really in, there is no way I’m working with you. It won’t end well for me and that’s just a fact. It’s my reputation that will be hurt, not yours.
Knowing what you want is one thing, but 99% of the time you don’t have a real idea of how to get there. Brainstorming, creating strategies, goals and objectives is critical to your online success.
But you’re no different than any other business in that you have to know:
- What business you’re “really” in – how would you tell me what you do in a way that I can relate to you in fifteen seconds? This is not a tell me what you do moment… I really don’t care and neither do people who don’t know you.
- What problems do you “specifically” solve? I guarantee you that you are missing dozens or hundreds of potential customers who have problems you solve and you’re not even aware of it.
- Who do you “specifically” solve them for? You have a primary, secondary and other audiences who will be buyers or people who send you business that today you are not even remotely aware of. (I really explain the different audiences it in this post titled “Help! I Don’t Understand Why My Content Marketing Isn’t Getting Better Results”)
- How are your products or services a “part” of a solution?
It’s not fair to blame a great company for a lack of results if you don’t know your business and can’t give a web designer, social media or SEO company what they need to help you succeed. Sure, they might be able to drive traffic to you based on what you gave them to work with.
But, that doesn’t mean your prospects are going to stay on your website, engage with you, want to talk to or buy from you.
That’s up to you! You have to learn your business and give them the tools they need to present you the right way.
The reality is your marketing team needs your help!!!!
They cannot do something for you that you have not done for yourself. So the next time you go to fire a vendor that you hired the truth is it is really on you so long as the issue was not one where they overpromised and undelivered or they are just good at sales but are incompetent in production.
If you really know your business and your prospects and customers, then you can position yourself for long-term sustainability and growth.
What should you expect from a company you hire?
- They will do what they said they will do and they will put it in writing.
- They will work with you to create strategies, measurable and specific goals, and tell you how they are going to execute them (objectives).
- Regular and consistent communication.
- Regular meetings to share reports, results, and changes to strategies
In the end who is really to blame for a lack of performance or results when it comes to your website, SEO and social media?
The company who did the hiring and firing!
You have to know your business. There is just simply no way around it and I have learned in over ten years that the overwhelming majority of businesses are too busy blaming someone or something else for the lack of results they want.
If you want real results, then really do the hard work and lay a foundation the right way instead of winging it. It’s hard work in the beginning but the payoff is huge!!!
If you want to learn more about how to lay that foundation visit my Begin Here page and take the first step!
Do you have a thought, idea or comment you would like to contribute? If so, please share with me in the comments and let’s chat.