I got the idea for this article from a short video from my friend, Neil Patel (I’ve embedded his 8-minute video below). Then I came up with the title. Since I’m a stickler for the meaning of words, I started thinking about the word “sabotage”. I actually looked it up, just to be sure it correctly demonstrated what I was trying to say. Sadly, it does.
The definition of sabotage is “deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something)”. So, then I began thinking, how could a website do that? It’s just a website, right? It has no feelings, no “I’m out to get you” mantra.
Well, your website is not actually sabotaging you. I’m sorry to say: you are. Let me ask you: What do you expect your website to be? Is it merely a calling card? Do you think people who go there want to find out more about you? If so, do you have enough for them to want to “call” you? Do you think someone will stumble upon your website and think, “Wow! They’re great! I should give this person a call!”? Not likely.
Neil hits the nail on the head – you need your website to make money for you – one way or another. Otherwise, why have a website, right? In fact, I meet entrepreneur-wannabees all the time who don’t think a website is important because they haven’t figured out how it will actually benefit them. It’s hard to think outside the website box when you are inside the box.
Maybe you already have a website as you are reading this, or maybe you are thinking about building one (or having someone build it for you). Before you start overthinking it, here’s a brief synopsis of some of the points that Neil makes:
Who is your audience?
Ask yourself – who are you trying to reach with your website. You can’t be all things to all people. If you focus, you’ll go further – I promise! I know this is a hard concept for some to grasp. You constantly ask yourself – “why should I leave money on the table?”. The simple truth is – you aren’t. You can still do whatever you want, but your message has to be laser-focused or you will never get off the ground – I actually can almost guarantee it.
What is their problem?
Once you have identified your audience – what can you do to make their life better? What is their big problem? How would they complete this sentence: “My life/business would be so much better if only _____ !”
If you know the issue, you’ll be able to solve it much more easily.
But wait – it’s not that easy!
Knowing who and what gets you most of the way there, but remember – that person doesn’t know you yet. Does your website give someone a really good idea of the person/company that you are? Does it really showcase your expertise?
Probably not. It’s not enough to have a home page full of fancy-schmancy words, and an “about me/us” page full of more fancy words, touting your fancy degrees and fancy awards.
The truth is, no one will necessarily trust you these days, just because you say you have fancy anything. I’ve seen plenty of people who have fancy accolades, and they are “dumb as dirt”. In truth, that might make me trust them less.
What can you do?
Neil tells you – create a funnel, with your website as the first step. Give them something to download for free (in exchange for their email address) that already answers their problem and gives a better idea of who you are and how you can help them. In fact, this download should provide so much free value, that the reader can’t help but begin to warm up to you.
But that’s still not enough. A series of emails giving them more information – videos, tips, ideas, “industry insider information” – gives them an even greater opportunity to see you not only as an expert, but as a giving, human person with a lot to share. Sprinkled in there will be triggers to help them get ready to buy. There’s more than one way for this to work, depending on your business.
Bottom line – no one is simply going to sign up for your newsletter because you have a little form on your website. If you already have a newsletter sign-up form on your website, answer this: how often has someone actually clicked on it? A few times?
Start looking at what a funnel could look like for you. I have included a link on my reading resources page to a book by Nathan Williams that might help give you more direction.