I am sure you’ve heard it before…

“I’ve been talking with several other companies and they are telling me they can do the same thing for half the price.”

My question is…

“Can they really?”

No matter what industry you are a part of the same rules apply. There are companies out there that get it and companies that don’t. When I think back to the beginning days of Mindscape and compare it to the current time there are vast differences. We  have improved our skills, added more talented staff, increased our product offerings, and most importantly added years of experience to our intellectual capital.

Web development can be approached in many different ways and there are multiple ways to solve the same problem.  The more experience a company has, typically translates into a more efficient solution which takes into account all the potential hurdles and issues which could arise down the road. The only way these companies get to the point where they can overcome the hurdles and arrive at an efficient solution is from making mistakes early on and correcting them.  Some companies just never learn and in the long run just go away.

Experience and delivering past positive results has a tremendous amount of value.  It can save you hours and hours of frustration and more importantly many lost customers.

The question you ask yourself shouldn’t be “How little can it possibly cost me to get this done?”

Let’s look at it for a moment.  You are looking to maximize your online potential and revenue with your website.  Do you truly think that the “low bid” is the best answer?  Do you seriously think that $5,000 is going to provide you with a solution that is going to bring millions to your bottom line?

The money you’ll make by choosing a company with an excellent track record and PROVABLE results will be much greater than the money you will potentially lose by being a “test case” for a company that “says” they can give you exactly what you are looking for at a much lower cost.

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Many companies simply put a website online giving information they believe is important and expect it to create revenue for them.  The old saying, “build it and they will come” isn’t true on the Internet.  Sure, there are some companies which have created products that have caught on in a huge way and have become overnight successes on the Internet but, these really weren’t “overnight” successes.  These companies took the time to do things the correct way.

There are specific ingredients required to have a successful online presence.

INGREDIENT ONE

Understand your buyers so you know what problems they are looking to solve and speak to them in the language they speak and understand.

  • If you knew your clients were primarily Spanish speaking you wouldn’t build a website which was written in English would you? It is imperative to take the time to understand exactly who your buyers are, how they prefer to consume information, what problems they are looking to solve, and how they talk.  Never assume your visitors are familiar with all the “industry jargon” and acronyms you hear from day to day.  If your visitors can’t easily digest the information you are presenting to them on your website, they will quickly click on the back button and visit the next site on the list.  Think about the times you’ve met a salesperson that you had a lot in common with and you seemed to be on the same page.  I am sure you’ve found it much easier to open your checkbook and buy what they were selling.  The web is an excellent way to do exactly that.  If your visitors can easily understand what you are saying and feel as if you completely understand their issues, they’ll feel confident that you can deliver the solution.

INGREDIENT TWO
A professional presence which accurately matches your offline brand.

  • Consistency is key!  When someone is looking at your offline marketing materials and happens upon your website, you want them to immediately know they are at the right spot.  Also, a professional appearance will assist you in gaining instant credibility with your visitor.  Especially if this is the first exposure they have to your company. If your website has a poor visual appearance and looks cluttered your visitors will possibly think the same of your company. I am not saying it is important to have all the bells and whistles and flashy movement on your site, in fact, that can simply overwhelm your visitors.  It is better to have a simple, clean website which presents your information in a professional manner.

INGREDIENT THREE

Easy navigation so your visitor can easily find what they are looking for.

  • How many times have you arrived at a store where you know exactly what it is you are looking for but can’t find it? When you’ve found yourself in this position you simply locate an employee to point it out to you.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find someone, but you’ve already taken the time to go to that particular store and the chances of you leaving before making an attempt to locate your item is significantly lower.  On the web it is much too easy to hit the back button on the browser and arrive at another store within seconds.  This can be a frightening thought unless you pay attention and keep it in mind when having your site developed.

INGREDIENT FOUR

Give your visitors a way to convert themselves into a prospect, lead, or sale.

  • Having a site telling your visitors all about your company, products, and how you can help them solve their problems is great unless you don’t give them an opportunity to let you know they want what you have.  Don’t put yourself in a position where you’ve filled them in and then count on them to pick up the phone and call you, or locate the “contact us” link to send you an email.  It is important to have calls to action strategically located throughout the site.  The easier you make it for your visitors to tell you what they want and need, the higher your conversion rate will be.  Your website can be an excellent way to allow your visitor to get 90% of their questions answered and if you make it easy enough, they can easily tell you exactly what they want.  I don’t know about you, but if I talk to prospects where I only have to do 10% of the sales effort, I am a happy guy.

INGREDIENT FIVE

Take the time and make the effort to get the word out to your potential buyers so they can find you.

  • The Internet is an incredible communication medium.  There are over 650,000,000 searches conducted on the Internet every single day.  The people conducting these searches are telling you EXACTLY what they are looking for and you have an opportunity to serve them up with the perfect answer.  Obviously you’ll need to know what they are looking for and what these issues are before they type it in.  The beauty of the Internet is this information can be found easily!  With so much search volume being conducted, you can get an extremely accurate idea of how many visitors you can expect to get based on the individual search terms you are focusing on.  An excellent opportunity exists amongst all businesses to stake their claim and dramatically increase their online business.  83% of all small to midsize businesses aren’t spending any time or money on search engine marketing.  It is incredibly easy to become one of the top 20% by simply doing something.  If you have a solid website as your foundation which is easy to navigate and makes it very easy for your visitors to tell you they are interested, all you need to do is drive the traffic there and expose as many visitors as you can.  They are telling you what they want; now simply show them you have the answer. Unlike traditional advertising you can get free traffic by building your website pages correctly so the search engines find your site and information relevant.  If you do choose to participate in pay per click campaigns you only pay when someone visits your website.  What a novel concept…paying ONLY for results!  If you approach your website project properly you’ll find you can create incredibly targeted traffic and your conversion rate will soar.

INGREDIENT SIX

Take the time to create a plan for your online presence.

  • Successful companies take the time to establish a business plan so they have a step by step roadmap for their business activities.  They have clearly defined goals so they can measure their level of success and make decisions based on their success in reaching these goals. Your online presence should be no different! Determine exactly what you want to accomplish with your online presence. The most effective process for setting your goals is to determine how much revenue you’d like your website to produce for you.  It is very important to set a very specific number.  Once you’ve determined this goal, figure out what each buyer will represent dollar wise.  It is easy to determine your average annual customer value by taking your total sales volume and dividing it by the number of customers you’ve billed over the past 12 months.  Once you’ve figured out this number you’ll know exactly how many customers you’ll need to gain over the next 12 months to hit your goal.  Sounds simple huh?  It is!  The problem is a high percentage of companies don’t take the time to do this simple exercise.  Companies typically just pull a number out of the air and have no idea of what it will take to hit it.  Don’t be one of those companies!

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post and I’ve been itching to find a few minutes to share all that’s been going on. We held our SEO Success Seminar January 24th and that has kept me extremely busy. The seminar was a huge success! We were able to spend the morning with over 30 local companies and shared with them how to develop a successful web strategy through following The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

The Crowd at the Mindscape SEO Success Seminar

In the web development world there is an immense amount of competition and many types of companies.

There are companies which primarily focus on programming and when you see their sites you can typically identify them quickly, as the sites aren’t the most visually pleasing. They have incredible functionality, but they don’t really engage the visitor in a very user friendly way.

There are other companies which develop beautiful websites which effectively convey the companies brand on the web. The sites which come from these companies typically look great, but don’t progress much further than a company brochure. They usually don’t have many “calls to action” and any functionality is pretty much non existent. Companies that truly understand how to translate a companies offline brand to the web effectively are relatively few and far between. These skills typically don’t reside with the “programmer type” companies, so although the brand is carried through effectively, the functionality needed to help the visitor enter the buying process doesn’t exist.

The third type of web development company are the marketers. There is an emerging group of independent Internet marketers on the web. The quality and skills of these marketers vary greatly and so do the results you’ll receive. There are companies out there promising the world and delivering very little, and other companies which are delivering tremendous results. These companies produce sites that market correctly to the buyer personas the companies are trying to reach, but these sites are usually designed on blog software platforms and are completely dependent on a patch work of third party software. This isn’t a horrible thing, but it limits the ability to translate the company brand and can create a very clunky and inefficient administrative process.

Presenting at the Mindscape SEO Success Seminar

Over the years Mindscape has been very aware of the vast differences between these types of companies and we have built our company with the goal of being all three types wrapped in one. We work with companies from the point of setting their Internet revenue goals, finding and profiling the buyer personas they are trying to reach, doing keyword research to help them reach their buyers at the moment they are looking to buy, and developing a solid website which effectively communicates their company brand. We also make sure the website is very user friendly and walks the visitors through the buying process efficiently and is constructed in a very search engine friendly manner. Once the site has been finished we work with the companies on the creation and implementation of their Internet Marketing strategy.

We’ve had tremendous results over the years and have helped clients increase their revenue by millions of dollars and on average increased their traffic by over 300%! With all the competing companies in our industry it is sometimes difficult to stand out and show you are the real deal. We’ve decided the best way to do this is to share the knowledge we’ve accumulated over the years and in most cases we can consult with companies and show them how to effectively drive boat loads of traffic to their sites and convert that traffic into revenue. The beauty is we can teach them how to do it without the need of hiring a Web company to do it for them.

We’ve decided to stand out from the crowd by sharing what we know and helping as many companies stake their claim on the Web as we can. I am sure you can do the same in your industry. Let me know if you’ve experienced the same.