In a discussion with our brand marketing team (whilst looking at another hack job/money grab/swindle or whatever you want to call it) it dawned on me there is a pandemic of really bad websites built by people who have no intention of fixing them.

Now, I’m not referring to someone who is brave enough to start a company in their bedroom or their kitchen or even on their sofa because that’s the most viable starting place. No. What I’m hitting on is unskilled website builders charging a huge amount of money (5K) for a bespoke website when in reality it is a template purchased off the internet for $69.

The trouble with templates is that as you scale the developer ‘breaks’ the site to accommodate changes that a proper build would cope with and the ‘developer’ has no idea how to fix it. At this point the developer AKA the bedroom bandit disappears from view to comb social media networks, on the lookout for their next victim. 

So, what exactly should you expect when you approach a new website build? Please note – I have nothing against templates! For certain seasons and in certain reasons they can make sense! But if you’re looking to avoid being fleeced by bandits, read on…

A website is ONE tool in the marketing toolbox, not ALL:

A common misconception is that without a website a company is doomed. For small businesses a Facebook page is often the best place to start. Why? Investing in a website takes belief, and if obtaining more customers helps increase your belief then start gathering them through a Facebook page. Now, if you really want to go BIG and already have the confidence or the existing client base, investing in a website makes a lot of sense, especially when you lead with message. The best way to look at your website investment budget is to ask yourself this question: “Does your budget meet your belief?” 

Often, when we ask what a potential client’s budget is, and they say ‘low’, it actually means that they have a low belief in their project – when you build a website you’ve got to see it in terms of the number of sales it will generate. For instance, if you charge 5K for a coaching programme and a technical teaching site costs close on 20k along with funnels etc., you need to know you can sell more than 4 coaching programmes! If you don’t believe you can, then adjust your investment and requirements.

In a similar vein, if you want a BMW, and you don’t have the belief for one, then you might need to adjust your aspirations and drive a mid level Ford for  a season. It serves you, but the experience is limited.

While websites are not the be ALL and end all, they demonstrate credibility and that can make ALL the difference.

A website should have a story, not just be a directory of your services

A lot of people want a website straight away but what they actually need is a brand first. Brand is more than a logo, a logo doesn’t make you unique. What makes you unique isn’t always the services you offer either, it’s more about your story. Sharing your story creates empathy and that provides an entrance point to talk about how you can help the potential client. Testimonies and case studies show who you are working for, while regularly sharing mini stories with insights, via a blog, enhances your authority.

When people know your story, they are more interested in how you can help them craft theirs. If you tell your story enough you might even get asked to write a book. Speaking of which, why not check out The Crisis Catalyst?

A website should give something of value away for FREE:

On that whole information piece, a website should collect data. Why? To keep you in contact with your people. Not everyone will do business with you, but the value you offer will help your sector to flourish. It creates confidence. This is why I’m addressing ‘bedroom bandits’(!) It’s because when we give away value and insights, it builds trust. One of the first barriers to doing business in marketing is when people have been stung by ‘marketing’ and the trust issues that follow

In the early days, when we used to add value and someone ran away with our ideas without spending a penny with us we’d get a bit sad. Now, older and a bit wiser, we know that we’re here to serve and not to sell. I give away far more than I charge for but that is, I believe, why many of our clients have worked with us for years. Those that continue to simply take get found out. Do good, great happens, do bad, stuff happens!
 
When you are value led, you become valuable. Aside from building brands and websites we are well networked and we have opened many doors for our clients, answered many questions without invoicing for it and widened our circles of influence.
 
A website should work and be invested in monthly:
Your website is a living, breathing thing. Plug-ins need updating, content needs writing regularly and the behaviour of users should dictate the evolution of the site as it scales. If you are not investing in your website regularly then people won’t come back, you won’t be collecting email addresses and your business will lose hundreds of opportunities.
 
The return of investment starts with data and getting ‘dates’ rather than immediate transactions. The website is part of the journey, but if you don’t follow up on the leads, answer the chat or call someone back, you’re missing the point. Websites create traction and should involve more than one transaction. While people will check you out on LinkedIn to see who you are, your website should reveal more depth – why you exist and how you make a difference. Investing monthly means you are committed to marketing. Learn to play the long game. Consistency fuels visibility.
 
A website should be scalable:
We often get caught up in the now rather than in the journey to Wow! Businesses change and size up. Cre8ion has changed and scaled since we launched out in 2016. Five years on, we are creating some amazing new things that take brand and build community. Belief is amazing, but ‘a sense of belonging’ means traction. That is why we are getting closer to launching our Purpose People platform. The focus is on helping thousands of people double down on purpose and tell their story the right way. We want to influence a landscape, not just a back garden. We exist to help people build purposeful brands.
 
Our Purpose People platform is not far off, in the meantime sign up to our Facebook group here!
 
Lastly…
‘Bedroom bandits’ chase the money to feed their habits. Cre8ion focus on adding value to an industry and whilst doing so we get paid for dedicated projects, we help businesses scale and celebrate the success of others. We exist to make impact first and we’ll help you maximise your time, talent and treasure for the greater good.
 
So, don’t get hung up on the method, first address your message to give your website momentum. Avoiding ‘bedroom bandits’ means you can instil strong marketing habits!

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