The reason for having a website is to start a marketing conversation. Look at your website, does it make that conversation possible? Does it have information on how the prospect can contact you? That is good. Now answer this: does it leave a way for you to contact the prospect? So many people build their websites without any means of collecting prospects’ information. There are three basic things that not only every site must have, but every page on every website must have: 1) a phone number; 2) an email address; and 3) an opt-in box.
Most therapist sites have the first two. But few of the ones I’ve looked at have all three. There isn’t much to say about phone numbers. But I do have a few things to say about email and opt-ins.
One thing I say over and over to people is that the email address you use professionally must be a professional email. If the email you do business with is email@example.com, you do not have a professional email. If it is firstname.lastname@example.org, you still do not have a professional email. It is very simple and very inexpensive to get your own domain name. In fact, I have more than one company. Whenever I have to create a new company, I begin doing a domain search. I come up with a name, and then I find out if it is available with a .com. Once you have purchased a domain (the cost is about $10 for one year), you can then have an email address that reads, email@example.com. This is the kind of email address that exudes professionalism. You need to view this as non-optional. In this sophisticated net-savvy and net-dependent world, having a .com is a minimum requirement.
Opt-in boxes are those small forms on a web page where the company gets basic information. At the very least, you want to gather first and last name and email addresses. Because spam laws are now so stringent, it is important that you use a service to handle your email list. You cannot just go and get emails and start marketing to people. People have to opt-in to your list. A service will keep track by getting enough information to show that the email address was obtained voluntarily. These services also have auto-responders, which will send out an email or a series of emails to the prospect. If you want to send out a newsletter, it is crucial that you use one of these services that begin at about $10 a month. This way, you are able to continue to have contact with someone new who has visited your site.
The best way to get someone to give you their email is to have something of value to offer in return. This is why I offer a very valuable and helpful mini e-course. This course alone, if followed wholeheartedly, will make a huge difference in someone’s business. It is based on Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid,” and give exercises that help you bring your business to the next level. You might ask, why give something so valuable–then they won’t need you? If you are willing to give value, whether or not your prospect is going to buy, then they will visit again. It takes at least 8 contacts with a prospect before they even considering buying.
Now, you believe that what you are selling is of great value to the prospect. Therefore, you are doing them a service by bringing them back to the site and informing them with each visit. You are doing them a service by having repeated contact, because it is moving them toward buying from you what they need–your excellent therapy. So ask yourself, “What can I give away that will be of value to my prospect?” Write up a 4-page report about the type of therapy you give. If you’re not a writer, have someone write it for you. Now, when someone opts in, you will have a PDF file to send them that is filled with valuable information, and you will have a way to get in touch with a prospective client.
As I said in opening this blog post: the purpose of a website is to start a marketing conversation. A conversation requires two parties. Most websites are one-sided. They provide information, but no means to have a dialogue. I hope that this blog entry has raised a lot of questions in your mind. I invite you to ask me. I am very accessible on Facebook–just use the chat button on the lower right (you have to be my Facebook friend first). Or send me a message to my inbox. Also, I post very valuable information on my fan page: www.facebook.com/thegrowingpractice. Your success is my mission, and to that end, I’ve made myself a very available resource.
If you are truly committed to moving your business forward, and from what you learned in this blog you realize that your website is lacking in some way, I have a special offer for you. Send me an email with your URL, and I will review it and give you feedback. I will not pull any punches. I will be totally honest about your site. But the feedback I give you will move you ahead by light years.
‘Til the next post,