Designers Don’t Build A Web Business Part 1

Who makes your business?
Does the builder of your office make your business work? Does the sign company make your business work? We would never suggest that any business is successful except for the efforts of the owner/entrepreneur, but when it comes to web sites we think differently.

Why would we think that a web designer will build us an online business? Just because they say they will make your site stand out in a crowd? Just because they say they will drive traffic to your web site?

Maybe.

Maybe we believe the marketing hype because we want to, and we want to because we don’t have the technical know-how to make our own web site. Well, we don’t have the building skills to construct our own office either and that never stopped us from building our business.

The lack of technical know-how is no reason to hand over control to a web designer who knows nothing about our business or the market we serve. In fact it is downright dangerous and costly to follow a web designers ideas about building a web business.

What does a web designer know?
A web designer, having graduated from a college course in web design, knows how to build a web site. They do not know how to build a business. And this is where most of us get off track. We think that once the web site is designed then we are in business.

Compare this to buying an automotive repair shop with the hydraulic lifts and compressor, the work bench and office, and we would call this a working auto repair shop – but it is not an auto repair business until WE make it so.

We accept the recommendations of web designers and web marketing people and then believe that that is all there is to running a web business. The experts sold us a working web site, not a working web business. In fact, they didn’t sell us much of anything at all.

A custom web design in the digital virtual reality is something of a laugh because nobody starts from scratch, at least not for us small business guys. And that is not going to change, but maybe we will realize when we are paying too much for recycled ideas and copied code.

You are the business
After our web design has been built the biggest part of making it a business is yet to come. After the web experts have been paid all we have is a shell, just like the auto repair shop. Everything works and functions just fine, but there’s still no business for our new web site.

Unfortunately, if we had listened to the web designers we would have filled our web pages with filler and not real content. Filler is just a bunch of talk about our products or services and what a great business we are and why everyone should buy from us.

Who really believes what a company says about itself? Why would anyone, even in the market, care about filler that is very suspect?

We have been tricked
While we have been following the logic of web designers we have missed the shear genius of our own information. We have been tricked into thinking only about ourselves instead of thinking about our market. And it is not just the web industry that tricked us this way – it is old school offline marketing & advertising that tricked us first.

Putting the focus on our market is both the heart and brains of a business web site. We must first put our knowledge and experience for solving problems into the business and then we must talk to our web market as though we know them by name. And we do know them by name when we address them as a group of like minded people.

Standing apart
If we were to put our clients first and speak to them about their problems and how we can help to solve those problems then we would be one of the first small business web sites to do so. Our web content would be very different from any of our competitors. Our keywords would be more specific to the problems we solve. We would be giving our market what they really want and our web marketing costs would drop like a stone.

If we were to ignore all the experts in the web industry and paid full attention to our market there would be a big shift in how we did business. This much is pretty obvious and it’s hard for us to deny the value of communicating directly to our market with what they want to know. But, it’s hard not to shake with a little fear about wandering away from the comfort of doing what everyone else is doing.

2 Considerations
#1) If our web designer didn’t build us a web business, then they haven’t build anyone else a web business. What this means is that by being true to our business we have no competition.

#2) The risk in financial costs of attracting our real web market is tiny and the time it takes to build this into a business is less than the time we have already spent spinning our wheels and listening to others.

To make a web business happen we need to be engaged with our market and not expect anyone else to make it happen for us. We can look for help and learn from others, but if we expect designers to build our web business for us it will just another cookie cutter web site as they do what they have been trained to do.

To take control of our web business we need to know what our web market wants and what they need from us. This is not so difficult to do. To understand any web market, and our market specifically, you can find insights in the article in this series titled “Designers Don’t Build A Web Business Part 2”

Look Out! Is Your Business on Auto-Pilot?

First there was the fax-on-demand…information received instantly by using a fax machine. Then the Internet evolved into the use of e-mail, producing email-on-demand with the use of autoresponders.

An autoresponder is just what the name implies. It is an auto response that is programmed to automatically deliver a specific message upon receiving the request.

Autoresponders allow your business to be operational around the clock 24 hours a day – 7days a week – 365 days a year. A good example is the Customer Service link provided on so many web sites.

Once you have sent your question or comment to the Customer Service link, you receive an auto-reply message acknowledging receipt of your message.

Autoresponder messages can by used in a variety of ways delivering your strategic information instantly to your targeted viewer /audience. Newsletters, sales information, free reports,
even ecourses, articles and tutorials are just a few of the ways autoresponders can be used effectively.

Follow up is critical to keeping your name, service or product in front of your prospects and clients. Autoresponders allow you to deliver your follow up messages automatically, specifically, and most importantly….timely, to your target audience!

Most all of us are familiar with signing up to receive news about impending sales or discounted items automatically from retail stores. Our e-mail address is entered into their mailing list and the requested information is automatically sent right back using an autoresponder.

But are you aware you also can send pre-determined messages with specific information related to your business, to your prospects and /or clients at pre-set intervals?

For example, let’s say a prospect, client or customer visited your web site and responds to a link on your site to receive more information on your services or products.

Immediately your first autoresponse message goes out thanking them for expressing an interest and giving them the basics on your services or products and any other information in their initial request.

A couple of days later your 2nd message automatically goes out. This is the perfect time to let them know about who you are, your experience, and what you do….your credentials and area of expertise.

A few days later (don’t wait too long), your 3rd message automatically goes out. This could be testimonials and feedback from clients or customers stating the positive experiences they have had as a result of doing business with you. This will associate value with your services.

A couple of days later your 4th message goes out with maybe a free offer, a free bonus, article, special report, or specific tips related to your services or products. If you have an online newsletter (ezine) this is an excellent time to offer a link to your free subscribe area.

Your 5th message could be your final (pitch) response message. Offer any additional products or services you may have that would be of benefit (solve their problem) to your client or customer. Usually by about the 4th or 5th message you have a new client or customer.

The number of messages sent is entirely up to you based on the information you are delivering. If you are offering a tutorial or an e-course for example there could be message for up to 6 weeks or longer. I recently subscribed to receive 89 messages (one a day for 89 days) on a specific subject.

A good impression to ending your response messages, and one more time your name being is front of your audience, is a short survey asking for feedback on your services or your products. This is an excellent way to receive testimonies for use on your web site or other marketing materials.

Using the above example, you can see how autoresponders keep your name and your specific information in front of your targeted prospects, clients, and customers making the critical follow up as easy as (message) 1, 2, 3.

For those of you interested in creating the autoresponder messages yourself for your business, here are the addresses of a few of the most widely used autoresponders:

http://www.getresponse.com,

http://www.sendfree.com,

http://www.aweber.com,

http://www.responders.com,

http://www.autoresponders.org,

http://www.freeautobot.com,

As you can see, having your business on auto pilot using an autoresponder means your time can be better spent marketing your business, creating new services or products (increasing your revenue), or enjoying more quality time with family and friends.

Autoresponders allow you to conduct this critical follow up part of your business to your targeted audience continuously and automatically with little upkeep on your part….allowing you to say, yes, your business IS on Auto-Pilot!

Opportunities Abound For Individuals And Businesses With Auto Body Repair Expertise

Collision repair is one of the largest sub-industries in the automotive industry today. With the continued increase in the number of motor vehicles on the road, the number cars and trucks damaged in accidents also continues to increase. This increase in the number of vehicles grows in line with the increase in the country’s population. In this vein, business and employment opportunities in collision repair continues to grow. These business opportunities include support businesses like supplying paint, paint booths, spray guns, auto body repair tools, lifts, hydraulic equipment, auto body parts, metal sheets and not least of which are the insurance companies. As a customer, you would deal only with the shop you take your car to, but behind the scenes, there is a long supply chain working to put your car back on the road.

An auto body shop would do well to tie up with dealerships and insurance companies as these are a steady source of referrals. With insurance companies or dealerships, the key to gaining their business is to prove that you have the expertise and equipment to undertake extensive collision repair work. This means a substantial outlay in tools and equipment, as well as a good relationship with parts, auto body repair and paint suppliers so that you can get needed supplies through a credit line.

But investing in even the best tools and equipment means nothing if you don’t have the skilled people to handle that equipment. And herein lies the opportunity for individuals who are interested in auto body repair and fabrication. Skills required in the auto body repair business include damage analysis and estimating, frame straightening, metal and body work fabrication and repair, glass replacement and painting and final detailing. If one invests in training and apprenticeship to gain the skills needed to become qualified, employment opportunities abound in the form of jobs at new and used car dealerships, independent repair shops, collision repair equipment manufacturers, insurance companies, paint and painting equipment suppliers, and even automobile graphics companies and manufacturers.

Auto body repair is not limited to knowing just the skills to effect collision repair. The best auto body specialists are totally dedicated to their craft and bring with them a passion to perform a thorough job each and every time. This means aligning gaps perfectly and ensuring that body lines and curves follow the original shapes to a tee. When you bring expertise and passion to this kind of work, it’s only a matter of time before you, as a business or an individual, begin to turn away customers because of the reputation you will have built with your excellent work.