I have had several conversations over the past few weeks with business owners whom don’t believe that they need a website. I am totally blown away by this! There are several common threads amongst these business owners. Some of them don’t think their customers are online. Others think it takes too much time. Still others simply do not make it a priority in their budget.
The average reader would challenge me at this point and say “Yea…but you make websites as part of your business; so of course you are pro websites”. I think one of the important considerations for this is to quickly look at the wild success of Michael Hyatt’s book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World in the last few months. Hyatt discusses how the center of your online presence starts with your brand’s website. He calls it your “Homebase”.
My business buddy Michael Thomas of MikefromMain.com points out that we are all on a plethora of email lists.
How many lists are you on? No clue? Me neither. A lot of the time we sign up to email lists and then immediately our inboxs get filled with affiliate offers and crap. If you’re anything like me you quickly unsubscribe and get that junk out of your inbox. I like my list to be different. How so?
I try to treat every single person on my list as an individual and not just a number. If someone sends me an email I respond. Sure, it may not be a long response, but I acknowledge their question and try to point them in the right direction.
Why do I need a website?
Websites build relationships!
MikefromMaine recommends responding to every comment your website receives. As your audience grows, and as your business grows this may become increasingly difficult. You may need to take a cue from Hyatt’s website and develop community leaders that assist with this responsibility.
But in oder to get to that level of relationship, you have to do something first.
I think this is where many of the naysayers get hung up. They think that a website is impersonable. Especially if you have an email list there is an easy way you can transition your list (and your website) from the bland, empty, and non-value adding list that we typically un-subscribe from.
Send a personal email!
Mike Thomas says:
Every time someone subscribes to my list I get a message from Aweber. Most people just archive or delete that message, but I use it to help start building a relationship with my list immediately.
I use a free service called Rapportive that shows me more information about the person on the right side of my Gmail screen. Based on the new subscriber’s email I can learn what their Twitter is, what they look like, their Facebook, LinkedIn, their job, and their location. Now what good is this? I use this information to send them a customized welcome email. Yes, I copy and paste part of it, but I add in something special about them in the first line of the email so they know it’s not an autoresponder.
I’ll give you an example:
Let’s say I sign up for your list. You’ll then get an email that looks like this: Click on it and take a look.
On the right-hand side Rapportive gives us a ton of useful information about Mike From Maine. First off we can see his picture. It seems that recently he has swum with dolphins. Big whoop, right. Wrong. It’s useful. But let’s continue on. He’s from Bangor, Maine. He’s a niche website designer and self employed. His Twitter is mikefrommaine, and we can also see some recent updates about sites for sale. It seems like he has a Facebook account and a LinkedIn.
So there’s a lot of information here, so what can you do with it?
Here’s the message I send all my new subscribers:Thanks for joining my niche site course.I was wondering if you have any niche sites already.Do you have any specific questions about making money with niche websites?That message could easily just be a Thank-you message in an autoresponder. Most people would just ignore it. I put a twist on it. With the information taken from Rapportive I can send the following message:Mike,How’s the weather in Bangor today?It looks like you had a great time swimming with dolphins. I’ve always wanted to do that but I’ve never had the opportunity. How was it?I’ve also checked out your sites for sale. How much does it cost you to make each one?I’ve added you on Facebook and Twitter so I’ll be keeping an eye on you.By the way ,thanks for joining my niche site course.I was wondering if you have any niche sites already. Do you have any specific questions about making money with niche websites?
Mike goes on to point out that there is an obvious difference between the first and second examples.
So you are left with a choice. You can choose to have an impersonable email list where people label your messages as bulk and unsubscribe. Or, you can build relationships by taking an extra 30 seconds to acknowledge that a person is on the other side of that email address…both your emaill address and theirs!
Your goal should be to engage your new subcriber!
I don’t need a website because I am on Facebook!
Uh huh…we will tackle that one in “I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Website: Fallacy Two”.
Do you have an email list for your website? Why or why not?
Do you feel that you have a responsibility to build a relationship with those that engage with you online?
Leave your comments below!