Q: “I need a new website but in the meantime I want to keep collecting names to build my list. Currently, when people go to my website, they’ll see a sign ‘Under Construction.’ Any other suggestions?”
A. It’s happening a lot these days.
You get invited to connect with someone on Facebook or LinkedIn. You get intrigued by their idea. You want to learn more.
So you ask the natural question, “Where’s your website?”
And you hear, “It’s not ready yet.” One business owner actually told me, “It’s going to take a few months.”
Months?! That person needs a new website specialist. Is this the time to share what I do?
You’re a small business. You want a big online presence. You want to start generating leads and building relationships.
But your website isn’t ready yet. So what do you do?
It’s tempting to hang out an “Under Construction” page. The practice is so common you’ll even find templates to help you.
But you don’t get much benefit from this page. People rarely bookmark anything these days.
Besides, visitors feel they’ve arrived for a party while the caterer is still setting up. They don’t know what to do and often wander off to another event.
(1) Get your domain name registered. The longer a domain name is in use, the more credit you get for longevity with the search engines. I have sites that still get traffic simply because they’ve been around forever.
(2) Create a simple giveaway (a/k/a lead magnet). Use a compelling title like, “5-Step Training To End Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety (So You Won’t Drive Your Neighbors Crazy And You Get To Keep Your Home”). Or “7 Guidelines To Choosing A Lawyer To Write Your Will.”
(3) Sign up with a mail service like Mail Chimp or Mad Mimi that offers a free or low-cost option. You can move later. (Mad Mimi offers more responsive service, as far as I can tell.)
(4) Create a simple but attractive landing page website. These days you can use a simple program like Lead Pages. (I just got them and love them: so easy!) You can just set up a page via WordPress.
(5) Don’t want to go that far? Use your domain name to redirect to a Facebook page. Post the availability of your giveaway.
(6) Want a little more? Set up a blog as your website. Lots of established service business owners never bother with a regular website and home page and they do just fine.
Eventually you can go ahead with a full website with the 4 essential pages. As a rule of thumb, you really need a website when you’ve got at least 10 clients (maybe 5 if they’re signed up for longer-term services, paying you 4 figures). And you’ll find many ways to get those clients before you invest heavily in a web site.
Ultimately, it’s not the style or your site or the visual impact. It’s the message you send. Most service business owners aren’t ready to define their message until they’ve seen a few clients … and gotten very, very clear on their Foundation.
If you’d like to explore your own options, the best way is to start with a Diagnostic Marketing Makeover session. We’ll explore your business in depth and you’ll get the exact 1-2-3 steps you need for growth. Often we take the first steps right on the call.
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