This post is really about MY strategy, my worldview, my approach to websites. It’s what I believe, it’s what I do, and it’s what I think everyone should do.
What is it?
I think your web strategy is to share what you know. The stuff in your head that people want to know, need to know, or don’t know they don’t know.
The way you make money is either selling one-shot ways to learn more (CD’s, books, etc) or YOURSELF (therapy, consulting, groups, presentations.) You can also make money putting ads on your website, but that’s another topic for another day.
I’m the anti-marketer in the sense that I hate drawing in people’s emotions without ANY solutions, without ANY solution other than “buy my stuff.” This is really common,for example, in the chiropractic world where some (not all!) share all the problems you may have, from joints, bowels, headaches, and the SOLUTION is only found through them, their services, and their products. Often they even “re-educate” you on why regular solutions don’t just work but are bad for you. Yuck! (And for self-disclosure, I went to a chiropractor like that and did greatly benefit from not being able to lay flat for over a year nor walk without pain, to being able to lay down and walk with a lot LESS pain. But I also saw the dirty underbelly of that business.)
The reality is there are many solutions and many people doing what you do. The reality is also that if you were to get in an accident tomorrow, if you HONESTLY felt you were the saving grace of kingdom come for what you do, it would be irresponsible to not have yourself spread out – train others, engage people, offer a lot of free help. Your “resume-based” website or profile statement won’t help anyone if you’re gone tomorrow.
Any time I see a ‘competitior’, whether that person is inside my professional worldor not, I let my heart skip a beat and let the panic swell. Oh NO! Someone else is doing what I’m doing?! Are they making more MONEY than me? Do they have more customers, followers, fans?
And then I chill out. I research, read, absorb, see what they’re up to, who they are and how they got there. I read whatever I can. All that is to get a real sense as their peer, of who they are and how they compare and contrast to what I do. It’s rarely someone identical to me so I say hey, that’s awesome that we’re tooting the same horn! I don’t want to spend my life tooting the same horn! If I did, I think it proves I have a bad strategy because if a movement isn’t swelling, education isn’t helping, there may be a better approach. Sometimes they have a radically different approach and that actually helps me better articulate myself! Either way, I literally try to reach out, send them an email hello, so we have the chance of becoming FRIENDS, not enemies. (Plus, self interest states that all the frustrations you have, they probably have too. It can make you feel so much better to complain to a peer who knows exactly what your ups and downs are!)
The reason I’m posting this today is because of something I’ve blogged about before. It’s those one-page websites where it’s various size fonts, with testiomonials, pricing for what you WOULD expect, more text, and more, and more, scrooooooooollllling way down to the end where you either “buy now”, or Register. I won’t even send you to an example because I don’t want to give them traffic! I followed a link from someone on Twitter this morning because I was intrigued that a wedding person was linking to social media training. I thought wow, that’s awesome whenever someone is INSIDE the industry and can teach others what works FOR YOUR industry. But alas. It was one of those one pager websites.
Instead of stopping there, I did a little sleuthing and am even more grossed out. Turns out a group of people created these video series of social media experts, but have decided the best way to sell their wares is through…. you got it, social media! They clearly have a strategy, and a longer term goal. What this group is doing is asking people to register with them, which creates their own unique link. These people (like the wedding lady) share her customized link to all her followers. Anyone who buys from that website is giving this wedding lady 100% commission (in this case it’s just $17 for a supposedly $1,100 worth of learning.)
The long term approach is this company could ATTEMPT to find people with $1,100 to spare. And not succeed. Or they can say wow, we have 10,000 or 50,000 eager people willing to make some easy money. Let’s give all those people the entire profit! In the long term, this company for NO money spent, created 1) very happy marketers who do all the work to find customers, 2) generated a HUGE list of emails from people who are willing to part with their money to learn more…these people are “hot leads” who are statistically more likely to buy again because they’ve done the action before.
Now all they have to do is collect all that information and for their NEXT product, spend no money and email everyone who ever bought something. And they’ll likely create another product to ask THOSE people to share and make commission.
Now I’m not naive. I know this is how the world works. The same things were happening before the internet. And the reality is sharing in commissions is an awesome strategy if you have like minded people in your world with MORE energy, MORE passion, and MORE followers. You’re basically only paying them if they sell stuff for you. Commissions vary wildly, but that doesn’t gross me out. Frankly I’d rather a peer of yours get the money over some PR firm who charges you big bucks. And I participate in this back and for with books and classes on my website. I protect what is on my website, personally view it and can then authentically say it’s worth my readers to buy it.
But can you see how having a one page website grosses me out? A one page website is not designed to share anything but your emotional vulnerability. It’s not designed to “brand” yourself, to make yourself an expert, to build something larger. It’s designed purely to sell. I know marketers love those websites because you can’t get distracted with clicking on all sorts of other pages. I get that. But not only is a one page website the opposite of internet marketing (where more content is golden, on more pages, with great tags inside each page), but it’s not giving long term solutions. It’s not building a movement and it’s not having peers and showing the world you are part of the broader community of your profession (whatever your profession may be.)
Stepping off my soapbox now. 🙂