3 Big Tips For Relaunching Your Website

In the second part of my writing about working on your own agency brand, I’m really excited to share the news that Caliber’s new website is launched!! Go check it out when you get a chance and let me know what you think.

CaliberScreenGrab1Personally, I think the design rocks, thanks to Zach Weiner of Tandem Multimedia Partners. I’ve known Zach for 15 years dating back to the first agency we worked at together, so I feel very lucky to still have terrific relationships like the one I have with him. If you have the opportunity to work with Zach and his partner John Bauman, you’re in very good hands. I highly recommend them.

OK. Now let’s talk about you. How do you get your own agency’s site up and live in a timely fashion when you’ve got so much other client work to do?

Start with two things:
1) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You have to see your own agency as a client.

2) Get a solid strategic partner to help you divide and conquer, especially on the things you don’t do best, have time for or internal resources to spare.

Granted, I’m coming from this in refreshing an existing site with a new look rather than launching a site for the first time. That said, that can be even more of a reason why you might be putting off your own work. “Eh, it’s the next version of our site. We’ve got something up there at least. Nothing to worry about.” Wrong.

Even if you have a web designer and programmer in-house, it’s very challenging if not impossible to ask that person (or team) to focus on the website exclusively. So they have to balance it with other client work and…here we go again, the other clients get the priority. Over and over and over again.

So what’s the harm in working with contracted talent you trust? Whether you want your in-house designer to work on the agency brand project or you want them to work on other client work, you don’t have to put it all on one plate for the sake of keeping it in-house.

Your Data Can Help Too.
People have all kinds of words and phrases they use to find you via search engines. WordPress is great for not only telling you these terms but helping you understand which pages and posts are the most viewed on your site – and that can play an important role in navigation. For example, when I viewed some of the top viewed pages of my previous site, I found it ranked in this order:

1)   Portfolio

2)    Contact

3)   What Makes Us Different

4)   About Us

5)   No BS Pricing

6)   Content Marketing Services

What’s interesting about that? Well, for one thing, half of these were secondary links underneath the top main menu. What if I moved a couple of them up into the main navigation, like Portfolio and No BS Pricing, to make it that much easier on the audience? So I did that in the new rendition of the site. The other point is that while I had had product-style pages, most people followed a logical order of wanting to see these “about us”-type of agency pages first before they dove into the actual offerings – even though those offerings were seen high enough on the home page.

The takeaway is that sometimes through the stats your audience is going to speak loud and clear about what they want to see and share first on the site. Give the people what they want. Make it easier on them to find. Don’t bury it (I can’t tell you how many companies make the mistake of assuming all their stuff is so easy to find on their site. “What? It’s on the home page!” Yeah. But if it’s sharing space with 20 other links, you do the math on the likelihood of visitors going there).

CaliberScreenGrab2

Let’s get back to the data. When I then took a look at the search terms, a couple popped up that were intriguing, which I might not have thought about:

“Brand Catapult”
“Dan Gershenson Caliber Pricing Range”
“Recommendations For Rebranding”

Brand Catapult is our main product for brand strategy. So while it wasn’t the top page viewed, it was one of the top searched for that leads people to our site. Then I noticed that rebranding was ranked high too. These actually go hand in hand, because as I thought back to why people often need a Brand Catapult conducted, most of the time it’s for a rebranding effort. So the language within that page is and will continue to be tweaked to reflect that.

The other interesting term? The one about having a pricing range.

Now, there’s a fierce debate among people about whether or not to list your pricing on your website. My opinion is this: It’s a conversation you’re going to have at some point anyway if things progress the way you’d like. And clearly here, the audience is telling me it’s something they want more information on, which justifies creating a page for it.

Here’s the other thing about that term you’ll notice though – it’s a pricing range they’re asking about.

That works well for me, since a lot of what I do is custom, so the prices will vary. But I can still give a decent range in the verbiage I write for a pricing page, which should guide people into one of three options for their budget. Again, it’s giving the people what they want – a little more clarity in advance. If they’re kicking tires on price and they can’t afford it, fine. If they can afford it, that makes our first conversations all the more efficient.

So to recap, 1) Think of yourself as a client. When you get into that mindset, think about how you can divide in-house talent with 2) a strategic partner to help share the load. And as you plan around where you want the audience to go, don’t forget to 3) “listen” to what they want through what the data has already told you during their visits. You don’t have to blindly design everything according to what they want – if you want to steer them through a process they’re not familiar with, gently guide them in that direction in your design – but like so many things when I’m creating a brand strategy, you have to get outside your own walls to know how your audience views you and what they value most. That might help you get on the same page. Literally.

Now don’t put your own agency brand to the side a moment longer. If that involves content or strategic thinking on where to take it, let me know if I can be of help to keep things moving along for you – dan@chicagobrander.com.

You May Be Your Best New Business Salesperson.

So let’s say you have a relatively new business that’s no more than 1-2 years old. Things are progressing nicely and you’re making a decent amount of money. Maybe you aren’t quite yet jumping into a pool of it like Scrooge McDuck, but you’re doing OK for yourself.

Still, the challenge of filling the pipeline becomes a regular thing in your mind. The conversation with your team becomes, “Maybe we should hire a New Business Salesperson.”

Hey, that sounds intriguing. Someone who can get out there and sell for you, huh? You can focus on the work you’re doing and another person can head out there to make it rain.

It’s a great idea in theory. And it’s not to say it’s impossible. But here’s the two choices you’re most often faced with:

Ronnie Rainmaker 
What’s that? Yeah sure, you bet I can bring in the big bucks. I worked in tons of industries and had a lot of success. Maybe not this one exactly, but I know what I’m doing. I don’t think I have to know a ton about your business. I get it. You’re what, an ad guy, a social media guy who does a lot of this, uh, Facebook updating for people, right? Sure, fine, whatever. You just do your thing and I’ll do mine. Since I’m so awesome, you need to pony up the big bucks for me but you’ll be glad you did.

Two problems with Ronnie:

1) The extraordinary amount of money he costs until he proves he can deliver the goods

2) He could find you a bunch of clients and think he’s doing incredible when in reality, the ones he’s finding are not the greatest fits for who you want to reach.

In his defense on the second point, that’s your fault, not his. You have to define precisely who you want to attract, who you don’t and how you’re going to reward him for more of the cream of the crop. This is as much a branding exercise as it is a sales issue. If you don’t know how to position yourself in terms of who you definitively want to work with – and it’s not that “everybody who needs my services” bullcrap –  you will be leading Ronnie on a wild goose chase and financing every mile for him.

Commission Carl
You don’t have to pay me much of a draw or even any draw. All you have to do is pay me a handsome commission for what I bring in. Isn’t that a great deal? Nothing out of pocket for you other than what I bring in! What’s that you say? Experience? Well, I sold flat screen TV’s at Best Buy so I’m really good at moving product and connecting with people. That’s what it’s all about and I’ve been doing it for decades. So what do you say?

At first glance, it sounds attractive for an entrepreneur. Not much risk there, right? Nothing lost, nothing gained. Except for one thing – again, if you want to improve Carl’s chances of success, you have to guide him on what your brand is all about. He has to understand the brand forwards and backwards for every prospect challenge. He has to understand your audience and what methods play well with them. If you’re in the business of Internet marketing, you probably don’t need him to knock on doors at his country club. This is so much easier said than done, it’s not even funny.

There’s just got to be someone who really gets you, gets your brand, gets who you want to speak with more often and knows precisely where you want to go.

I’ve got just the person. Grab a mirror and look at it.

What we often don’t realize about New Business is that we don’t give ourselves enough credit or see the potential we already have within ourselves. You see, there’s nothing more authentic or rewarding than knowing that you are delivering your message in a way that feels right and to the right person. This isn’t egotistical to say. If you truly have a command of your own message, who could be more powerful of an advocate than you are?

“But I don’t have enough time to do New Business. I’ve got other things that need to get done.”

Sure, I understand that. But do you think you can just give most salespeople a little instruction in a “set it and forget it” kind of way? I don’t buy that. They require guidance, collaborative planning and accountability measurement from you on a regular basis so that as a team, everyone can be on the same page consistently. That takes an investment of time too.

The middle ground can often come from better coaching and training.

This is where the rubber often meets the road. I’m certainly not immune to this challenge, which is why working with a sales coach like Steve Fretzin of Sales Results, Inc. can help ensure you’re disciplined in your activities and meeting with the right people rather than just tire kickers.

Are you with me so far? Think you have it in you to change at least a habit or two? What about as many as seven bad habits?

I think you can be committed enough to spend just two hours and a hair over $20 to find out.

If you’re in that camp, read on and join us on Wednesday, June 12th from 8am – 10am at 180 N. LaSalle as Steve and I present:

SELLING IS FOR LOSERS:
Seven Reasons to Change Bad Habits

Forget all the outdated “sales-ish” methodologies. Forget sounding like a used car huckster. Selling can be easier and even, yes, fun. Here are a few of the negative questions, assumptions and frustrations we will be solving in our interactive workshop:

· Why the traditional model of sales has failed
· Why social media “doesn’t work fast enough”
· Why you may be measuring social media success improperly
· Why your prospects are only buying on price
· Why you’re perceived the same as everyone else in your field

It’s a limited seating event, so if you’re committed to finding out just what kind of sales you can obtain on your own before blowing a large amount on Ronnie Rainmaker or hoping for the best with Commission Carl, this is the event you don’t want to miss. Mark your calendar for the morning of Wednesday, June 12th from 8am-10am at 180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700.

Follow this link to register:
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6528124797