By Sue Ellen Reager, CEO, @International Services
If you have a website that is squatting like a lump on a log, or swear that no one will buy your services over the internet, or if your hair stands on end at the very thought of you as a webmaster, then lump it. Swallow the pill, your ego and your two left feet, and let technology make you money. Selling over the web does work. Incredibly. Learning to sell over the web broadens the possibilities for success, taking your company national and international. Gives you more control over your income, less dependence upon a fluctuating local market, and freedom to select clients who are a pleasure - dumping clients that give you heartburn.
The world will never be the same for you. Look into the future. Future security is the ability to control your own destiny. Working only locally places all eggs in one very shaky basket. Go national and international. Step out of the box you have created for yourself. The "box" is what everybody else in your business is doing. It is what you do to obtain clients and jobs in your local community. If you are doing what everyone else is doing, competition will only get worse, and jobs more scarce, and the money less and less. Stepping out of that box will take you over the World Wide Web and into the homes and offices of prospective customers and clients around the world, and - just possibly - open a whole new future for you and your colleagues.
When our company reengineered itself for the web, it was painful. But we learned to generate $100,000+ per month- sometimes per week - in revenue via search engines. Our website - so pitiful in years past - was renovated and rejuvenated, and now attracts new clients such as Cisco Systems, Abbott Labs, Wal-Mart and Nortel, with project values up to $500,000. What had failed in the past was throwing our services as a brochure on the web, signing up for a few search engines and then waiting for the money to roll in. What succeeded - 2 years and several internet marketing classes later - was a complete overhaul of our company's approach to business. We ripped out the website and trashed it, re-engineering our entire company structure and mission for web sales. Every aspect of our company was reevaluated, reassessed and, in general, changed.
Why? Because making money over the web is NOT the same as making money in your local markets.
Selling on the web is not an extension of selling locally. Sounds simple, but this is the absolute that affects everything your business will ever be in future. Selling on the web is not an extension of selling the way you do now, it is changing who you are and what you sell to attract new lucrative customers sight-unseen. People do not go to the web to find what is available next door. They go to the web for something special. Therefore, create something special, something so attractive that total strangers will be magnetized, trust you and part with their money just because of your website.
WHAT IS "WEB ATTRACTIVE"
"Attractive" is that which will make a site visitor richer or happier. There are no other motives. Whatever you do must generate money for your client, or make someone happy. Therefore, the entire focus and strategy of your "web life" must be different than your "local life". If in your "local life" your time is spent looking for someone who could hire you, making presentations and meeting in person, in your "web life" your time will be spent helping your client earn more money or live a happier life. Money or happiness. Don't deviate. That is why the brochure website brochures genre "This is what we do" fall flat on the web. Clients do not smell money or feel happiness. That which works well locally, deflates on the web.
CREATE MANY WEBSITES
Create several websites-within-websites. Abandon the one-website-fits-all theory. Can be different sites entirely with different names, or several websites within your same website server. Large audio and video files can all pull from your one single main server storage, allowing secondary sites to be only HTM web pages, and probably cost $25 or even less per month to maintain. Tailor each home page to attract a different seeker on the web. Seekers locate your site by typing in keywords. Sign up with pay-per-click search engines (the most effective advertising), and specify the exact web page address associated with each keyword.
TECHNOLOGY = DESTINY
There is a joy and a power in being more in control of your own destiny in a way only the web can provide. Entire lives are changed, and new horizons unfold. For a fairly experienced business person, it will take a two year stint of experimentation and learning. The secret is working together, not alone, moving out of your own small box to combine with others - even former competitors - to form a new product and service for the national and international market that will increase the revenue or happiness of someone else.
Once you have reengineered your company, hire a great web artist to create a site that is different from all others, that leaps to the eye, and deeply impresses your visitors. And request the web developer to create it so that you can maintain, expand and change it yourself. You'll go broke in a month paying others to maintain. And your website will evolve and change dramatically as you learn what works - and what does not - over the web.
Writer: Sue Ellen Reager, CEO
Ellen Reager is CEO and founder of International Services, one of the
best kept secrets in technology, preferred vendor to Microsoft, IBM,
Intel, Cisco Systems, NCR, Home Depot, CNN and others. Ms. Reager
oversees a virtual company of 300 people in 90 countries.
Captions and examples:
ACTORS AND WRITERS
Network and distribute demos of corporate video and commercial voice overs.
Home Page 1: Sell audio business books via e-commerce. Combine with a business book author or university professor. CD's burned only upon order. Only time invested.
Home Page 2: Actor works with a poet or story writer to sell CD-Roms of poetry, Witch's Curses, Children's stories, or Math Lessons Made Fun.
Home Page 3: Actor creates a special character persona that is attractive to national producers. "One of the Top Medical Narrators" or "Nationally Renowned Technical Narrator".
Home Page 4: Offer the services of a dozen actor friends (competitors) over the web, recording via your ISDN specializing in voice recordings for overseas.
Perpetual meetings and presentations to potential company clients. Significant direct mail and expensive, finely printed marketing materials.
Home Page 1: Work with an author to film your own video to sell via website. Perhaps a "how to's", or medical or technical conference speeches.
Home Page 2: Create a non-profit company to film a documentary for which the director is well paid, and all contributors can deduct contributions from their taxes.
Home Page 3: Sell film shares over the web for independent movie to finance the production.
Network, schmooze and wait for phone calls from producers and directors to record music, voices or mix audio.
Home Page 1: Offer a stable of fine U.S. talents, location footage, and music of the true South.
Home Page 2: Advertise localization services for video games from Japanese into English, or localizing English to Spanish.
Home Page 3: Provide corporate voice recordings and video clips for European companies, signing up with search engines in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Beijing.