I know that everyone who has a business these days should have a website. I’m sure you know that, too.
But what I hear a lot from my clients is, “Hey, Brenda, how can I make money off of my website?”
That’s a valid question and the amazing thing is most people aren’t making money off of their websites. So after all the work of getting a website online, they find themselves stuck. They spent time and money developing what they thought was a great site, and mostly it serves as an online brochure. By “online brochure,” I mean that yes, someone can go to their website and find out what the person or business is all about, absolutely, but that’s it. And yes, most people have a contact form on their site and sometimes someone will fill it out, but not usually.
However, most people don’t feel like they are making money off of their website. So let’s back up for a moment and talk about this because “making money off a website” means different things to different people. Here are some examples:
- People purchase a product directly from the website.
- People sign up for a service directly from the website.
- People fill out a form asking for more information from the website.
And you know what? All of those ideas are valid. Yes, we all want those things to happen. But you know what else? People are empowered with Google. This means that they have thousands of options at their fingertips these days. So sure, your website might clearly state what you do and have things for sale that can help people, but the majority (and by the majority, I mean about 97%) of people won’t buy or fill out a contact form when they come to your site the first time.
So when people ask me, “Hey, Brenda, how can I make money off of my website?” I ask them if they are using their website to grow their email list. And then I kind of get radio silence and a really blank stare.
Here’s the thing: If you can offer people something on your website that you will give them for free in exchange for their name and email address, you can now develop a relationship with them and eventually they might become a paying customer.
Here’s the next thing: People usually don’t come back to a website, even if it is awesome. Why? Because Google, that’s why. Because the next time they need something related to your site, they’ll Google what’s on their mind and unless you happen to appear in search results for them yet again, they’ll be on to the next blog or online store.
Instead of someone just checking out your amazing article or product listing, image if you were able to get someone to your website and offer them something of high value in exchange for a name and email address. Then you could work on building trust with them over time. You could be the place they go first when they are trying to solve a problem instead of going to Google first.
So let me ask you, “Are you building your email list via your website?” If you just answered “no” to that question, I’d like you to ask yourself “Why not?”
Just imagine what it would be like if
- You were giving away things that help your website’s audience figure out their next steps to solving their problem
- They gave you their email address and name in exchange for your free offer
- Your email list started to grow
- You had a genuinely interested audience
- You had an audience that trusted you
- You had an audience excited to hear about your new offerings
Are you starting to see the role that your website can play in growing your business?
So today, I want to challenge you to think about what it is that your clients or customers could have that would help them along their journey prior to paying for anything.
Let me give you an example that I’ve used for my business. Here’s a little background on how I ended up creating one of my main free offerings:
- I help people build their websites and use their websites to grow their businesses.
- One way that I help people is with email marketing.
- Prior to doing any email marketing, a person has to get an email marketing service.
- I use MailChimp, so I encourage my clients to also use MailChimp.
- When I am speaking to a client, I give them the reasons why I use MailChimp over other services.
- Helping my clients decide what email marketing provider to use is the thing I help them with on their journey to selecting an email marketing provider prior to paying for one.
- I do this a lot.
So I eventually realized I could give this knowledge away for free. I say “eventually” because it took me a long time before this lightbulb went off for me. Instead of just posting a blog post about why I like MailChimp, I created a comparison sheet that gives people a quick snapshot of features for many of the top email marketing providers. I offer this comparison sheet on my website and it is downloaded regularly by people I have never met before who are just trying to solve a simple problem: What email marketing service provider is right for me?
In order to get the comparison sheet, they have to give me their email address and name in exchange and then they get the sheet delivered to their inbox instantly. After that, it’s all up to me to continue to nurture relationships with these people. That comparison sheet is one of many examples of free things I give away on my website to help people along on their journeys.
Have I received more business as a result of these free offerings? Oh yeah. It’s been a game changer.
My website is literally growing my business, 24/7. If yours isn’t, take some time to brainstorm how you can help out people who are checking out your business online (your website) for the first time. Make that into something they can have for free in exchange for a name and email and get it on your website today.