I debated on whether or not to write this post.
Not because I didn't want to, but because it seems to be a touchy subject.
I talk to a lot of web developers who have built businesses with WordPress by creating websites for clients. They're great at what they do and not surprisingly, they love WordPress.
What they don't seem to love is marketing and selling.
The conversation seems to flow until we get to this subject.
They're committed to helping their client get the website they want so they can take their business to the next level, but for the web developer, their business takes a back seat.
The first and most obvious thing that seems to be missing is some sort of lead generation.
No opt-in offer and no lead magnet.
If you're lucky there might be a newsletter opt-in, but more than likely there's nothing. When I ask them ‘why' the answer is usually that they don't have time. With a little more digging, we get to the heart of the matter which tends to be more about their lack of belief in themselves and whether or not they have something of value to offer an audience.
Then of course there's that whole element about not wanting to be smarmy, pushy or god-forbid sell something. (Yes, there was a little bit of snark in there. Clearly this strikes a nerve with me.) I understand that as a service-based business most web developers (or WordPress consultants) didn't get into business to become ‘Internet Marketers'… especially because being an ‘internet marketer' has become so taboo (what do you mean you're going to sell me something? A sales page? HELL no).
You're in BUSINESS.
Let's look again at an offline example to see how ludicrous this really is.
Take a Landscape Designer.
My guess is that the landscape designer didn't start their landscape business because they thought it would be fun to get into marketing landscaping services. They did it because they had a love for landscaping. But at some point they also knew they better get the word out. I still get a calendar at Christmas from my landscape designer who designed and did my yard TEN YEARS ago when I put the pool in. Guess how many referrals he's gotten from me? 🙂
The problem with an online business is that we don't often have to get in front of people or even consistently market when we're building our business. We can get a few jobs, get busy and then keep things moving through referrals only.
The problem with relying on referrals only is that it can keep you stuck.
If you're getting referrals from people you charged $2k for way back when, those are the types of clients they're going to send you. If you can't show the additional value you provide (because you now charge $5k or the same type of project) through how you market your own business, what will justify the price increase to the potential client?
About a year ago I pulled down the portfolio from my website.
Not because I didn't want to show what we've created (because I don't do this alone anymore), but because it wasn't my primary focus in my business, and I'm constantly marketing myself so people can see that I walk the walk.
They want an online presence that generates leads and increases sales.
How are you doing that for yourself?
The other thing I hear all the time from people is they don't know what to write about or what type of content to create.
I can guarantee you that you have more than enough content right now at this very moment (I've always wanted to use the word bollocks).
I'm not a huge fan of following what types of posts you should and shouldn't do. Not because they don't work, but because I get way too caught up in my head as to whether or not I'm doing it right.
When I simply share what's going on in my business, the tools I use, a client story, an experience I've had or a lesson I've learned…. it flows.
No struggle, no questioning myself. AND… I create better content.
(as well as a few other things, but teaching writing isn't my gig so we won't delve into that any further).
The other downside to NOT marketing your business.
You will forever be stuck in the time for money trap.
And those are also the types of clients you'll end up working with.
If you're not sure how to do this (generate leads, create content, engage on a different level), invest in someone who CAN. There is no way to build a business as a one-person team. It's simply not possible or sustainable.
Don't be afraid to market yourself or talk about money. You don't see Apple hiding what their stock is worth, do you?