As a solo-preneur, the #1 goal of having a website is to attract more clients, right?
When someone new lands on your site, you want them to stay a bit longer, browse around and when they like what they see, take some sort of action… calling for an appointment or signing up for your mailing list.
This however pose a huge challenge for website owners.
Competition on the web is increasing daily.
You do not only compete with other websites in your niche. You also compete with Social Media, Email, Smartphones, Online Games, News sites… all designed to minimise the time people spend on yours!
And on top of that you also compete with the dwindling attention span of people these days.
According to recent research by the National Center for Biotechnology, the average attention span of people is about 9 seconds, and the average website visitor has an attention span of 3-5 seconds the first time they’re on your site.
Not very good news for us as solo-preneurs…
So to use your website as a client attraction tool, you have to grab your visitor’s attention within the first couple of seconds, because only when you have their attention they’ll be persuaded to stay a bit longer and hopefully take the action you want them to take.
So, here are 4 easy-to-implement tips to grab their attention and get them to stay longer.
1. Know Who You Want To Keep on Your Site
In the first 3 seconds when someone lands on your site they ask the questions:
- What is it?
- Why should I care?
…and you have to instantly answer these questions through your logo, your headlines, your images and eventually every word you write.
Knowing your target audience, who you write for and thus want to keep on your site…PLUS understanding their needs, wants and desires, will make it easier to convey your unique value proposition in those critical first 3 seconds.
So, write your website with your ideal client in mind. The thing is, you don’t know where your visitors will first enter your site. It may be the home page of your website, a blog post, a sales pages or even your contact page. Every single webpage therefor has to convey the message of what you do, who you serve, what their problems are, and how you can transform their lives.
2. Use Striking Headlines
Headlines, and titles, are one of the most important parts of your site, whether it is on your home page, a blog entry, a standard web page, an article, or your sales copy.
Because your site visitors use headlines to decide whether or not to read further.
And if they don’t read past the headline, it doesn’t matter how good or bad your actual content is, it won’t get read.
So, write headlines that are clear, relevant, exciting and contains a solution to a pain point or challenge your audience have.
3. Make Your Content More Readable.
People don’t read everything on your site. They usually just scan the content. So help them stay longer and encourage them to continue reading by…
- Breaking your content into shorter paragraphs;
- Using subheadings;
- Using lists and bullet points;
- Formatting text with bold, italicize, and underline to emphasize important points
- Creating more white or open spaces.
4. Use Relevant Images
Humans are visual creatures and images help your visitors connect and feel comfortable on your site. It is important to use images that are relevant to the content as it is a way to attract attention and help your reader to visualize the information in a simple way that makes sense to them.
Also select images that align with your audience because remember you want to grab their attention. Thus your images should be appealing to your target audience and not only to you.
Even though the odds are stack up against us in terms of competing with big brands and everything else out there that demands the attention of our ideal clients, these easy-to-implement changes can make a world of difference on your website to help you attract and win more clients through it.
So go out today and create a jaw dropping website to wow your ideal clients, keep them longer on your site and attract them into your client pipeline.
And if you’d like support on crafting a powerful and effective message that magnetizes and gets your web visitors to take action on your site, schedule a free Business Breakthrough Session. Let’s talk.
To Your Success
PS: If you use other easy-to-implement tips and tricks to keep visitors on your site, Please share it with us in the comment section below.
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Does the way you answer your phone build or break your business?
As a service professional, I sometimes find it funny (or actually scary) when people drop all professionalism the moment they start working from home – especially when it comes to the way they answer the phone.
So in the post below I’ll give you a couple of telephone etiquette tips to ensure your phone conversations build your business and don’t break it down.
But first, let me tell you about an interesting telephone experience I had recently…
I’ve been struggling with some technical integrations on my website and decided to get some help with it. So, I phoned someone, who came highly recommended and was ready for the (in my mind) professional / technical discussion to see if this person will be able to help me.
But my excitement and expectation soon turned into irritation, then frustration and then a clear “No, Thank You!” – all within one telephone call.
The phone started ringing …. one, two, three,… eight …
I was about to hang up when I heard: “Jellooo!!”
Just “Jelloooo!” – with the last syllable a long singing sound. No name to introduce her. No business name. Nothing.
I smiled, kept my cool and after establishing it is indeed the person I was looking for, I started to introduce myself and began to state the reason for my call.
Huge was my surprise when she interrupted me to ask if I could phone her back in ½ an hour since her neighbor is at the door!
Well, perhaps she didn’t need new business or it was a “life-or-death” situation with the neighbor. I’ll never know. It goes without saying that I didn’t phone back and found someone else to help me.
As a service provider myself, I believe first impressions count – even over the phone. And to ask a potential client to call back… well, it didn’t “gel” with me. I was speechless about that one.
The thing is, your telephone is not just a communication tool. It is often the first opportunity you have to showcase your professionalism, and I see it as the image projector of how you conduct business overall.
As coaches, consultants and virtual assistants, we rely on a telephone for business. So, we can never really let our guard down since we don’t know if the next caller is a potential client.
Here are 10 easy telephone etiquette tips to ensure a positive client experience, every time…
Answer with a smile
Although this is an age-old tip, it really works. Make sure you speak clearly and are smiling when you answer the phone. This not only puts you in the right mindset to assist the person on the other side, but also lets the caller feel good about phoning.
Always identify yourself at the beginning of all calls.
When in your office, answer the telephone by stating your business name, then your own name, e.g.“Be Virtual Assistant Wise good morning, this is Francis speaking”.
You may even add “…how may I assist you?”. If you allow family members to answer the phone on your behalf during office hours, inform them of the way you want it done.
From a cell phone, simply say, Hallo, and state your name: “Hallo, Francis van Wyk here”. Do not answer using words such as “yeah” or “yes.”
As a general rule of thumb, a business telephone should be answered by the fourth ring, preferably sooner. If the telephone rings so long that the caller wonders whether you are there or not, you are not practicing telephone etiquette.
Be prompt in answering the phone, be warm and enthusiastic and treat each call as if it is the most important call of the day.
Don’t interrupt when the caller is speaking
Never interrupt a person when he/she is talking to you and never give the impression that you are rushed. Listen closely in order to understand their needs and requests. Give the person time to explain his or her situation. Remember, listening makes the clients feel that their needs are important. Don’t sound bored or indifferent. Put energy into your voice, even if you are not having the best of days.
And don’t become distracted by e-mail popping up on your computer screen or other household activities … pay full attention to the caller.
Ask permission to put a caller on hold
If you have to put a person on hold (for what-ever reason), first ask their permission and get back to them as soon as possible. Say something like: “May I put your call on hold for a moment while I pull the information for you?”
Then, to gain the clients attention when you return to the line, call them by name and wait for the response, e.g. “Mr. Smith? (Pause for him to respond)…Thank you for waiting, I do have the information for you.”
Don’t use speaker phone
Don’t put the caller on speaker phone. Although a speaker phone might be very convenient, your client may not think so as speakerphones tend to pick up every background noise. This may give your client the impression that you are not focusing on what they say.
Speakerphones sometime also have an acoustic background effect where the caller hears a repeat of his discussion (much the same as with some long distance/international calls) that can be very distracting.
No eating, drinking or chewing
Don’t eat, drink or chew gum when talking on the phone. Aside from being very rude, these sounds become magnified over the phone. It can also make your words difficult for callers to understand.
Try also not to cough, sneeze or clear your throat into the phone. If it so happens that you must sneeze or cough, move the mouthpiece away and cover it with your hand.
Be sensitive to the tone of your voice
Clients are unable to see your face when they call, so the way your voice projects will either win them over, or chase them away. An angry or overly anxious tone might scare potential clients away.
Use a professional voice message
If you make use of an answering machine or answering service ensure that you have a professional recorded message that will give the caller the assurance you’ll get back to them. It can be something like: “Hallo, thanks for calling. This is Francis. I’m not available right now, but please leave your name and number and when I return your call, I’ll be glad to answer your questions. I’ll be in touch soon.”
Return calls promptly
If possible return calls the same day they are received. If you’re “out of office” for an extended period of time, update your recording and tell clients by when you’ll be able to return their calls.
Apart from these, what other telephone etiquette tips do you have? Please share it with us in the comment box below.
“It is in the moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped.” ~ Anthony Robbins
Assuming you want to start your own business. Where do you begin?
Do you start with creating a business plan, or getting your first client, or getting your finances in place first?
Well, none of these, really…
Your new business journey begins with a decision to do it.
In most cases, when people want to start their first business, they don’t really know what to do or where to start.
They don’t have a strategic plan. They don’t have any clients. They sometimes do not even have the financial means to get started, AND they have plenty of self doubt… (Heck, who doesn’t have self-doubt when they first start out?)
But what separates those who have a successful start-up from those who don’t, is that the successful ones…
Make the decision to DO!
They first make the decision…and then they take massive action.
They find out what to do. They create the plan. They find the necessary finances to start. And they go out to get the clients they need.
They don’t try to do things. They DO it.
A woman I recently met is such a great example of this. When I first met her earlier this year, she was in a very difficult situation with her life and finances, and asked for my help in starting a VA business. She had to quickly improve her financial situation and also heal the hurt from her personal life.
I helped her with what I could, and may I hope that my small contribution made her aware of the multitude of possibilities out there.
Because what I admire about her, is that she didn’t just passively receive the advice and information I gave, but…
She decided to DO.
She did a whole lot of additional research with regards to virtual assistance…., and her hunger for information not only provided the answers to the questions she were looking for, but it also took her on a journey of self-discovery.
In the process she not only found herself, but also found her passion of empowering other women who might go through similar life situations as she.
So, her future is now taking a turn from becoming a virtual assistant, to becoming an empowerment coach for women. So exciting!
But there is more to the story…
In the beginning of the year, and still now, her finances is one of her major stress points.
But because she decided to DO, she found the courage (and the money) to take a leap of faith and enroll for an expensive business-coaching program with a well-known international coach. (No, it’s not me, but I’m still so proud of her!)
So the question you might ask is: Why does she invest an exorbitant amount of money for an internationally acclaimed coach when money is one of her stress points?
It’s simple. She decided to DO whatever it takes to succeed.
So will she be successful?
Well, I believe in my heart that she will reach the success she wants, because she was willing to decide to DO.
She didn’t hide behind possible excuses like:
- Now is not the right time. She made the time
- I don’t have any money. She found the money
- I don’t know where to start and what to do. She did the research and found the answers she was looking for.
So, what is the lesson we can take away from this?
For me: If you want to do something bad enough, you will find a way to do it…
…but it all starts with a DECISION to DO.
Question: Have you already made the decision to DO – whatever it is you want to do? If not, what is standing in your way? Tell us in the comment box below.
To Your Success
What would you say is the starting point for creating a successful business?
Different people may have different answers and all of them might be correct.
In my opinion, the absolute starting point for creating business success is to truly know yourself – to know and understand who you are as a person: your personality, strengths, weaknesses, behaviors, beliefs, motivations, emotional reactions and everything else that makes you tick..
The reason why self-knowledge is so important is because it increases the likelihood that you can create the results you want in your life and your business. When operating your own business, you can read every business tip out there, you can model the practices of others, and you can eat up every piece of self-help that comes across the computer screen, but it’s completely pointless if you don’t know yourself well enough to put the correct advice into practice.
So, self-knowledge helps you to figure out what you want to do, what you will enjoy, and what you are willing to let go. It helps you make much better decisions in terms of
- What type of business to start
- The services you offer
- How to perform your work
- The type of clients you work with
- How you interact with clients
- How you manage your business and resources to progress faster
- How to manage and grow your finances
- How you market and attract clients
When you understand who you are as a person, what you are willing to do, what you want in life and why you want it, you can start creating the business success you want. Because only then, you can change behaviors that don’t suite you, and direct your thoughts, plans and actions to achieve all the things you want.
But, getting to know yourself doesn’t just happen.
It takes conscious effort and a lot of stripping back the layers, one by one.
It also takes a lot of courage. (But it’s worth it!).
So, to help you on this journey of self knowledge, here are a couple of important thought-provoking questions to ponder on.
17 Thought Provoking Questions to improve your self-knowledge
- How would you describe yourself?
- What makes you happy
- What motivates you?
- What are your top five values?
- What are you most grateful for in life?
- What you are really passionate about.
- What do you dislike?
- What makes you angry?
- What do you fear most in life?
- What limiting beliefs are you holding on to?
- What empowering beliefs can you take on to help you achieve your goals?
- What bad habits do you want to break?
- What good habits do you want to cultivate?
- What are your greatest strengths?
- What do you want from your business…from life in general?
- Why do you want it?
- What will you do anything for (to have or get)?
Obviously, these questions are just a starting point, but knowing the answers and delving a bit deeper to understanding yourself better, will in the end drive your overall behavior and impact on all the decisions you make regarding your business and your life.
So take some time out today, and start stripping back those layers to get to the real you.
Let’s start creating your business success, today.
To your Success
No business can be successful without a proper marketing plan. Creating a plan will help you with starting up your business AND growing it.
Are you like me?
When I started my business, I had clear goals of what I wanted to achieve – e.g. how many clients I want to work with and the income levels I want to reach. But at the time, I didn’t really create a solid marketing plan around it.
It was just easy to go with the flow and do what feels right in the moment. Can you relate?
If so, is it working for you?
After my first year in business, I knew this hum-ham approach wasn’t working for me. At all.
What I found, was that without a plan, important projects were often put on hold, or they crept up on me and there was simply no time to create effective marketing campaigns around them, or things were simply forgotten, and at the end of the year, I didn’t reach my business goals.
But then I got a little bit smarter and decided that it is important for me, for my business, and for my life to create a written, yearly marketing plan of what I want to achieve within a given year.
I am not talking about a plan incorporating ALL the little details. I’m just talking about a plan where I can see the whole year at a glance. A plan to make sure that I schedule the most important business and marketing activities, so that I…
- don’t forget about stuff,
- give myself enough time to pull things off and
- easily monitor the progress I make against my goals.
I call this my annual marketing and event calendar.
It’s a 1-page document that incorporates the weeks of every month to give you a full-year at a glance.
Every year, I populate this document with the most important events and projects that require any sort of marketing activities. I also make sure that there is at least one event or marketing campaign each month that can lead to new clients and new income.
Within this plan, I don’t put down specific dates; just a rough idea of when I want to implement or do something. Then, I print a copy and keep it next to my computer (a printed copy is handy for making quick notes and for referencing where I am currently).
The results of this?
For the past 3 years, I not only reached all the goals and activities on the annual plan. I’ve doubled my income year on year.
So for me, a yearly written marketing plan – even if it is just a basic overview of the most important activities – is an absolute must in any business.
Here are 7 reasons why I believe an annual marketing plan is important:
1. An annual plan will help you clarify your ideas and most important priorities. It will help you determine what you want to focus on for the year, and when you want to focus on it.
2. An annual plan will help you make crucial decisions. With your plan, you know what is important, and is now in a great potition to say “yes” or “no” to opportunities coming your way. With your plan in hand you have more clarity – and the courage – to manage new opportunities rather than to be managed by them.
3. An annual plan will enable you to maintain balance. You’ll be able to quickly see which months are extremely busy and which months are not. It will help you spread out activities so that you do not overwhelm yourself and have enough time to complete things. Also when you are not able to move things around, it will help you to plan in advance on how you will manage those busy times. And, when you find some months are completely empty, it will give you the motivation to find opportunities and activities to grow your client base for that given month.
4. An annual plan serves as a road map for accomplishing what matters most. It gives you a quick glance of what is coming in the next few weeks or months and prompt you to start thinking about those things that will need attention in the near future. It’s like identifying the markers and waypoints along the journey, so that you have enough time to create an action plan for completing them successfully.
5. An annual plan is a valuable financial tool. When planning out your projects and marketing activities per month it is easier to make projections about the number of clients and income per month to ensure it all adds up to your yearly financial goal . Then you can simply evaluate your actual income per month against the projected income to see if you are still on track.
6. An annual plan measures your progress. It tells you where you are and what you still need to do to reach your ultimate goal.
7. An annual plan helps ensure that you don’t finish the year with regrets. For many entrepreneurs, their years are not turning out like they had hoped. They are disappointed, confused, and discouraged. But it doesn’t have to be that way. While you can’t control everything, you can manage your business with a plan and dramatically improve your chances of closing the year on a high note.
So, get started today with creating your own annual plan and let’s make this year your best year, yet.
To Your success
*Photo courtesy of twobee | freedigitalphotos.net