I was scrolling the other day and saw the question “I don’t know what to do with my DIY website, so how will working with a pro to build one really benefit me.” A commenter replied with “My thoughts exactly! I feel like I’ll have a pretty website that just sits there and isn’t any better than my DIY site I made two years ago.”
(In my head I read this as “I’ll invest lots of money and still end up working 24/7 with no savings and no vacation time…just more frustration adding to my endless to do list.” I think in part because I could so relate. I felt exactly like that with my first website…before I took courses to understand more, which made me want to become a designer and help others.)
In addition to taking the time to learn how to actually use your website for your consulting business (because we all know learning something new isn’t always easy) it certainly helps to understand your website isn’t the only tool to tell others about your business. Websites aren’t created on the ‘build it and they will come’ principle. In all honesty, this goes for both a DIY site and a professional website (although a professional website is more likely to be set up using best practices and work harder for you.)
Your website is not a destination until people know about it. Keeping it a ‘best kept secret’ actually keeps you from helping those you’re meant to help.– Tricia Isham (and about a thousand other designers)
My Toolbox Analogy
There are a variety of tools in a toolbox, each created for a specific purpose. Screwdrivers are not the same as hammers, which are not the same as wrenches. You get the idea. Sometimes these tools are used individually or for individual projects. Sometimes they are all used on the same project.
Your consulting toolbox already likely includes things like methodologies, data sheets, evaluation reports, business cards, letterhead, and a business phone number. I’m sure you’re very familiar with how to use each for your business.
It probably also includes a Facebook business page, Instagram account and LinkedIn profile. And it might include a DIY or professional website. These each have their own purpose, yet can all be used for a project, and you may not be completely familiar with how to use these for your business because you’re used to using these on a more personal level.
Going back to the same ways to avoid frustration with your new website, let’s look briefly at how they can help when it comes to your tools.
Invest the Time
Take the time to learn how to set up your tools. (i.e. the social profiles associated with your business.)
Integrate links back to your website in your bios so if people see something they like they can pop over to your bio and find their way to your website (and make content they’d be looking for as blog posts.) Keep your bios consistent across all platforms, so if people find you on more than one they know it’s you! Learn how to use each platform the best in relation to the way your audience shows up there.
For example, people tend to scroll, so create eye catching posts to stop the scroll. Some people use certain platforms for entertainment more than education, so create the right type of posts for those platforms.
Create posts that engage your ideal audience, some that reflect the content on your website or that are educational.
Expect a Learning Curve
You may be familiar with each platform you’ve set your business up on, however, when using it for business it may be slightly different than how you use it when you’re off hours.
The thing about learning curves is that you’re moving, not going in a straight line to the end result. Feel free to experiment with how your audience will connect with and relate to you where you’re showing up. If you try something and it doesn’t work, take note and try something else (just give each some time, constantly switching up your approach may not let you actually tell if it works or simply needed tweaking.)
Be open to exploring new ways to connect with your audience. Using your website as the one hub to send everyone to from social may give you new opportunities to create valuable content. Use that content to inspire even more content for social, rinse, repeat.
Your audience has so many different ways to find you when you show up online in more places than just your website. Pointing to your website from all these places opens up possibilities. Just like a toolbox filled with tools allows you to be prepared and work on a variety of projects, so does having an arsenal of tools for your business.
Setting social accounts up (and being active on the one where your clients are most active) and pointing them to your website, will create one central location that houses all the details someone would need to work with you. Your social is for building the relationship. Your website is for proving you’re the one for the job.
What tools are you using for your consulting business to get eyes on your business?