Over the past few posts we’ve explored the question “I’m about to launch my business. Should I start with a website or a Facebook business page?” I am passionate about helping you get online strategically and professionally and so suggest you begin with both.
Facebook Page or Website? introduced this question and began my exploration of why I think your website is your online home and your business’s social media accounts support your business in other ways, so should point back to your site. Are either essential for an online business? No. But they make reaching potential clients much easier than relying on word of mouth alone. In either case, once you establish your business name claim that domain name, even if you’re not ready to create a full-fledged site.
As we explored in my last post, Own Your Home, social media platforms are great for building a relationship with your potential clients, but a home-base with all your more static business information is where those social media accounts should all point to. If any social media platform goes away or deletes your page for whatever reason, you’ll still have an online presence (that is completely your own!)
Plus, are all those people following you on social media really your ideal client? Some might be friends or your mom, there to support and encourage you (or maybe just spying on you because you’re too busy with your biz to call!) There’s nothing wrong with that, but herein lies the value of your list. It’s made up of people who actually want to hear from you about what you do and how you help them.
Whether you build an initial website with multiple pages or just one, what’s one thing you should start doing?
Create an email list.
Now, I’m the first to admit I haven’t been doing this, and I know I’ve made a big mistake. In a way I did this on purpose, though (honestly!) I wanted to first attract visitors before I began asking for email addresses to build my list. I didn’t want to appear sleazy, putting an offer on my site right away to get people to sign up so I can build a relationship with them over time via emailed newsletters.
The thing is, though, that if you are reading my posts and finding value in them, then I am missing an opportunity to possibly be creating an email list through which I can help you even more! So don’t be like me, and start an email list right away so you can better help others with your expertise!
Why is building an email list important?
When you’re interacting with your audience on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook you’re connecting with people, building relationships, and attracting more potential clients. And that’s awesome. Seriously awesome. But 1) are all of those people following you on social media really your ideal client, as I touched on above, and 2) why rely on just a social media account to connect with people? Why not extend that relationship-building to include emailing those who express an interest in what you have to offer?
Social media can develop relationships that support your website and your website supports your client with even more valuable information sent to them via email.
How to start building a list
Using your social media to help direct your ideal client back to your website allows you to build upon that relationship you’ve developed even more than just getting them to see your offers and services.
Opt-ins (sometimes called lead magnets) are a great way to do this. You provide something of value, preferably something that helps them solve a problem they have related to what you help with (or take action towards solving that problem) in exchange for their email address. Make sure what you offer is really of value. Not only will it be in exchange for something as important as an email address, but it will be a reflection of your work – and that speaks volumes to a potential client. They now have a small sample of how you work or know how what you do can benefit them, and you have a way to stay in touch with them.
See, emailing is direct. You’re now able to speak to them about something they showed interest in. You’re able to customize what you send them to meet their needs even more, making them see why working with you can really help them. And you have a collection of emails from people who have expressed an interest in what you have to offer, not just a following of people on social media who may just be there to see the next picture you post of your adorable puppy working alongside you.
Now, remember this is all a very brief explanation of how having an email list can help you, and also remember you can’t build this list from a social media account alone!
“I’m about to launch my business. Should I start with a website or a Facebook business page?“
When you’re starting your business everything is overwhelming and it might be tempting to go with the very basics and just start online with only Facebook, or only a website. Starting online with both, using them to bolster each other and grow your email list in the process will help you get in direct contact with potential clients more than a social media account alone.
Neither your social media presence or your website have to be super in depth to begin with. You can create a facebook page and post only once or twice a day (or week) to start, making sure to have your page optimized to send people back to your website. You can start with a one-page website that contains your vital information, including links to your social media where you’re most active (which should also be the social media your ideal client uses most). But also include a way for people to opt-in for more on that website of yours, too.
The main thing is to Just Start.
So this would be a great place for me to offer something of value to you in exchange for your email address, right?
You’re just starting out with your business and expenses are tight. You know you want to rock it with a strategic and professional website, but you also know you want to spend this first year really narrowing in on your ideal client and making sure you are offering the right services to them. Meaning, you don’t want to invest in a website designer and copywriter right off the bat.
Relax, I’ve got you covered! Save some pennies and use my Basic Content Planner to guide you through the essential content for your website. This is a list of common questions that will help you develop the appropriate content for the basic pages found on most websites. Sign up for my newsletter below for free occasional goodies like this!