As the owner of a web presence training program, one of the most common questions I hear is, “Why Does a Heart-Centered Entrepreneur Need a Website?” The follow-up question often goes like this, “Well I can see why maybe another heart-centered entrepreneur might need a website, but I built and sustain my business on word of mouth, so I definitely don’t need a website. I’m different”.
One of my mentors, Christine Kane, refers to this as “the unique snowflake syndrome”. LOL.
The truth is, every heart-centered entrepreneur DOES need a website in today’s world. There are many reasons why, but one that is especially important. This one reason is HUGE and it can make or break your business.
Number One Reason – A Place to Build Your Mailing List
The importance of building a mailing list must not be overlooked. I heard a story the other day that was heartbreaking, and it’s why I decided to write this post.
Many yoga teachers or health practitioners work out of a studio, office space, spa, or clinic. If you fall into this category, pay close attention to this story. A friend of mine who is a yoga teacher was teaching at a studio for more than 8 years. She had a huge following and was sustaining a comfortable living.
But the studio was sold and new ownership took over. My friend didn’t resonate with the new owners. She decided she wanted to branch out and start building classes in her own space.
This is where the story gets upsetting. What she realized was that she had no ownership of the mailing list that she had helped build for the last 8 years.
In fact, she had no mailing list at all. So as she tried to think of ways to build up her classes in this new space she had rented, she realized she was going to have to start from scratch attracting new clients to her classes.
This was a huge hit to her financially. But she was also was upset because the people who had been coming to her classes for years had invested a lot in their practice with her–there was a real trust between them. She tried to spread the news about her new space via word of mouth, but there were many former clients whom she was unable to contact.
If she had been looking ahead and planning for her business’s future, she would have made sure that she was finding ways to build her mailing list over the years. The fact is that in today’s world, your business is your mailing list.
I know how your mind works and I know you thinking, “But Lissa, can’t I just pass around a clipboard after class and get my students email addresses that way. Why do I need a website?”
You need to keep in mind many studios will not allow this type of email collecting.
My recommendation to circumvent this problem is that you make an announcement that you are giving away a free “at home study guide” from your website and direct them to it. They give you their email address in exchange for the study guide. This works like a charm.
Even if the studio did allow you to pass around a clipboard for email addresses, the importance of offering your clients free content through your website cannot be overlooked. If you want a steady stream of happy clients ready and willing to buy what you are offering, then you need to do the following ASAP.
Number Two Reason – Building a Client Relationship Through Free Content
It isn’t enough to just build a mailing list. To be a thriving, relevant business in today’s world, you also need to put out valuable free content. Notice I didn’t just say free content; I said VALUABLE free content.
Your site should be optimized to collect the email addresses of your visitors. And you do this by encouraging them to sign up for your mailing list by giving away a premium, valuable free offer.
Your freebie needs to solve a problem or address a need of your ideal client. For instance, if you are a yoga teacher with clients who travel for work, you could offer a freebie on your site entitled “Guide to Keeping Up Your Yoga Practice While Traveling”.
This guide could take the form of a video series, a pdf with images and words, or it could be an audio file of you guiding them through a 20 min practice they could do in their hotel room. All of these things could easily be put together on your home computer and a smartphone. Then once they sign up for your mailing list, they download the freebie from your site.
Number Three Reason – Selling in a Whole New Way
Another reason you need the RIGHT website is because in today’s world the entrepreneurs who are thriving are selling in a whole new way. Today’s consumer is extremely savvy and most want to get to know you and connect with you BEFORE they buy from you.
And you guessed it–the best way for them to get to know you, especially while you are busy teaching classes, running retreats or working with private clients, is through ongoing valuable, free content that you give away on your website.
This ongoing valuable, free content should be something you love to do. If you love affirmations, then give away an affirmation a week as your weekly email. Or it could be something you do repeatedly, like writing blog articles about questions you answer frequently after class.
Or maybe you love video so you offer a video pose of the week. The point is, whatever you give away should be something you feel comfortable doing, something you do well, and something you know you can keep up with. It is also important that your ideal client will feel this information is valuable and that it gives him or her a taste of what it will be like to work with you.
When you give away free content that connects with your ideal clients on a regular basis, it keeps you and your products and services at the forefront of their minds. Then, when you are ready to sell something and you ask your list of clients to “buy,” they will be ready and willing to invest in you.
Number Four Reason – the Phenomenon of “Shareable Content”
Another important difference between not having a website and having the RIGHT website where you give away valuable free content is the phenomenon of “shareable content”.
When you work with a professional web designer, you can ask him/her to make sure your blog pages are shareable via social media and email. This way, anyone visiting your site who is moved by your content can with the click of a button share this content with his/her entire social network or friends.
Remember how at the beginning of this article my heart-centered entrepreneur said, “Why do I need a website when I have built my entire business on word of mouth?”
Having the RIGHT website will allow you to take the concept of word of mouth and multiply its positive effects times a million through “shareable content”. There is no better way to grow your business than with shareable content and the social proof that it offers.
When a prospective ideal client gets a recommendation from a friend like, “Hey I just read this article by an amazing yoga teacher in your area. I think you would love it too!” there is already a sense of trust between you and the prospective client. This is because the friend has built the trust with his/her personal recommendation of you.
If you have built your business on word of mouth so far, then you are a perfect candidate for the RIGHT website. A website that has been optimized to share your free content through social media will allow you to grow and flourish beyond your wildest dreams, because of the power of shareable content, social proof, and client testimonials.
Number Five Reason – Your Website Works for You While You are Busy Doing Other Things
I have already mentioned this, but the RIGHT website combined with your valuable free content will work for you while you are busy doing other things.
As a solopreneur it is impossible for you to be everywhere you need to be. You, more than most entrepreneurs, need the power of the RIGHT website. This is especially true if you want to get out of the cycle of feast and famine.
The RIGHT website combined with your valuable, free content WILL help you will attract a steady stream of clients, grow the relationship with the clients you already have, and allow you to attract limitless opportunities.
I know that creating the RIGHT website can be overwhelming and confusing. So next week I will share “8 Keys to Crafting the RIGHT Website for the Heart Centered Entrepreneur”.