Every single golf player knows how it feels to get this question hurled at you:
Sooo… what’s your handicap?
You instinctively either wince or you grin, depending on where you figure you’ll land in the social pecking order.
This generates local status and all that… (you’ll know if you’ve read up on your Oren Klaff).
The same happens in competitive tennis, even at club levels.
Well it used to, when I was active in that sort of thing but that’s another story to tell when I feel like spinning it (see what I did there? yeah, too clever for my own good…).
Anyway, I’ll get to the point.
It has to do with your company’s level of online visibility. Also known as online business maturity.
Let me break this down to you right now before you doze off…
Level 1: At The Very Least… BE There!
At level one, your company has a domain name snatched up and there’s maybe a few lines of text about what you do, perhaps some contact info and that’s about it. A logo even, maybe.
This is acceptable for a company that’s just started operating.
And in some extremely rare cases where an established company wants to project a hard-to-get image, and can get away with it. Case in point: the Hollywood talent agency CAA. Pretty sparse, yeah? Pre-2000, probably.
Well, don’t think for a minute you could get away with this! It works for known superstar / celebrity entities ONLY.
The problem is, having a web presence this sparse can actually HURT you if you’re not a widely known star performer in your niche.
When companies at this stage come to me, I’ll usually suggest to start from scratch and do it right the first time. At this stage, it’s still easy to undo mistakes and do it right.
Level 2: Well Heck, Show ‘Em What You Got
At the only slightly higher second level, your company’s site will at least show off something you can do for your customers. A description of services offered perhaps, or a product portfolio.
This will mostly work to remind people you talked to personally, of some of the points you brought up, who exactly are you again, show you off to other stakeholders, and so on.
Still not very leveraged at all, which is what the web is really for. But still, it works to show off your positioning at least, and works as a reminder to clients and prospects.
For most company web sites at this level, my recommendation is again to scrap it and start from scratch. Do it again, this time properly. Sometimes a copy tuneup is enough to make it work.
Level 3: Now You’re A Known Quantity
This is where things start to get a little more interesting.
You can throw up a few well-written case studies up there. Success stories of your own. An origin story perhaps. Some better than average photography to go along with it.
Perhaps now you actually have a budget you can use to develop these elements into a selling tool.
The main point at this stage is to showcase your authority in your market and in your topic area.
At this stage, companies tend to need help actually developing the story pieces to a level where they’re NOT BORING (very important 🙂 and will help generate engagement, interest and contacts. Not surprisingly, copywriting is getting pretty critical now.
Level 4: Be Seen Promoting Something
This is where copywriting really comes to effect.
In fact, why would you even have a web site if you’re not using it to promote aspects of your business?
This is perhaps the major difference between American and European online businesses: Americans are always promoting something. Europeans, for the most part, rely more on building a facade.
I’m not saying one works better than the other… but, one works better than the other!
Why would you be in business, and then put your hands up to the sky and go ‘uh I dunno’ to your market?
You’ve come this far, done all this work to get known and become somewhat of an authority… and NOW you’re stepping on the breaks?
Makes no sense whatsoever.
You’ve got an audience – paid or non-paid. Now, place some offers in front of their eyes for goodness’ sakes!
Promotions actually prove to people you have what you’re going on about. Why else would you offer it?
And if you don’t offer it… how good can you be?
At this stage, create a calendar of promotions for every upcoming week and month, and plan well in advance. If you need help with that, we have ready-made processes, frameworks and automation tools that will drastically shorten your learning curve.
Level 5: Enjoy Healthy Inbound Flow
This is the holy grail, right.
Everybody wants free traffic, qualified leads and sales for free.
LEADS and DEALS, automated.
It is, however, quite doable.
If you have your authority showcased, backed up by authority content and success stories, perhaps some referral traffic… you’re getting close.
So when your company web site shows authority, content and relevant offers… you’re getting close.
And when that inbound flow starts coming in, you’d better have your process ready.
That is, Have an actual marketing funnel set up that takes people all the way from cold to cuckoo! So you don’t lose that precious, warmed-up traffic flow you finally have.
It’s a bit of work to set up, yes.
But once you get there, it changes the nature of everything you do.
THEN you have a marketing machine in your hands. Warm and fuzzy leads plunk into your inbox daily. Eager prospects contact you all excited about a case study, already imagining their great results.
But even then… you need good copy to close. And you need a funnel that makes it easy for people to proceed in your world.
So none of these levels are easy. But the obstacles are worth jumping because the closer you get to LEVEL 4 and LEVEL 5… your business life becomes more exciting at every step.