Every business owner wants to have their own website. It’s exciting! It’s your piece of internet real estate. And it’s a place for you to show off what you do, to share your message, and to reach out to new clients.
But here’s the thing: I don’t believe a website is necessarily a good investment if you’re very early in your business.
Most entrepreneurs start their service-based businesses in a similar way. They have a general idea of the services they provide, and they take on as many projects as they can in order to get the business off the ground. Usually this means they’re working with a wide range of different clients. Sometimes this work is semi-experimental. They see what it is they enjoy, what they’re good at, and what the market’s demands actually are.
I say this from my own experience and from the experience of the clients I’ve worked with. You simply do not want to invest in a website before you’ve established AT LEAST these 3 key things:
- What (SPECIFIC) problem you solve.
- How you solve it.
- Who you serve.
Figuring out this exact equation for your business takes time. It takes trial and error. It’s very rare that someone embarks on their entrepreneurial journey with their entire brand message totally mapped out.
Moral of the story? I don’t want you to invest in your website copy, and then regret it 6 months later because your business and your message has changed so much.
With that in mind, let’s dig into what those 3 pieces are and how to nail them down for your brand.
What Problem Do You Solve?
Understanding your ideal client’s problem is absolutely CRUCIAL to being able to sell your service and perform it effectively. Yet, I find that oftentimes business owners don’t have a clear grasp on what the problem really is.
They may have a general theory of what their audience’s problem is. But they haven’t taken the time to go deep with their audience to understand the SPECIFIC pain points they need to be addressing in order to get their message across.
I’ll use my own business as an example. I could say my clients’ problem is they don’t know how to get their message across to their audience.
This may be true. In fact, in many cases it is true. However, it’s not the MAIN pain point my audience has. For that, I have to go a little deeper.
Sure, it’d be nice for them to be able to get their message across. But WHY do they want to do that? What underlying problem does that solve for them? For my target audience, I’ve discovered the MAIN problem my service solves is this:
Their website is not helping them convert clients and make sales.
Now THAT is a pain point. What’s the point in having a business website if it’s not helping you make money?
So that’s the main problem I target in my messaging. There are others I hit on, like not having the time or desire to write your own copy (definitely a big pain point for some people!), but understanding this MAIN problem is what helps keep my messaging on a consistent trajectory.
Note: It’s so important to make sure you’re solving a problem people REALLY have. That’s a whole other issue – here’s a good resource if you want to get into it!
How Do You Solve the Problem?
Think about your service in terms of how you solve the problem instead of just what you do. Nobody cares that you’re a super experienced and passionate business manager specializing in administration (okay, maybe some people do). What they care about is HOW YOU CAN HELP THEM.
When you talk about your service, you need to talk about it in terms that directly speak to the person you’re trying to help. This is your chance to show your ideal clients how you can solve their problem and get them amazing results with your service.
My #1 tip when it comes to talking about your service:
Focus on THEM, not you.
I know, I know – it’s YOUR service. But, as with everything in your business, the point isn’t to make it about you. The point is to show your audience, every step of the way, that you are all about helping them.
That’s why I frame this as “how you solve your audience’s problem,” and not “how you tell people about your service.” Just this little tweak in language can get you thinking about it in a completely different way.
Before you invest in a website, you need to be very clear on what your service is and, most importantly, HOW that service solves your ideal client’s problem.
Who Do You Serve?
Just to be clear, “anyone with a pulse” is not the correct answer to this question, no matter what your service is.
Now, there are about a bajillion resources out there designed to help you discover who your ideal client is. I’m sure some of them may be helpful, but here’s my take, for what it’s worth.
I think the best way to discover your ideal client is through trial and error.
I think it’s fine to start off with an idea of who that person is. When I started my business, I targeted my services to “creative entrepreneurs.” It turned out that a lot of the people who needed my services weren’t actually creatives, though (I have excellent clients who are in real estate, project management, and other service-based industries).
I realized over time that my ideal client is actually a service-based business owner, and most of the time they are solopreneurs who are the face of the brand.
This is the third thing you need to know before you invest in a website because it deeply affects the way you structure your message. You’re not going to speak to a 50-something C-suite executive climbing the corporate ladder the same way you’re going to speak to a 30-something stay-at-home mom looking to improve her self-care routine.
You need to know your ideal client through and through before you put your resources into a website.
Are You Ready to Invest in a Website?
I’m writing this blog post as someone who:
- Has launched a website for my business too early and made these mistakes.
- Has worked with business owners on website copy before it was the right time, and has realized that was an error.
It’s why I now screen my potential clients and make sure they’ve been in business long enough and have a strong enough grasp of their brand before I take them on as clients.
So here’s my promise to you: If you inquire with me about website copy, I will tell you up front if I think it’s the right time for you to make the investment. It’s really important to me that we get your message right, and that it stands the test of time.
If you’re at a place in your business where you ARE ready to take the next step and invest in a website, I’d love to help! Get in touch with me here!