“Can you give me a quote for a website and SEO?”
That was the email I got about 2 months ago. I replied saying there were many variables to consider with that sort of question, that a face to face meeting would be better to run through the requirements and come up with a plan.
Fast forward to the meeting… within the first three minutes I knew it would be a challenging one. We quickly established that we fundamentally disagreed on what the first steps should be to start growing their business.
They were brand new… no name, branding, or online presence. They had a specialist service they wanted to attract customers for, but no strategy to do it. They were planning to charge a premium rate for this service as well… because they were ‘different’ (with no way to prove that). They were adamant that all they needed to do was start selling their services…. But how?
Educating before executing
A lot of what we do at Freshly Brewed is educate clients on the best way to approach a strategy to achieve their objectives. In the example above, the new company had an objective to attract 15 new clients per month. They were looking for someone who could help make that happen, from scratch, with no presence in the market….
I took a step back from jumping into a sales strategy, to how they plan to position themselves in the market. It is a saturated industry that they are operating in, and with their location in a prominent area in London which is well known for these sorts of services… standing out against their competition is key.
But my advice fell on deaf ears. Their internal ‘advisor’ argued relentlessly with me about not needing to spend the time up front to create a strong foundation for the company or the brand, from which to build the business on.
I was faced with the adamant belief that “we can just put something cheap and temporary online and change it in six months”.
While I agree that it isn’t always necessary to be 100% from the start, and that you can grow and evolve along the way… the fundamental issue I was trying to raise with them is brand awareness and consistency. Furthermore, having to then spend the time, energy and money to redo the website, logo, imagery, message and strategy in six months’ time seemed redundant. Because at that point, you may have to start from scratch, and the past six months didn’t add much to your long-term objectives – just short term sales.
Knowing your audience
Harley Street is the street in London for all things medical, dental and cosmetic. It comes as no surprise then, that there tends to be a more affluent clientele who seek out services in this area. This was one of my primary talking points… who are they trying to attract?
The type of procedures they provide are can be viewed as invasive or risky, and require a high level of trust. Would putting a DIY website up, with a £5 logo from a random stock vector site instill that trust? Would having no clear brand story, vision or articulation of WHY people should trust you, convince people you were worth spending 50% more with? I don’t think so… but still, all they wanted was to run Google Adwords campaigns to drive traffic.
What are you driving traffic to?
This was precisely my question, and case in point. You can’t (well you can if you want to waste money) set up an Adwords campaign and direct traffic to something that won’t convert. It is a wasted effort. An effective Adwords campaign has many variables…. Most of which they wanted to ignore.
Your brand is the sum of its’ parts
What this company failed to understand is that everything they do, say, create and showcase is their brand. I was arguing the need for a strong foundation, a representative visual identity, and well-built website. We didn’t need to go over the top, but it should be worthy of attracting the right customers, telling the right story and instilling trust to set them up for long-term growth.
They wanted to skip the consistency part and jump straight into selling. But if your foundation is built on sand, it will quickly erode and crumble.
Time is money
By the way they were arguing, I initially thought they must not have a budget for what they originally asked for. As it turned out, they had a quite healthy budget, which could have easily covered the cost to do things right from the start, as well as run a 12-month campaign to attract the right type of business.
Their new argument was time. They didn’t want to ‘waste time’ with these things, because by the time they were ready, they “could have been selling for six weeks already”.
The irony is, that as of the time of writing this article it has been exactly six weeks. There is no indication that they have managed to achieve anything they were arguing they wanted to do.
At the very least they could have had a strong brand story, articulation of why they are worthy of a premium rate, a website and visual identity. Additionally, they could have had a plan to drive business for the next 12 months, and someone to actually drive this plan and make it a reality.
Planning in advance
I should have mentioned before that all of this took place AFTER they spent nearly three months fully refurbishing a practice. All of that ‘time we would waste’ could have been done during the refurbishment to hit the ground running.
Instead, an unwillingness to take advice has left the business burning money and struggling to find momentum.
Short-term gains don’t always equal long-term success
Building your business, presence in the market and a strong brand takes time. It is a combination of factors that need to be carefully crafted and aligned to give you maximum potential for success. There is no one-size-fits-all. You need to tailor your approach. You MUST take the time to understand your audience and align your presence in the market.
Trying to run before you walk will only lead to you stumbling.
Looking for marketing, branding or web solutions?
Contact Freshly Brewed and we can help you avoid similar pitfalls.
Keeping your marketing fresh…