So, I was at the dentist this week, and I found it interesting how there were parallels of communication in my own business as a Web developer in Vancouver.
My dentist is hilarious, and fun to work with by the way (this is my plug for him since he inspired me to write this blog post). His name is Dr. Pisanu and he doesn’t have a Web site yet (which we also talked about). But no, the first lesson is not ‘make sure you have a Web site.’ I like to think I’m a deeper, more thoughtful person than that!
The Web development business lesson: tell people it’s their choice to get results, or to get no results
The interesting thing about Dr. Pisanu, is that when he tells you about the dentistry work you need done to save your precious teeth, he gives you a few options, but they always start with “do nothing.” I asked him why he says that to his patients (after I laughed about it, because a cracked tooth that’s on its way out doesn’t really have the option of ‘doing nothing’ about it….and yet it’s still my choice…hmmmm).
The answer was very simple. It lets people know that the decision to move forward is theirs, and that Dr. Pisanu is not trying to sway them either way. They can use Dr. Pisanu’s services or they chose not to. This changes the perspective of the transaction. Now it’s no longer, “my dentist said I have to do this,” (which puts a lot of onus of responsibility on him, I think), it’s more that “my dentist recommends this, I’m going to make a decision to do it, or make a decision to be in pain later, but either way it’s not his fault what the outcome is.”
In Web development and in Internet marketing, this has a lot of relevance, believe it or not. Sometimes people wonder if they have to have this or that on their Web site, especially when the cost is factored in. If Web development potentials want more bells and whistles on their site, those are variables they can control. I like to say, “anything is possible but it’s all about how much you want to pay for it.” They can, for example, ask for extra page template designs, or a special calendar function, or copywriting services, or SEO or other things. It’s not that a Web site must have these things. In fact, a lot of free templates out there can get you a decent looking Web site with very little cost, and very little time, if you just put your thought into setting them up properly. It will probably also accomplish what most Web sites accomplish – simply getting your business online.
The value in hiring a Web developer comes in the customization abilities they can do for you, and the value in hiring an Internet marketer is in the way they can help make sure your site is seen and ‘heard’ by users on the Web, who are faced with millions more sites just like yours. In short, it’s about the return on investment, not just the smallest investment.
So the answer becomes, in this case, you can do nothing if you want. You don’t have to hire a professional. You can buy a decent template for less than $100. The choice is yours. But if you want the best ‘treatment’ for your business, you are probably going to have a ‘healthier’ business by having a professional make your Web site for you.
But sometimes, I get clients who are very resistant to taking my advice. For example, I may suggest they word things in a specific way so as to best optimize their site for search engines. But they don’t like the wording. This happens a lot. So they give up the opportunity to tell Google what their site is about, because of a choice of words they can’t live with.
Other times, clients are against having a blog. Even though stats show that blogs make businesses money (also see the inboundwriter.com article about this), the mindset of some people is that blogs give useless information, and they just want news about their own company on their site. It doesn’t have to be that your blog gives useless information, and to be honest, information about your company is something your users won’t care about. What they care about is what is of value to them.
Recently, I had a situation where a company’s name was not going to be conducive to getting them ranking on the Google Maps results, when shown in light of their competition, sites which were ranking for obvious reasons (a keyword in their company name). A change in my clients’ name and logo would have been small, and the meaning would have been the same. It was a matter of changing synonyms. But this was a line not to be crossed. So they may forgo the traffic they could otherwise be getting to their site as a result of refusing that proposed change. We’ll see what happens. I hope I am wrong.
So when faced with this type of resistance, I like to put it this way for my clients (consider this tough love):
“It comes down to this: do you want money or not?”
As a Web developer and SEO servicing your company, all I can do to help you is to encourage you to let me work within the parameters that I know how, as a professional Internet marketer and Web developer. The most successful client projects I’ve worked on, with WordPress Web sites and SEO, is when the client does not micro manage the work I do for them. They are not married to the way things are worded, the way their Web site should look, and the way content is organized. They let me do my job. Once I get interference and restrictions in what I am able to do, the battle is lost, but the losses are not mine. This has happened time and again. Unfortunately, people make the decision not to trust the research I present to them about what works, and what doesn’t on the Web.
And the funny thing is, after I work for months on the project, or finish the Web development within the restrictions I am given, I am the one that is blamed, or questioned about why the site is not ranking well on search engines. This also happens to me a lot.
So the lesson learned from Dr. Pisanu is that it takes trust to let a professional do their job. You can control the outcome of the results you get, believe it or not. If you want someone to do nothing for you, or to not do what is recommended as a professional, the onus of the responsibility to benefit from the service is on you.