losing business

Since we’ve been planning a redesign for both this site and The Mom Writes, I’ve been really busy scouting web and graphic designers.

While I’ve finalized my projects, in my travels across the Net, I came across a LOT of businesses that made me go “Huh!”

And I realized that a lot of service providers – designers, consultants, coaches, writers, bloggers, are losing business EVERY.SINGLE.DAY because of a few super-obvious  factors.

Here’s a look at the top 5 reasons you may not be making as much money as you should be:

1.No Newsletter = No New Business

I visited so many sites and many of them appealed to me but weren’t in my budget right now. However, I wanted a way to stay in touch with them so that I could get info on their specials whenever they run them. Unfortunately, except for a very few of them, NONE of them had an email subscription or newsletter for me to sign up to.

Seriously, how many of us have the time to keep checking a website to see if they’re running any promotions? I don’t.

2.No Blog= No Search Engine Traffic

Then, there were these amazing designers who had NO blogs attached to their websites. I know blogging is an investment of time and effort, but it is also an investment that pays off. Big time.

You attract search engine traffic, engage with prospects landing on your site for the first time and nurture leads by showcasing your talent. Need more reasons, read this.

But most importantly, a blog is YOUR piece of online real estate, unlike a social network that may change or worse, die.

If blogging doesn’t come naturally to you or you lack the time to blog, hire someone to do it for you.  But do it and see the impact it makes on your business.

3.No Contact Form = Lower Contact Rates

That’s right. Seriously, a contact form is a given. You can share your email address if you want to but again, time is of the essence here. And busy business owners don’t have the time to copy your email address from your webpage, open their email in a browser window, paste it in the compose field and then, type out their message. I am tired just typing the steps.

A contact form, on the other hand, makes it super-easy for folks to contact you in a few clicks and keystrokes. You don’t even need to hire a coder to install a contact form. My favorite FREE form builder, Jotform, lets you  create and embed a contact form in less than 5 minutes. So, don’t make it difficult for paying customers to reach you. Please.

4. No Customer Follow Up Sequence = Losing Prospects to Better Organized Competition

Now this happened to me, twice. I emailed a couple of designers and then I followed up to find out if they got my email. Big fail right there. I’m the client, I shouldn’t be following up. But it gets better {or worse}. After my following up, from one, I get a reply with no proposal. Just a brief note saying she’ll be in touch with me which never happened.

The second one didn’t even reply.

See, I get it. You’re busy. Maybe you can’t take on my project. Maybe we’re not the right fit. I get all of that. What I don’t get is NOT replying to a prospective customer who wants to hire you. By making this little mistake, you’re not only saying “I don’t need your business”, you’re also saying, “ I don’t need any business you may want to send my way.”

Compare this to branding queen, Victoria Prozan, who makes not only contacting her a breeze but has an awesome follow-up sequence when you sign up for a free 15-minute session with her. No wonder she’s the go-to gal for designing awesome customer experiences. Need a customer intake or follow-up sequence? This post by Natasha of Systems Rock will help!

5. No Social Media Presence = No Networking Opportunities

Finally, there were sites that had no social media connection opportunities. At least none that could be found easily. Why is that a big mistake, especially when I keep going on and on about a blog?

Social media, whether you choose one network or five, gives you a great opportunity to share your expertise and interact with prospects and peers in an informal, engaging and fun manner. It’s so easy to reach out to someone on Twitter and say, “Hey, I saw you’re looking for a web designer. I’d love to brainstorm concepts or moodboards with you. Skype?” Need help getting started with social media, download your free social media starter toolkit now!

 Take Action: Review your website to see how YOU may be losing business and money, and then, commit to fixing it. Share with me in the comments what would YOU be doing and get public accountability by tweeting this out.