Time to Toss the Tatters
I was engaged in the highbrow process of folding laundry yesterday, when inspiration for my latest blog post struck. As I reached for a pair of my husband’s favorite boxers (yes, I know my life is exciting – trust me, I know), and saw that they were ripped in a couple of places, I shook my head and summarily deposited them in the garbage. The whole time thinking “Oh, I have to be sure and empty that before the nutball gets home from work, else he’ll never let me toss them.” Funny, I’m still hanging on to a few favorite pairs of undies of my own that have surely seen better days. But, as we all know, it’s infinitely easier to judge someone else’s tattered garments and decide to dispose of them than it is to honestly evaluate your own.
Don’t you remember your mother’s admonition about not wearing ratty underwear in case of an accident? Well, I’m pretty sure that we ALL have some of those kinds of underwear stashed in our drawers. And as we all know, accidents do happen. What she really meant by that adage was that you always want to put your best foot forward – even down to the nitty gritty of your choice of underwear, because you never know who’s going to be looking at them.
I’m not sure why we insist on keeping things that are beyond their prime. For some, it might be out of a sense of frugality, but for many, it’s truly because change is hard. And that, my friends, is the key. Change. Is. Hard.
For me, websites are a bit like tattered underwear. I encounter terrific people on a daily basis who have websites that are sadly outdated and doing absolutely nothing for them in terms of search, brand image, awareness, etc. And anyone who thinks they are not being judged based on the look and feel, content and effectiveness of their website is simply fooling themselves.
We have a client who owns a local small business. When we started working with her, she had a website that was about 10 years old and was more horrible than words can describe. In short, it was so poorly constructed that she had never, ever been picked up by a search engine. It was head-shakingly horrid. And she’d just been holding onto it because she didn’t know any better. And she thought that to replace it would cost infinitely more than she could afford. But, ultimately, she made the decision to trust us, find the money in an already tight budget, and redo her website. And she was thrilled when we brought the project in $200 under budget. We also started her blogging, integrated a contest into her marketing strategies and did a few other things designed to drive traffic, search and awareness.
We are big believers in using ethical search engine marketing tactics and go to great lengths to ensure that our clients understand that great search results take a little time. We got amazingly lucky with regard to this particular client and she started showing up in search within a very short time of the website launch. And the coolest thing about all of this is just being able to sit back and watch our client reap the benefits of her leap of faith into the world of actually marketing her business in a strategic manner. She’s busier than she’s ever been. Her phone rings on a daily basis, she gets email inquiries from all over the world. Her biggest problem these days is having enough staff to handle the influx of business. And it’s all because people are searching for what it is that she does – and finding her. She is loving life and her business is thriving, in spite of the down economy, and it’s all because she decided to take a chance. She decided to toss out the old, worn out, ineffective stuff and replace it with new.
The lesson here is that change is good. And necessary. Even if you are attached to your tattered undies, you have to occasionally toss them out and buy new ones. They look better, they fit better, they feel better. They do a better job at what it was they were designed to do. The same is true of your website or other collateral marketing materials and tools that you have. Just because you designed them once, doesn’t mean that they are still effective. Smart business people regularly evaluate those tools and their effectiveness. And, if you’re not doing that, you’re doing your brand and your business an injustice.