Web 3.0 is here.

In fact, it’s been here for quite a while. You haven’t noticed though, have you? Why would you?

But you really should take notice. Why? Because you’re marketing site is most likely stuck back in 2002. And, you’re losing customers because of it.

Now, I’m sure your site doesn’t “look” like it’s almost 15 years old, but I’ll bet you anything it sure pretends like your site visitors (aka. your customers) are stuck back there.

Let me explain.

The internet is no longer new, obviously. In fact it’s getting old… mature. If you’re over 35 years old, you can remember life before the internet. But those under 30, they can’t remember a day when it didn’t exist. The way the world interacts with the internet today is categorically different than how we all did back in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

Web 1.0 To Now

There have been 3 major stages, periods of change when it comes to the internet.

Each stage has been kicked off by an explosion of growth in digital technology. Each major technological shift introduced new ways in conducting business. But not for everyone, not equally, not for small business.

You, and your business, have been left behind, neglected. While everyone around you has joined the new digital decade, you have been left behind. Your way of marketing, conducting business online is so outdated, it may as well be ancient. And that’s a scary thing for a small business owner. It means you’re losing business!

History – Web 1.0 – Just being online

You’ve got mail, chatrooms, and dancing hamsters

Web 1.0 was the birth of the web and it exploded into popular culture in the early 90’s. It was the days of Friends, coffee shops and giant cell phones (if you were lucky, I was stuck hunting down working pay phones). If you had an internet connection, it was a dial-up. And for most of us, we were always out of minutes and hunting for a spare AOL CD-ROM disc. When we had minutes, man, it was great. We were able to explore the world through chat rooms and read all the neon text we could handle.

Web 1.0 - SpaceJam

With web 1.0, if you were online, you were cutting edge. So cutting edge, that it probably did little for your business, but man was it cool.. however much of novelty it may have been.

The last 10 years of Web 2.0

Being pretty, being cool. The age of the digital brochure.

The first major revolution arrived and was coined as Web 2.0. If you remember, it was when all those glossy buttons started to show up. Most of the dancing fireballs and rainbow colored backgrounds with flashing green neon text started to disappear around this time.

Web 2.0 was the first major maturation of the web which began to make its mark in the early 00’s. It introduced groundbreaking new ways of building websites. The web grew from an odd novelty of AOL chat rooms to the birth of search engines like google. You were now able to find useful information, enjoy new ways of entertainment, and even connect socially – remember friendster?

Web 2.0 and the early 2000's

More importantly, business not only took notice, it moved online. Yellow pages and newspapers began to go the way of the dodo and the search culture was taking hold. Ecommerce had been firmly established and was no longer considered a fad or risk. It was clear. If you were a business, you HAD to be online. Websites were no longer a novelty, but a necessity.

Web Designers don’t make great Business Consultants

Naturally, with a new medium, it was the web developer and web designer who championed the move. Brilliant minds and specialist in their craft. Absolute godsends when you found a good one. To the uninitiated, moving your business online is as easy to understand as black box in a black room on a starless night, and these magicians just made it work.

For a long time, this has served everyone well. However, today… some pretty large cracks are starting to show.

No one is suffering more, than small business.

It’s 2016 and the digital business strategy for small business HAS… NOT… CHANGED. Sure, the codebase is new, we’re using html5 now instead of xhtml. The graphics are prettier. We’ve stopped using as many rainbows and dancing gifs, but what else has changed? That is, besides how everyone on the face of the planet uses the internet today?

Unlike the early 2000’s, we’re no longer wow’ed by the internet. The internet, being online is now a tool. It’s how we get directions, find recipes, communicate, entertain ourselves, and shop. Before committing to a purchase, we get online and conduct research.

The novelty of being online is gone. The lack of efficiency when looking for a local solution to our immediate need is becomming more and more frustrating. It’s just annoying now, most of the time.

Stop handing out brochures!

Today, being online is no longer a novelty

Apps have gotten the message. Ecommerce has learned. It’s now your turn. It’s time for small business to join the new age.

What you’re doing today is the equivalent of handing out a brochure at a 1980’s hotel convention to an interested prospect instead of selling to them.

Imagine this.

You’re out shopping for a car. You’ve done your research, and you’re pretty confident on what you want. You head out on a beautiful Saturday and get to the car lot. And as soon as you pull up, there it is, the car you’ve been eyeballing all week. But, once you get there, something … odd happens. There arent’ any salesman. You walk up and down the aisles, and you can’t find one.

Forgetting to help the customer

Now, shame on them for not having salesman on staff, right? How do they expect to sell cars if there isnt’ anyone out there to help someone like you? You have half the mind to pack it up and leave, but you’re really interested in that car. So you walk all the way through the lot and into that big beautiful all glass sales office.

You walk in, but you don’t see any salesmen anywhere. You do see a receptionist, so you walk up to the counter. You express your interest in a vehicle and ask for some help.

To which the receptionst replies. “Welcome to the #1 car dealer in all the world. We’ve been in business for over 30 years and we have the best selection available. I hope you’ve noticed our trophy case when you walked in. Here’s a brochure. It should tell you all you need to know about our dealership, inventory and just how great we are at what we do. So, as soon as you’re ready, just give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help. We love talking to people!”

Absurd. Right?

But this is EXACTLY how web designers and web agencies are directing their clients to build their sites.

It’s most likely what you’re doing now!

Yes, you can have code that is brilliant. Your designs can be so beautiful it makes you weep. But depending on this out-dated strategy is well… just dumb.

When a visitor lands on your marketing website for your business, THAT IS A MOTIVATED BUYER!!! And you’re giving them a brochure!!!

The digital salesman – Web 3.0

The brochure does have its place. For a long time, that’s all you needed online to succeed.

Shopping for a business online use to be a novelty. Odds were, when you found one that looked half way descent online, that’s all you needed to trust that business. But being impressive, wow’ing the consumer is no longer enough. Anyone can spend $100 on a pre-designed theme and hire a college student to get it online.

Being pretty isn’t enough. Not anymore. Anyone can be pretty, and do it for next to nothing. You must have substance. You must be helpful. You MUST MUST MUST be strategic.

When a visitor begins a search online, they’re motivated. They have a need, they’re looking for someone to fill that need. That’s about as simplistic as you can define a shopper. They’re not looking to burn hours sifting through pages. They find your pretty graphics about as helpful as the flaming fireballs and dancing hamsters from the 90’s.

Consumers, shoppers want answers. They want to find the solution to their problem as quickly and confidently as possible. They want to go about their day. They don’t want to carry the decision with them or worry about getting conned. They just want to get online, find what they’re looking for, buy, and move on.

With that kind of motivation, imagine that shopper in front of you instead of online. Would you hand them a brochure and read them everything that is currently on the front page of your website? If you wouldnt’ do it in person, why are you doing it online.

If a shopper cant’ find what they’re looking for easily, quickly on your site, they will leave. And when they leave, they will never come back!

Bringing it all together

You need a strategy. How do you talk to those motivated buyers on your site? How do you get them to your site? How do you guide them once they get there?

It’s time to bring the “art of the sell” online.

  • Define your service.
  • Define your customers’ needs.
  • Discover how those two meet up in the middle in the most helpful and effective way.
  • That’s the foundation for your site.

Figure out where your website fits into your sales cycle. Give it the tools to do it’s job as great as possible, just like you would any one of your salesmen.

Now, all the different things it takes to build a site are important.

Without an effective SEO strategy, you’ll be buried in the search result pages, hardly ever being found.

An inadequate design strategy can turn shoppers away. Sloppy or outdated code will result in poor search rankings, overpriced ppc bids, broken functionality, and an overall horrible untrustworthy experience for the shopper.

But, as important as all these things are, I think it’s been made pretty clear, without a digital sales strategy for your site, it’s all for nothing. You’ll just be spending a lot of money to take a shot in the dark… and you know better that!

You can check out Dan’s web design process to get an idea of just what and how much is involved. No matter what – please, for your sake, your customer’s sake, and just for the common sense of doing business, stop handing out brochures and start selling!