Why you really do need a website (preferably a great one!)

why you need a website

Whenever I meet with a potential client who is just starting out in their practice, the question "Do I really need a website?" inevitably comes up. There are SO MANY "should haves" when you're just starting out - from business cards to social media, and of course a website... Then the website brings up 1001 more questions like your logo, domain URL, business name, headshots, pricing, packages and more...

So I totally get that this can be a topic that makes you want to hide. The most technophobic among you understandably are feeling a little bit unsure, but even those who have quite a bit of experience in this realm can easily get overwhelmed by the number of different options available. And my role is to help you move beyond the overwhelm, anxiety, tech phobia, feelings and confusion, feeling stuck or maybe unclear. That's why I call myself a "website doula"!

Here are my top five reasons that you need a website:

1. The Millenials are pregnant.

Number one, first and foremost, is that the millennials are pregnant right now. If you have no idea what a millennial is, take a look at my post on web design for millenial clients. The population of families that are currently having babies and their online habits and spending trends are very relevant for us to understand. Representing those currently between the ages of 23 and 39, they represent 25% of the U.S population. As a generation raised with ample access to technology, there is an general expectation that a professional business owner will have a quality online presence that is easy to navigate, current in design, and 100% mobile responsive.

As well, marketing research on this generation reveals some unique priorities when deciding which service provider or product to choose. There is a keen interest in having true, authentic, personalized experience rather than a cookie cutter solution. When a service has a strong brand identity that creates connection with their values, this greatly enhances the likelihood of them clicking on BUY NOW.

2. Your website can be a living creation that grows and changes to support your business.

My hope is that you can see your website not as a static thing to check off your to do list, but rather as a creative marketing tool that can help you grow. Yes, more traditional marketing elements such as business cards, posters, networking events, info nights, partnerships and collaborations are important. Even if these are working reasonably well for you, an effective online presence that will take your marketing efforts to the next level. Not only can your website inform & inspire potential clients, but it can also help you better serve existing and even past clients. Ideas might include:

  • Public resource hub featuring local service providers & retailers
  • Or, take it to the next level with an additional password-protected resource hub for clients with exclusive discounts from local retailers & service providers and favorite local resources & articles. You can even transform your client handout package into an online format.
  • Free ebook guides on topics of interest to your ideal client such as Breastfeeding in X Town: What you need to know - also a great way to build your mailing list.
  • Featured blog post interviews and giveaway collaborations with other local business owners serving the same niche market.
  • Landing pages for social media featuring key free resources & special offers.
  • Online scheduling app for discovery sessions, client intakes & appointments.

3. Online confirmation of how awesome you are.

Let's imagine Julia's best friend says "Hey, you should check out Sofia the Doula." Julia goes online and they can't find you or just a Facebook page shows in search and there haven't even been any new posts in the last three months. Or imagine that Julia actually met Sofia at a Meet the Doula event. Sofia seemed awesome and Julia thinks she's likely the perfect fit for their family. When Julia goes home that night and checks out Sofia's website, there is an immediate dissonance because it is so poorly designed, or not mobile responsive, or filled with blurry photos and spelling errors. The sense of excitement is replaced by a question mark, and Sofia likely just lost Julia as a new client.

Research even shows that instead of turning to friends and family for recommendations, people are turning now to the internet first looking for proof of your value - through social media, a quality website, and client reviews. That's right - they're looking at the quality of your website to affirm their buying choices as opposed to the word of those they trust. While traditionally websites have been seen as simply a sort of online brochure, today successful websites are far more dynamic, starting a conversation and inviting interaction and connection.

Like it or not, your website serves as online confirmation of your value as a provider. Without that, most millennials will simply walk away.

Your strong online presence serves as a confirmation or reinforcement, helping potential clients feel excitement rather than caution about hiring you. You want your website - and social media (they work together!) to validate and enhance those word of mouth referrals. Not only do we want to have potential clients be able to easily find you online, but we are looking for a dynamic where they meet you at a doula info night or do the speed dating and they think, wow, I really liked them, and then they go to your website and feel even MORE excited.

4. You can make it easy.

Another important thing to know about the Millenial generation? They generally prefer self service. That means that they want to be able to easily find and review your fees and service offerings on the website. They want to be able to fill out a form and either hire you right away or schedule that discovery consult without having to go through multiple steps to get there. For example - if you do offer a free consult, you might want to consider integrating that signup form with a booking calendar so that they can automatically schedule with you. Your goal is to take out back and forth - no phone tag, missed emails, or hunting for an available date. We want to make sure that the pathway is streamlined for them to easily learn more & hire you.

At this point you may already be feeling like "Ugh! These are too many things for me to consider how to, what we were, where do I even start?" Please take the deep breath. This is hard for most of us. Being visible in the online realm is vulnerable. It requires that you have a sense of clarity around your brand identity, feel confidence in your fees and offerings and fees, and have a strong sense of your identity within the local community. That's a lot, but it leads us to rationale #5 >

5. Transform the experience of "selling yourself."

I hear from a LOT of clients who worry about selling themselves. At the same time, they really want to get more clients and see an effective website is a big part of that. They want to market their services but desperately want to avoid sounding salesy.

Here's the reality: If you are serving individuals or families as a care provider, you have to sell both your services, AND what makes you unique as a provider of those services.  Ultimately, you really are selling the experience of working with YOU, not just any random acupuncturist, doula, or massage therapist. You really do need to put yourself out there in a vulnerable way because if you create a site that is nothing more than facts and packages, it's very hard for potential clients to feel a sense of connection and purpose to choosing your practice vs. the 10 other practitioners in your community.

Your website is a fabulous opportunity to develop your brand identity, so that when somebody lands on your site, they have that immediate sense of how what you do will transform their experience, and what makes your offerings unique or special. They'll see that represented in everything from your logo to your content language, to your fonts, images & testimonials. The result? By the time they contact you, they already feel close to the decision to hire you.  By shifting the focus of your website from "all about you" to the client experience, they'll already be sold on working with you from your first conversation!

Have I convinced you yet? Of course, now you actually have to build a website! (Or consider a refresh or rebuild if you feel your current site is in need of some loving care!)  I can help.  Contact me today for a free website discovery call.

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Hi there, I’m Sarah Juliusson, and yes I really am a Website Doula. I support your practice growth with creative website design, seasoned business guidance, and plenty of great resources to help you find your way. With 12 years in web design, and another 20+ years as a health & wellness pro, I believe in the value of your work as much as you do. Get started today with a Free Discovery Call!

- Sarah Juliusson (she/her), the WEBSITE DOULA