Welcome to Modern Sales

How to Create a Simple Consulting Website with Jared Gold (Part 2 of 2)

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
If you don’t have a great website, you’re at an immediate disadvantage in marketing yourself to new clients. What makes a great website? My guest Jared Gold of Website By Tonight has the answer.

Mentioned in this episode:

Schedule a Strategy Call with Liston
Jared Gold’s Website By Tonight

For more information on remote selling and a complete list of links mentioned in this podcast, visit this remote selling article on our website.


How to Create a Simple Consulting Website with Jared Gold (Part 2 of 2):

Full Transcript

Liston Witherill:
Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners, and salespeople looking to have more and better conversations with your perfect clients. You’ll get a healthy scoop of psychology, behavioral economics and sales studies to help you create win-win relationships. I’m your host, Liston Witherill, and I’m pleased to welcome you to Modern Sales.

Liston Witherill:
Now this is episode two with Jared Gold. If you haven’t listened to episode one, go back and listen to that before you listen to this, unless you want to be slightly confused, which, hey, may be a personal choice. I’ll leave that to you. Now, if you are interested in helping one of your friends, one of your colleagues, one of your peers, improving their own consulting business, tell them about The Liston.io Show. Share your favorite episode with them, that’s all I ask, and that is the end of all of my calls to action in this episode, and I want to turn right back to Jared to pick up the conversation about having a website as a solo entrepreneur or a solo consultant. What do you call your clients, Jared?

Jared Gold:
I actually have independent consultant / solo entrepreneur / freelancer. I don’t know what to call them. I use that really long kind of title, or I pick and choose depending on the kind of person. If it’s a therapist, I’ll say solo practitioner.

Liston Witherill:
Right? I feel your pain, and I’ve had this conversation with lots of my friends, and it turns out that people self identify lots of different ways. Even though the way they operate and do business and their business model is nearly identical. So it’s a small problem for us to solve.

Jared Gold:
Right? For the ages. I don’t think we’ll ever solve it in our lifetime.

Liston Witherill:
Right. So in the last episode, we talked a lot about some of the myths, the things that you should just kind of throw out, they’re junk, about what you need in place in order to have a website. We also talked about why a website is so important. So now let’s get into the minimum viable website for a solo consultant / freelancer / independent contractor / professional service provider, however you identify. Whatever it is, what are those elements that are critical? I’m going to tee you up and then I’m going to shut up for a second. You mentioned having a simple but professional website, and so I’d love for you to dig into that, and also a branded email address.

Jared Gold:
On my content doc, which is just a Google doc that clients populate just with their content as they see fit, my default pages are home services about contact. So in general, I think that’s the perfect framework, or at least the perfect absolute minimum viable framework. If you are a graphic designer, you should have a portfolio. So if you create physical work or tangible work in some capacity, it’s essential to have your work on there, and if you don’t have work, then actually, my recommendation is to go out and try to do some free work and use that to build your portfolio, but I imagine most of the listeners don’t necessarily do things like that. They’re probably more service providers, to where it’s a little bit less tangible than something you can photograph or whatever. So yeah, I say home services about contact, and in a perfect world, you have some testimonials or even some case studies. They’re not an absolute requirement, but they really add a lot of value. So let’s say you’re a sales consultant.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, let’s say.

Jared Gold:
It’s going to be really important to have testimonials at the very least, or case studies. “Hey, I came in and this was this company’s numbers for the previous quarter, and with my training and implementation of all these things, we boosted sales 20% for the next quarter.” Just some tangibility around what you do really, really helps, in addition to the home services about contact. So that’s the absolute minimum viable shell, and then I say you should definitely have a contact form. I don’t want to go off too much on a tangent here, but I usually don’t like to have my email, my phone number right on my website. I like to have the contact form, A, to prevent down on some spam, B, because I hate out of the blue calls, and if you answer a call if you’re at the grocery store or something, running an errand, you’re not going to be in a position to best serve your clients or impress them.

Jared Gold:
So I like the forum to kind of have people qualify themselves and also allow me to get back to it when I’m best ready to answer, and also frame the conversation. So like, “What’s your name, your email, ideally your phone number, and then how can I help you? What made you want to reach out?”, and have people kind of lay it all out there so that I can maybe do a little bit of mental prep work or any little bit of research prior so that when I actually have that call, when we scheduled that call, I’m ready to really dig in and get to the core of what the issue is.

Jared Gold:
What other things were you wondering about in terms of minimum viable website, or does that kind of answer it?

Liston Witherill:
Well, you’re the pro here, so I wanted to hear from you, but one thing I was curious about is you didn’t mention anything about a newsletter, a lead magnet and opt in. Why is that not part of the minimum viable website?

Jared Gold:
Good question. Those are things I really believe in, but those don’t immediately help you close deals. Also, I think it depends on the kind of sale or the kind of service you’re offering. So with Website By Tonight, it’s much more of a transactional sale. It’s either you need it or you don’t, and you either trust me or you don’t. When I say me, I mean Website By Tonight, we have multiple designers, and so the sales process is usually pretty quick. Usually deals close after maybe the first 15 or 20 minute call or so, or shortly thereafter. I think the lead magnet stuff and the newsletter opt-in is really important, but that’s more of a longterm setup that you can add to your website after the fact. Once you figure out, “Hey, I’m really looking to grow this kind of service, sell more services in this capacity or whatever, I’m going to take some time to really develop an awesome lead magnet or take some time to really design a professional newsletter so that when I do roll it out down the road, that’s kind of version two of my marketing plan,” it can be really effective.

Jared Gold:
I think a lot of people rush their lead magnet or newsletter or whatever to the point that they don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re just doing it because they think they should be doing it, as opposed to adding real value that actually not only adds value, but can actually help them get more business down the road. I think that takes a lot more consideration, and then there’s also some technical setup which can be more complicated. A MailChimp newsletter is easy, but an email opt-in, does that entail a marketing automation kind of drip campaign? Just saying those words probably gives anxiety to people. So it gives anxiety to me.

Liston Witherill:
I was going to ask if you’re feeling anxious right now just talking about it.

Jared Gold:
I am. That’s why I hired a marketing consultant, but obviously, I already have my phase one on my website, so I’m moving on phase two.

Liston Witherill:
That’s exactly where I was going to go. You can’t do everything at once, and so if you go, and now I’m talking to the listeners, not you Jared, so if you go and look at your favorite website and it has an opt-in and it has things for sale and it has on and on and on, all these different functions of a website, it didn’t start like that. You’re seeing the evolved version that maybe took several years to create. Version one was probably a single page or maybe just home, services, about, contact, if they wanted to break it into several pages, but it was really, really simple, I’m sure. So I totally agree with you, particularly if someone doesn’t know marketing well, and particularly if you’re not technically inclined, just take that off the list, and you can worry about building a list later.

Liston Witherill:
Now, what I will say, Jared, is I think where we slightly disagree is if you can commit to some sort of email newsletter once a month, once a quarter, even, some normal interval, MailChimp is free to put a form on your site and just start collecting email addresses. So I would recommend doing that, because everybody says this, right? If you ever plan to do any email marketing whatsoever, your first thought when you do it is, “I should have done this six months ago or a year ago,” and so it’s just one of those things.

Jared Gold:
It’s the old Chinese proverb, where it’s like, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” That kind of thing.

Liston Witherill:
Exactly right. Yeah. So plant the tree and it can grow in the background a little bit until you’re ready to fully give it the attention it deserves.

Liston Witherill:
Okay. So we talked about the minimum viable website and once someone gets the website done from you, they have all the different pieces, you and your designers work with them, the website is launched, what typically comes next for most people?

Jared Gold:
In terms of once they have the website live, or in terms of as far as working with Website By Tonight?

Liston Witherill:
Oh, good question. In terms of having the website live. What should they do next?

Jared Gold:
I think my first thought is to promote it to their network on LinkedIn or email, whether friends, whether business, networking, acquaintances, whatever. “Hey, just launched my website. What do you think?” I would even ask former clients, “Hey, what do you think of my new website? I really value your opinion. Does this adequately reflect what I do?”, because I think they’re really a really important source of information. Ideally they’ll say, “Oh my god, this perfectly sums up the value you brought to me or my organization,” and ideally, they’re not like, “Oh, you know, this is kind of confusing. That’s not how you helped me,” or whatever. That would be a nightmare scenario, assuming you want more of those clients.

Jared Gold:
That would be my immediate first step, and then down the road, they can explore the possibility of the logo and business cards. That’s probably a step that I would do. I wouldn’t feel in a terrible, terrible rush, but I would probably start exploring that, but I would just start getting the website out any ways I could in a non annoying way, and just seeing how people react to it, see if people fill out the contact form or visit it, and just kind of get some feedback and iterated on it from there, but really, the ideal thing is now it’s time to go out and actually sell to your prospects, the people that you designed that you want to look at the website to become clients, and that you can best serve with your skills and experience, how can you get in front of them? Now you’re in a position where you can send them …

Jared Gold:
I love cold emails. That’s how we met. I live and die by the cold email. They can reach out to these people via cold email or LinkedIn and say, “Hey, I came across what you do. Looks like we might be a fit to work together, as I’ve helped X, Y, Z. Are you open to a 15, 20 minute intro call?” So really, the website is like the ultimate version one of sales collateral to ideally get people to hop on a call with you, which I almost always recommend as the first step in a sales process, but you can correct me, because you’re the expert. Yeah, the website just gets you in the door a lot easier.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, I agree. So when you cold emailed me, of course I went to your website and was like, “Is this guy serious?”, and I wanted to see a little bit about what it is that you do, do you have some sort of professional presence? On LinkedIn, there’s a place where you can add your website there.

Jared Gold:
Oh, right. Yeah.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. So one thing that I find is when I connect with people on LinkedIn, almost universally, they go to my website before they ever want to talk to me. So maybe in their mind, they’re thinking, “Oh, this guy’s worth checking out,” and then they go to my website and only then would they initiate any type of contact with me. So I think that’s an important thing.

Liston Witherill:
The other thing I was going to mention is once you have your website together, even if you’re listening to this and you have your website now, there are lots of different sites that list service providers, and so you can go list yourself in these places. They’re sort of like a database, like an online database where it says if you need a website, go to Website By Tonight. Right? But whatever service you provide, there’s likely an industry, organization, an association, or even there’s something called clutch.co for agencies where they can list their services and be rated, and it gives them search engine juice and they can pay for search rank within clutch.co, also. So there’s lots of these types of places where if you can get a little organized, and maybe you have a VA or someone on your team who can do some of the research and some of the lifting, is right out … You already have your website, you wrote what you do and who it’s for, go post that on these sites and get links back to your website to start to generate some traffic, potentially. So I would recommend that, and that’s free.

Jared Gold:
Yeah, no, that’s a really, really great idea. Something I need to improve on as well, but definitely do have experience, where if you get listed in the right places, those are free qualified feeds.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, totally. So I was wondering if you’d be willing to share, you said you’ve hired a marketer, and so you’ve obviously got a kick ass website, because you made it. You’re targeting solo consultants, so what are some of the things you’re doing on the lead generation side in order to drive traffic to the site?

Jared Gold:
So …

Liston Witherill:
Besides being on this podcast, of course.

Jared Gold:
Right, besides going on … I figured a two pronged approach would be good. So obviously, the thought leadership stuff, which, listen, I’m sure you recommend to a lot of your users.

Liston Witherill:
Indeed.

Jared Gold:
And listeners in terms of thought leadership and just letting people know you’re the expert in delivering free value and they’re going to come back to you. So this blog and podcast, guest blogging, guest podcasting, guest webinars, and then the other thing is I’m actually possibly trying to build out a referral affiliate, white label type program, and so that’s actually what I’m working with my marketing person on, is how do we empower digital, independent marketing consultants to offer this service to their clients? So whether they want to add their own value to it and work directly with Website By Tonight, and in a white labeled kind of way, or whether they just want to refer us work, because a lot of people … Like marketing consultants, they have a wide range of knowledge and can create these plans, but they may not be experts at creating websites, or it’s not a good use of their time, or it’s hard to find a website person that they can trust that’s easy to communicate with and reliable that can do good work at a small scale.

Jared Gold:
I think that’s my other big strategy, is empowering those people to let them know about my service in ways we might be able to collaborate, whether it’s just referral or affiliate, or whether it’s some kind of white label arrangement. I was kind of going to almost kind of the same approach you mentioned with the directory in regards to, it’s a one to many. So down the road, I’ll try to experiment with paid Facebook ads and things like that. I tried starting out, and it didn’t really get me the traction I was looking for, and I really believe in paid advertising in the longterm, but it is costly and time intensive early on to kind of figure out that perfect kind of formula to create a successful ad. So I kind of tabled that for this white label and affiliate and fro program with these independent marketers or really, really small agencies or things like that.

Liston Witherill:
Totally, yeah, and one thing that I would tell you I’ve been working on, and listeners know that I’ve been working on paid acquisition, it’s sort of a relatively new thing that I’ve tried now that I feel like I’ve figured out enough. Certainly I haven’t figured out everything, but I figured out enough about the messaging and who I’m going after and what they might be interested in to go throw some money and sort of go to the casino and put $50 down on black.

Jared Gold:
That’s a perfect description.

Liston Witherill:
Right, and so if you can count cards, you have a better chance of winning, but there’s no guarantees still, right? So I’ll stop beating that metaphor to death, but basically I’ve tried it, and one thing that I would recommend to you as you look at paid advertising is everybody’s trying to sell something through advertising, and so the key, I think, is to build trust and add additional steps.

Liston Witherill:
So you’re not going to be … Well, maybe you will. This would be the holy grail. Maybe you can put an ad together that gets people to respond and say, “I want a Website By Tonight,” your name, “and here’s my money,” and it’s like an eCommerce experience and they just check out, but it’s unlikely you’ll get that until you have brand awareness and name awareness, and so you’re going to have to put in additional steps. So maybe a download and then retargeting them, and then a short phone call, something like that, which I know that you have the short phone call to the purchase, but that’s been my experience. The trust curve is very hard to overcome through advertising, and you want to move up as quickly as possible, but people have the most resistance in the beginning, and that’s a challenge.

Jared Gold:
That’s great feedback. I appreciate that. I think my next test will be a paid ad linking to a free webinar. I think that would probably be my next paid test, but I learned that the hard way. Not too, too much money. Maybe three, 400 bucks. Not go and write for the intro call, because there’s obviously that trust step missing.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah. So just to contextualize it for you, my plan is between what I’m paying my friend to help me manage the ads and do some of the creative and do a lot of the heavy lifting and then also help me with the strategy. Between that and the actual advertising, I’m planning on about $10,000, and we’ll see what happens. I have no idea what’s going to happen. So fingers crossed that I can land a few clients and it’ll pay for itself.

Jared Gold:
I believe it. I think that’s a good budget. If you were going to say 50 bucks, a lot of people think, “Oh, 50 or a hundred bucks, I don’t think that’s going to get you anywhere.”

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, we can do the math, which I’ll spare you from, dear listener, but if you sit down and do the math, I think you’ll quickly find if you’re charging a decent amount of money, you’re going to need a lot of people to see these offers and interact with you and your brand.

Liston Witherill:
All right. So my next question for you, and this is the last one before we wrap up here, Jared, is what would you say is the biggest challenge in growing Website By Tonight? Right now? I know you’ve hired a marketer, I know you’ve got your offer down. I don’t know if those are your biggest challenges, or is there something else?

Jared Gold:
I don’t know what I don’t know. So I think that’s my biggest challenge. I know that I have a good team of designers right now that I’ve onboarded and trained with my process. They’re good designers, but they’re also almost like jack of all trades in a bunch of ways. So they’re pretty decent copywriters, so they can fill in some gaps of copy or maybe they have some slight photo editing skills or things like that, and they’re good at speaking to clients and they can make quick judgements. So I think I know the kind of person that I’m looking for if I need to add more designers when that time comes, and I think in terms of processes, I don’t think there’s any shame in hiring a process person to create a good project management system and a CRM and hire a VA to manage possibly sales increase and things like that. So I think I have a decent idea of how those pieces fit in.

Jared Gold:
So as I perceive it right now, I think the big challenge is top of the funnel lead generation. For anyone listening who doesn’t know what that is, AKA people that aren’t big marketing nerds, that’s just overall initial awareness. Top of the funnel is just people understanding what you do, getting to your website. I think I have a great targeted niche with a lot of possibility, but now I just need to get in front of those people and let them know that I exist and that creating websites via screen share in a matter of hours is a thing. People aren’t Googling websites via screen-share. If they were, I would get a lot more leads.

Liston Witherill:
Well, and that’s why you named your business Website By Tonight, which is a much better name, by the way.

Jared Gold:
Thank you. Thank you. People love that name. It just kind of came to me, and I stuck with it and I’m happy with it.

Liston Witherill:
Well, it’s the outcome, right? That’s why it’s so powerful, I think.

Jared Gold:
Yeah. Yeah. Some people want super quick turnaround, some people don’t really care, but I think it sums up, “Listen, this is a quick and easy experience when it’s all teed up.” So yeah, I think top of the funnel lead gen would be the primary thing right now, and then I’m sure I’ll have other problems as I try to scale this thing. A lot of it’s new to me, but I think once people really find out about this as a service, I think it’s going to really continue to get some more momentum.

Liston Witherill:
Fantastic. Well, I thank you for your time. You’ve been very, very generous, and here’s the final final question. I asked you the final question, but not the final final. Is there one tool, resource, person, book, anything that you would recommend if someone was interested in what they heard today? Is there anything that you would recommend they also check out?

Jared Gold:
Two of my favorite books on the topic of business in general, I love Built To Sell and The E-Myth. Are you a fan?

Liston Witherill:
I am a fan. Yeah.

Jared Gold:
Those are really good. I used to be a big Tim Ferriss fan, so Four Hour Work Week was really good.

Liston Witherill:
A former Tim Ferriss fan?

Jared Gold:
I mean I really liked the guy. I still like him. I used to be really obsessed with Tim Ferriss. Now I just like his stuff.

Liston Witherill:
I find two to three hour podcasts to be too big of a commitment for me, personally.

Jared Gold:
Oh yeah, no. Right. It’s a challenge. Okay. I’m going to tell you three tools that are game changers for me.

Liston Witherill:
Hit me.

Jared Gold:
So the first one is obviously, for business email, I love G-Suite, right? So Google Apps. That’s just like Google Apps, but branded at your domain. The second one, which lists, and I know you use is, Calendly. So Calend L-Y.com. So it’s a booking widget so you can quickly get people on the phone. The free plan gives you one type of appointment for free. It’s amazing. I would happily pay for that service, and then the last one is a Streak. Have you heard of streak.com?

Liston Witherill:
I have. It’s a CRM that lives within Gmail.

Jared Gold:
That is exact. In fact, I think that’s the headline on the website. So that’s exactly it. So just a lightweight CRM just to keep track of your leads and move them through the pipeline so that no deals fall through the cracks is really, really essential. So as these leads come into your email through your website, you can track them in your CRM and make sure that you’re staying on top of them and ideally moving them either to close sooner rather than later, whether it’s a closed won or a closed lost and getting them out of your pipeline and out of your mind and focusing on other deals. So those are the three tools I absolutely recommend.

Liston Witherill:
Excellent. Well, thank you for sharing, and I have recommended at least Calendly. Definitely G-Suite is something I overlooked, but is, of anything that I have in my business, I’m sure the most important thing that I pay for on a monthly basis, and it’s so cheap.

Jared Gold:
Yeah, I’ll never cancel.

Liston Witherill:
I know, exactly. I’ll just add people as I grow this thing. So, cool. Well, thank you so much, Jared. If people want to follow up with you, how should they do that?

Jared Gold:
Just go to a Website By Tonight, all phonetic, nothing fancy. Websitebytonight.com. Check out what I do, and happy to offer anyone who reaches out to me and decides to move forward with what I do. So I have a $749 package, and a $9.98 with a little bit of extra design modification. Anyone who decides to move forward and mentions your podcast will get $50 off. So yeah, you can try it on your own if you like on Squarespace, that’s the platform I really recommend, and if you’re having trouble doing it on your own, which … It took me a little while to learn, so most people struggle with it. So if you’re having trouble making your own website on spur space, feel free to reach out.

Liston Witherill:
Excellent. Well, Jared, you’ve been more than nice and humoring all of my questions, putting you on the spot. I appreciate you being here. Thank you so much.

Jared Gold:
Thanks so much for having me. It was a lot of fun.

Liston Witherill:
Excellent, and to you, dear listener, if you know anybody who would get something out of listening to this episode, the last episode, or even The Liston.io Show in general, please do. Tell them. So simple, and I hope you have a fantastic day. Bye.

Stay In the Loop

Get a daily sales insight sent straight to your inbox – sign up for our newsletter.

Like what you heard? Help us get the word out! Just leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. It’ll take you less than a minute and it’ll help us spread the word about Modern Sales.

Subscribe

Get Serve More Weekly, an email newsletter with one article, podcast episode, and stories from around the web. Every Monday.

Up next…

Check out the four sales fundamentals every top performer masters, how to use value-based selling to increase your leverage, and how to improve your remote selling skills as the world becomes more virtual.

And check out the SDS method if you want to improve your sales process.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn