SO THERE I WAS...
...trying to earn a few extra bucks during college working at a local health club. One day, this guy rolls up in a grungy minivan with one tire looking flatter than the others and some business name printed on the side. An empty Big Gulp falls to the ground as he opens the van door. He comes inside:
Good morning! XTreme Gymnasium. I am Matt. How can I help you?
Yes. I'd like to cancel my membership.
I'm sorry to hear that. Would you mind sharing with me why?
Well, it just hasn't been working. I mean... Since I joined, I've actually gained weight and I certainly haven't been getting any additional action with the ladies. I might as well cancel my cell phone and spend the money on more movie channels.
You know, our exclusive XSellerating treadmill usually gets people right on track in a hurry.
I don't really like trying new things like that.
I understand. So, you went to our regular aerobics and spin classes? We have them all the time
I kept meaning to, but something else always came up, or there was something good on TV.
Gotcha. So you stuck to the free weights and stair climbers? Those are effective as well.
Wait. Did you even step foot in our facility after you joined?
No. I didn't know I'd HAVE to do that! I thought just joining would get me in shape and make the ladies call me while I lounged on the couch. I guess I was wrong.
Well, it's never too late to get started. We've got people here that can help you.
It's obvious what metaphor the script above represents and we unfortunately see it too often with customers expecting their XSite to do everything without them actually putting work into it.
We recently sent out a survey to our XSite customers to find out what aspects of the XSite are the most important, and the results were consistent with many people feeling their XSite is under used:
61% of you said that attracting new clients was a very important with less than 18% saying the opposite. These numbers were about the same when it came to what you want to learn about.
39.5% rated XSellerate as an important feature while 44% said the opposite. However, 63% of you wanted to learn more about XSellerate.
39% of respondents said that lead generation forms weren't very important versus 38% that said they were.
When it came to servicing existing clients with online business management tools, the results averaged a 3 on the scale of 1 to 5.
Online ordering and a customizable order form were generally important, too, although many people commented that it's tough to get clients to actually use any ordering system other than their own. (We knew this already, but that's why Aurora integrates with the XSite so you don't have to enter order data twice - and your clients can still get the automated status messages and secure PDF download.)
So, there was somewhat conflicting information in the survey, but that's to be expected because not everybody is going to use their site in the exact same way. It also points out an education issue for us: Many people still see their website as merely an online billboard for search engines and don't know about the features (i.e. XSellerate) that make it a proactive marketing machine.
A Success Story: Ron Stalzer
If we need to convince you that proactive marketing is a good idea, let's take a look at Ron Stalzer, our XSite Makeover study from last summer. Before the makeover, Ron had little expectations from his website because it really wasn't doing much for him. The makeover consisted of actually taking items OUT of his website, cleaning up the text on his home page, putting in a new theme and explicit instructions from me to post regularly on his blog - which he has done. Ron also took it upon himself to work through the XSites Desktop Energizer until he had the top score as well, and I noticed he makes periodic changes to his site to keep it fresh now. (pq)
So, what has the result been? According to Ron, "Even with the market against us, 2008 was my second best year on record. Almost all of my new business comes from people finding me on the web and calling me because my XSite made me look credible and someone they wanted to do business with."
Ron continued, "You know... I had never thought much of mobile connectivity either, but I decided to get a phone with an Internet connection and enable the mobile features of my XSite. Sure enough, I was at a ball game one night and had a request for a rush order on a slightly out of the ordinary house. I ended up missing the end of the game and losing a little sleep getting the file set up for the next day's inspection, but at the end of the day, I had a handsome fee in my pocket. With all the extra business my XSite has been bringing in, I should be able to retire a few years earlier than I'd planned."
We have numerous other success stories, too. The common theme being people got proactive with their marketing in general by working on their website, sending out flyers, communicating with prospects and clients and then backing it up with great service.
The Numbers Don't Lie
The stats we keep on our sites support the same premise: Sites that had sent out an XSellerate campaign in the past 30 days received three times the hits than those that hadn't and received 40% more leads (See p14). Sites with a blog update in the past 30 days had over double the traffic of those without a blog or recent post. XSites with an Energizer score of 500 or more (out of 850) have six times the amount traffic of sites scoring 300 or less. If leads and traffic are what you're after, it goes to show that using the related features in the XSites will get you more of them.
In many ways, an XSite is indeed like a gym membership. You have to show up regularly and actually use the equipment, and it can be grueling at first. (Think of our free XSites Energizer at www.XSitesDesktop.com as your personal trainer.) But over time, it gets easier in that the marketing builds on itself and all it takes is maintenance to keep the momentum.
If you're interested in learning how to get all the other XSite marketing features up and running, visit www.alamode.com/AppraiserTraining and sign up for a live webinar or watch a pre-recorded session or one of our short training videos We have lots of resources available to help and look forward to your company being our next XSite success story.