Raise your hand if any of these have applied to you before, or still apply to you now:
• You've been passed over by a potential client for the newer, shinier business model next door;
• You're constantly looking for new ways to reinvent the wheel because it seems nobody wants yours;
• You don't understand why you're not getting leads, new clients, and clicks each day, or even each week;
• You're frustrated and want to give up on your business because it's not getting you anywhere.
Haven't we all been there at some point? Here are five different reasons why nobody is taking you or your business seriously.
» You aren't consistent
Let's go to a hypothetical music store together. As we walk in, the first thing we see is a huge stand of sheet music, then the string instruments to the right, and the percussion to the left. We enjoy our time, purchase a few things, and go home. A week later, we find ourselves needing something else, so we return to the same store. This time, as we walk in, we notice that the sheet music is no longer where it was before and we can't seem to find the guitar picks ANYWHERE. Instead of being able to go to the same place we were last time, we now have to visit the front desk to inquire about the guitar picks. We have a little bit of frustration with the shop, but decide to return again later when we find ourselves in need of an electric tuner. The third time we walk through the doors, we're greeted with a brand new stand of guitars, some random doo-dads, and the aisles have been turned from being left to right to being front to back. We're confused, disoriented, and don't understand why the employees feel the need to constantly switch things up. Again, we have to ask for the tuners, even though we'd seen them the first and second week and thought we knew where they'd be.
Can you imagine how irritated and frustrated we'd be to have to ask each time we entered the store where the things were? You couldn't get used to ANY one rate of quality, familiarity, or affection for this store. We leave, never to return. Three strikes and you're out, you dumb hypothetical music store.
Now let's change our imagination goggles and apply this same principle to your blog or business site. (This can also go for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Insta, so listen up you social media gurus!) As a visitor, when I happen upon your space and I see a bunch of rectangular design, gold accents, and a bit of a floral backdrop, I'm going to associate that combination with your brand - your entity online. If I return again in a few days because I'm excited for some promotional item that you promised or I just really liked your content and want more of it and I see a bunch of diamond print, pink and blue accents, and some random shapes here and there, I'm going to be a little confused. Wait a second - am I at the right site? Oh, yeah, that's the URL; this must be it. That slight amount of confusion might be fine... once. If I return again in a few weeks and see a completely different design, odds are I won't return. You clearly don't know what you want or what you like, and I can't trust you completely if you aren't settled on anything yourself.
This can also apply to content. Don't write blog posts and articles about cats one week and promote your website as a cat-based company, and then go talking about how much you love Kim Kardashian and posting funny GIFs that you found on Google. Try to stick to the SAME quality, topic, and format of content that you started out with and I promise you will begin building trust with your readers within 30 days.
» You have your hand in too many pots
Let's use another example! I'm all about examples, guys - I feel like it really clears things up and sets everything into a very understandable scenario. Get comfy, because this post might be long. Imagine that we've fallen IN LOVE with a flower shop down the street. It's quaint, dainty, and sells exactly the kinds of peonies we love: healthy, happy, and bright. In addition to that, the lady who works there is a positively DELIGHT and we can't ever talk enough about gardening. She truly loves what she does and you can see it in her eyes.
Some time passes, and you notice that small things have begun to be added to the shop. A record player with some records for sale - but just in one very unoffensive corner. You don't think much of it. Then comes the porcelain dolls - set up on a shelf right behind the desk. You think it a little strange but continue to come because: AMAZING PEONIES. Eventually, the walls are filled with random crap and you start feeling like you're visiting a convenience store each time you want to pick up some quality flowers. Unfortunately, even as positive and pleasant and wonderful as the shop owner is, you have to reluctantly admit that she's sold out to anything and everything that will make her a buck.
Applying this to your business, your products should be QUALITY over QUANTITY, and you should never sell out and promote products that vary from your niche or promises. The second you start selling out because you think it might earn you a little, your clients will sniff that out and never come back.
Pro tip: If you decide that your niche has changed or that you no longer wish to promote the type of content that those on your email list signed up for, please drop them a line and let them know. There's nothing worst than signing up for something to come directly to your email (that's a very private place) and receiving something completely different.
» Your free product is less than stellar
Let's be honest. Offering a freebie is super in right now, and most of them suck. (I'm sure yours isn't one of them!) I'm not going to opt into an email list just for a single tip on a completely irrelevant topic that isn't why I wound up on a page in the first place. I'm also not going to opt in for "tips + tricks." That is not enough of an incentive unless I absolutely love you as a person and want to support you, or have been reading your content and think that I really will gain a lot of wisdom and know-how from receiving your emails. The trick is to offer something that SHOULD cost money and watching the clients roll in - because when someone trusts your free product, they're going to trust your paid product.
Getting tired? Keep reading - we're not done touching on why nobody is taking you or your business seriously. I promise this is worth the read!
» You don't take yourself seriously
If I were to buy a product or services from someone, it would be because they are an expert in their field. If you're writing about it, you need to pose yourself as an expert, even if you think you're not. What is an expert, anyway, besides someone who just knows some stuff about one particular topic? I tend to migrate toward people who promote themselves (not spammily) as a professional in their niche and takes themselves and their education seriously.
Ways that you can start taking yourself seriously would include (but not be limited to) promoting your content like it's the LEADING AUTHORITY on the topic, learning to use schedulers so that your content is constantly hitting the fan of the social media masses, and guest posting for others in your niche.
» Your website isn't attractive or user friendly
Stumbling upon websites that are horribly designed when their content is absolutely BOSS material is so disappointing. These bloggers and business owners are not taking their products or services to the heights that they COULD by limiting themselves to crappy design and broken links.
Let's (surprise, surprise!) use a scenario.
You want a good beer on a Friday night and you have two choices: visit the bar with the completely run-down exterior and the smelly bathroom for the BEST BEER around, or use the clean bar with great service and a spick and span bar table for mediocre beer. Which would you visit? Obviously, if you're a die-hard beer fan, you'll probably brave the gross bar and hang out in the cleanest corner just for a sip of the mother's milk. However, if you're just a person who enjoys a beer on a Friday night but never drinks otherwise, you'll opt for the clean, attractive bar and NEVER KNOW that you could be having an EXCELLENT experience in your mouth instead of a so-so experience.
The run-down bar is shooting itself in the figurative foot by not investing in a streamlined, attractive exterior and losing TONS of potential customers to the mediocre sister bar down the road. Looking at it this way makes you go, "Why wouldn't you invest?!" But so many blogs and websites aren't investing and are instead DIYing, which can produce great results if you have an eye for design already, but can also end up looking like a mismatched disaster.
To sum it up: consistently produce the same type of quality content, offer great free content to supplement your paid content (or services), position yourself as an authority, and look great while you do it.