Lately I have been thinking about marketing my own web design and development agency, I’ve looked at all of the online avenues. While researching these it made me realise something very important. They have almost no barrier to entry for web professionals. This low barrier to entry for particular markets is exactly why you need to go outside.
Barrier to entry, what is it?
The best way I can describe a barrier to entry is by describing a scenario. Imagine there is this beautiful park, where all our friends and family are playing. You naturally want to go and play there with them too. Unfortunately there is something stopping you. A huge fence with no way around. You either have to climb over, or dig under. This fence is your barrier to entry for the park.
Barriers to entry aren’t just for parks though they could be for anything. Take tertiary education for example, a barrier to entry for many students is their grades during high school, or another barrier could be their financial situation. Both of these can be overcome but they make it a little harder for everyone to go to University or college. These are barriers to entry.
Why a barrier to entry matters?
So to illustrate a barrier to entry I have thought of a scenario. Well two scenarios in fact, both very similar in many aspects but with a few slight changes that make all the difference.
You visit a market on the weekend, there are store owners and it’s generally a great atmosphere. The store owners yell out about the great deals they are offering and their amazing products. Some owners selling amazing pottery, other the most beautiful jewelry, and even others selling the finest foods. It’s a great atmosphere, you come here often and make purchases every now and then.
Similar to scenario 1 you are at a market. This time it’s different though, the store owners are all selling exactly the same things. They all say that their thing is different to the others, better even. They describe the differences in words you don’t really understand but know are important. They even try and show you the difference but you still can’t really see it more than just the superficial impact that it has. It’s not a very enjoyable for you or for them.
Where you fit in.
Thinking about these scenarios, and about web professionals. The barrier to entry for a web professional to advertise online is so low that every web professional is doing it. It ends up as a market place with everyone selling essentially the same thing, which just confuses buyers even more. There is a reason that 80% of web professionals find their clients through referrals. It’s because they have distinguished themselves from the crowd by being trusted by a third party.
Now I’m not saying that the only way for web professionals to market is through offline means, because it’s not. Marketing online can be very effective if done right. But the emphasis needs to be on the done right, not on being done half baked with some good ideas thrown into the mix, you’re wasting your time.
So go spend some time outside, and meet some new people. Or even meet with some new potential clients. What are you waiting for?