Free Website Workshop. Yes, Lunch Is Included On This Flight.
A couple years ago I gave my first of many workshop presentations to a room full of web info-seekers. These folks were there to either learn how to improve traffic to their existing sites or what pitfalls to avoid when building a new website. The room consisted of business owners, in-house I.T. guys, and in-house web designers. The goal of the website workshops was to not only offer information, but also through this process gather leads and possibly earn the business of those attending. The attendees also got a free lunch after the workshop. I’m sure some were there just to get out of the office for a while and have a free lunch, but they took the time to come and that was appreciated.
You Sure Are Talkative
I can always tell how the workshop went after the workshop. I can tell during too, but after the workshop is the tell all. After that first workshop, I had many of the attendees come up to me and want to discuss their website, what direction they should go in, how to increase their organic search engine results, etc. They wanted to talk and I was happy to oblige. If the people still want to talk to you after you’ve been talking to them for 30-45 minutes, you did good. One of my colleagues had some concerns however. He said he thought the workshop was a success too, but maybe we gave away too much. I’m not talking about the free lunch, I’m talking too much information.
If we give them less they’ll have to buy more.
Really when you think about it some of these folks were gathering information to take back to their people and fix their websites without any intention of hiring us. Did we shoot ourselves in the foot? I really thought about it. I did give out a lot of great information for free. So for the next month’s workshop I scaled it back. Not so much pinpoint information. I was a little more vague, still leaving the attendees with some questions and not such clear instructions on how to improve their websites. A crazy thing happened, I didn’t get as many questions and conversations after the workshop. When you’d think I’d get even more questions after this less informative workshop it had the opposite effect. What happened?
Too Much Of A Good Thing…Is A good Thing.
We made a mistake. The one thing I always preach about when discussing the road to an effective website, think less about yourself and think more about your visitor. All of these people took the time out of their busy schedules to come be with us for a couple of hours. They could have gone fishing or played golf but they were with us because they thought we had something valuable for them. On this latest workshop we let them down. The more specific information is what they expected and what they wanted. It got their ideas flowing and they were excited about their online marketing and the potential of their new or improved website. They wanted to talk about it. When we scaled the info back, we scaled their ideas back. They weren’t as excited.
Mini-Bikes, Information & Execution.
What I realized beside the fact that people want as much information as you can give them is that you don’t need to worry about giving it away. Give them all you have and don’t worry about it because there is a big difference between information and execution. Let me explain. When I was a kid around 10 years old, like most kids around 10 I wanted a mini-bike. I wanted that 2 wheeled death machine that could zip me around the neighborhood and expand my world from the areas I could reach just through pedal power. I could feel the wind in my face and through my hair because I obviously wouldn’t be wearing a lame-o helmet. I was all set to go except for 2 things, my parents. My parents were adventuresome people. They rode snowmobiles and had their share of fun, but they were dead against any of their kids having a “donor-cycle”. Big problem for me and my Devils Angels plans. I knew there was a work around and one day I found it. I found an ad in the back of a comic book or some like magazine for plans on building your own mini-bike…JACKPOT! If they won’t buy me one, I’ll build my own. I sent my $2 in for the plans and waited the 4-6 weeks for delivery. They finally came and I ran from the mailbox to my bedroom to view the road map to freedom. All I needed was a lawnmower engine, some angle iron, a chain, some sprockets, bearings, handlebars, an acetylene torch, a welder, and the list went on and on. My dreams sunk. It was just as advertised. All of the information you could possibly need to build a working mini-bike. The problem was I didn’t have the tools to execute the plans. I didn’t have the materials or the know how to pull it off at 10. Just like the attendees at the workshops, I gave them all the detailed information that got them excited and communicating, but they couldn’t execute and they realized it. We ended up getting business from the folks we gave it all away to. They knew that we knew what we were doing, and they had a better understanding of what needed to be done. By giving it all away, we earned their trust and they felt more a part of the process.
Give Away More and Get More
What I learned is that don’t be afraid to give away what you know. Give clients and prospective clients what they want and expect. This is after all just web design and marketing, we’re not giving away the recipe to Coke. Don’t concentrate so much on the outcome you want and think a bit more about the process and what the people who take time to listen to you want.