How to Make a Success of Your Business Online. The 4 “Ity’s”

How to Make a Success of Your Business Online. The 4 “Ity’s”

How to Make a Success of Your Business Online. The 4 “Ity’s”

success of your business onlineBusiness success online today is all about connection and conversation; community and collaboration. While traditional online marketing methods and social media complement each other, it is no longer good enough to be found on Google alone. You have to have a solid and positive presence on social media networks and ultimately where your targeted client spends their time online.

Not only so you can take part, contribute and be an active participant in relevant dialogue to attract and engage with potential customers, but also so you can harness the power of the people and have others generate a buzz about your business on your behalf.

In order to get others speaking highly about your business you need to invest in the four following factors that will influence your online success.

Visibility

Getting your business in front of as many targeted users as possible is paramount to success no matter the size, format or niche of your business. Many business owners believe, or are mistakenly told, that by getting online and developing a website they will be inundated with phone calls, bookings and sales. The truth of the matter is that it won’t. Your website will simply add to the hundreds of millions that are there competing for the same traffic.

In the past a business owner had to attend networking events or seminars in order to raise their profile and get in front of targeted business partners. Now social media means that you can connect with like minded people online and if your profile is right then people will be attracted to you and connect with you.

Select a social media platform based on the business partner you want to attract. 50 year old business owners might use LinkedIn, 17 your old males might prefer YouTube, twenty something girls could be on Facebook. Then select a group where your niche will like to spend their time, join, watch and learn how people are connecting and how those who are getting the most interaction are engaging and use some of their strategies to help increase your visibility in the group.

Credibility

We all want our message to be heard by as many people as possible. That right has to be earned through building credibility in your subject or niche.

Getting people to like you or follow shows that you have demonstrated a reason for them to connect with you. From that point on your focus should be on motivating them beyond the like to connecting with you, speaking with you, sharing conversations with you and with the people that follow them.

Credibility online is a two way street. It should be viewed in terms of conversation. The better the quality of the conversation you have, the more trusted, well liked and respected you will be and as a result the more people will introduce you and refer business to you; and the more business you will generate.

Make your conversations meaningful. Interact and converse, don’t just broadcast.

Credibility is not all about what you say. It is about how you listen to other people and the value of the responses and information that you share.

Positivity

When looking to build long term business relationships it is all about quality and not about quantity. Having ten thousand Facebook fans or followers is great as it means that you have great visibility but it is counterproductive when looking to build true and meaningful relationships.

Interact and engage with people that have a high profile and large influence on their following. Be positive and add valuable input to their conversations and you will find that people stop and take note of who you are and interact with you.

Likewise you need to make sure that your brand is reflected in a positive manner online. Take the time to research what is being said about your reputation and if there are any negative sentiments make an effort to contact that person and set the record straight or help them overcome the problem they had with your brand or business.

For people who are looking for someone with your skills for the first time, being presented with negative information from other people is not a great way to start a relationship. Make sure that when people search for your online reputation, what people find is positive and a true reflection of you and your business.

Profitability

  • How can someone in your network help someone else?
  • What do others need?
  • How can you help?

Profitability might mean what is in it for you but rather than going in with the “what’s in it for me” attitude, think about how you can be a conduit for others. Your relationships and the connections you have developed are one of the most valuable assets that you have and will ever have. By introducing and interweaving your connections with others you are building a stronger web of connections that you can turn to when you need something like an introduction or referral.

Keeping everything you know and everyone you know locked away in the annals of your mind is not going to get you anywhere. Share what and who you know and build more and more connections. Those connections will manifest themselves into relationships and profit.

People do business with people they know, like and trust. Ultimately the success of your business will come down to how good you are at building relationships. The more value you can add to other people, the more relationships you will develop giving yourself the greater chance of closing more sales.

The Benefits of Social Media and Why it Matters.

The Benefits of Social Media and Why it Matters.

The Benefits of Social Media and Why it Matters

benefits of social mediaAs a business owner you can be inundated with activities that eat into your time and there are certainly many tasks that take priority over social media: winning new business, satisfying customer needs, fulfilling orders, working with suppliers and doing the books to name but a few. With all of these activities demanding your attention, why does social media for business really matter today?

You Can Build Relationships

By leveraging social media for your business you provide a platform, a community, where your customers can come together and engage with you as well as with each other to share the news about your blossoming social media presence. You can quickly build a community around your brand that is both engaging and cost effective.

You Can Get Valuable Customer Insights

Social media channels have analytics tools available. You will be able to track the number of interactions with fans and see exactly what your audience looks like in terms of key demographics, gender, age, location and more.

It helps Your Search Engine Optimisation.

Once your content is shared via Social Media, those links are there to stay. Even better, if people do visit your site and share that information with their friends, you’ll then have more links coming back into your site. Search Engines love links, and the more valuable links they see coming back to your site, then the higher up the Search Rankings you go. If a piece of content has been shared amongst the social media community, Retweeted and liked, you’re likely to notice more search engine referrals for it as well.

Social Media Provides Great Brand Exposure.

By keeping up with your social media campaign you are giving your brand great exposure. If you find that you get a positive response on social media sites, but can’t translate this into referrals, then there’s nothing wrong with asking why. Reaching out and connecting with people is one of the core foundations of social media. The more you ask the more you can learn and can put into practice the next time around.

It Can Enhance Your Reputation

Make a point to monitor the social networks for use of your name or brand, that way if anyone is talking about you, good or bad, you can join the conversation and add your take on things, thereby protecting and enhancing your brand reputation in the process.

The Internet is Social.

Social Media is not a fad and won’t be going away any time soon. In the last year we have seen new social media platforms like Google+, Instagram and Pinterest accumulate millions of new users over night.  Google decided to use Google+ as the hub of their local business centre offering, making it clear that social media will be even more important for businesses moving forward.

Over the last few years, social media has mushroomed, and in years to come although the popular sites and formats may change, being able to comment on articles, share opinions and reply to whoever you choose to are elements that we have all become used to. If one thing’s for certain, it is that the general public and Internet users will not be silenced!

Using small business social media as part of a well structured campaign is definitely worth it! There are lots of huge positives, so if it isn’t working for you today just tweak your methods slightly and try something new.

With any social media campaign, the more you give, the more you receive. As you build up your credibility and your online presence, your community will increase and you will see a rise in the levels of engagement you receive resulting in more targeted referrals back to your website, more leads, and more sales.

There are no guarantees with social media. What works wonders for one company may not even generate a whisper online for your business. Ultimately you just need to remember one thing:

Nobody cares for your business, they care about you!

If you can, translate that into conversations and relationships. It’s then that you will see the results.

20 Blog Ideas for Professional Services Firms That Drive Engagement

20 Blog Ideas for Professional Services Firms That Drive Engagement

blog ideasIf you have a website then regular blogs with clever Keywords optimised for Search Engines are exactly what you need in order to raise your business profile and attract interested new readers to come knocking at your door for more advice.

Starting a blog can be fun, enlightening for you as a business owner and may even prove to you that your subject knowledge is even better than you think it is. But what happens after the first few weeks when you’ve exhausted the initial stash of blog ideas? Quite often Blogging can begin to seem more of a chore – time consuming and not doing anything to directly influence your cash flow.

Thinking of new blog ideas can very often take longer than writing the blog itself, particularly if you’re not a natural writer, or if you struggle with thinking creatively.

Help is at hand! Here are 20 Blog Ideas that with any professional services firm should be able to reproduce for their specific niche

20 Attention Grabbing Blog Ideas

How to

This one should be easy, whatever your profession, e.g. How to floss your teeth, how to seal a bath, how to file your expenses…. It can be recycled as many times as you can imagine!

1. Top 10

Think of a relevant category and off you go! It could be 10 reasons to visit the optician, a top 10 product review, 10 facts on teeth whitening, 10 customer testimonials, 10 herbal remedies, 10 proven local business marketing tips

A day in the life of…

This could be a typical behind the scenes day, or a day when you’re at a special event. You could get each member of your staff to write about their day, or ask a customer to write about their experience with your firm.

Questions you should always ask

This is a great one for building relationships with new clients as it shows you’re thinking the way they would be thinking. Whatever your business, think about the all important questions that differentiate good firms like your own from the not so reputable ones.

Why you should always use a XXX

Any well qualified professional should be able to explain why their services are important, but it may be less obvious to your average member of the public. For example, why do you need a registered gas fitter to remover a boiler? Why should you use proper tools?

What’s in the news

How do current events relate to your industry? As an accountant you could write about tax changes, Dentists could write about dental care for under privileged families, beauty salons might want to blog about celebrity make up. The great thing about news is there is more new news every day!

Frequently asked questions

What questions are you always answering? Why not write a blog for each one? This allows you to cover each question in much more detail than a typical FAQ page allows. E.g. What will search engine optimisation do for your business?

Opinion piece

If something has you ranting and raving, then blog about it! Even if it isn’t 100% to do with your business you can probably find a way to link it back to something relevant. Opinions should be easy to write, because it is your own opinion and you don’t necessarily need too much research unless of course you want to back it up with fact.

What XXX Accreditation means

People know to check that the people they’re hiring or working with are qualified, but what does the qualification actually mean?  Take the time to break it down for your customers in layman’s terms so that they know the difference between different levels of qualification and what it might mean to them as a customer in terms of what you can provide for them.

New Trends to be aware of

You won’t stay successful in business for long if you don’t know what’s around the corner! Likewise, customers are always interested to know what else you might be working on, what else might benefit them and changes that may affect them in the future. By providing your readers with this information you’re proving that you know your industry, and you’re giving them less reason to seek out the information elsewhere.

Seasonal

Every business has seasonal fluctuation, whether it’s a sales peak before Christmas or a quiet spell during the summer. Talk about how the different times of year affect your business, or different jobs that you have to do throughout the year. Perhaps you could have a monthly update or offer that you blog about?

Worst mistakes made in your field

This could be another way to make you look better than the competition! Highlight things that are often done wrong and prove how you can do it right.

Common misconceptions

Are there any old wives tales about your trade that you could dispel? There are plenty of urban myths about many professions that people like to believe, use your blog ideas to set them straight.

Top Tips

The possibilities for this type of blog are huge, and it does fit in any niche. Top tips on organising your tax return & expenses, getting your vehicle ready for winter, why an online presence is so important – 9 top tips to maximise yours, the best morning workout tips. Use your expert knowledge to think outside the box!

Review of Tools / Accessories

If there is a certain software that you use for your job, then write review! Likewise for books you’ve referred to, or tools. You might have found a great gadget that really makes your day easier, so why not tell everyone else and make their day easier too?

Now and Then

What techniques have changed in your industry over the last few years? By writing about how things have moved on you are again demonstrating your expertise in the field and that you have kept up with trends. This is important as customers like to know you are well informed

Guest post

Have someone from outside your business write a blog for you. This could be from a complimentary business, or someone who has a specific area of expertise, or even just a one off subject that you feel might be relevant to your readers. The guest post might also encourage new readers to your site if your guest blogger is already an established writer on their own site.

What’s on?

Talk about upcoming events that you’re involved in. You can build interest with your readers to get them involved. Maybe you could introduce special offers or new product launches.

Combine old posts

You’ll find after you’ve been blogging for some time that certain themes work better with your audience, or that some topics deserve to be covered more than once. There’s nothing wrong with chopping and changing some of your older blog ideas to refresh them for new readers, just make sure that you are adding sufficient new content as well.

Specific area of expertise

Break down every area of your work into different blog ideas. You’ll probably find at least 10 things to write about! Yes, some may be more detailed than others but it will all be relevant and interesting to different people. If a job is worth doing, it’s worth writing about!

So what are you waiting for? Get blogging!

How to Give Your Local Online Marketing the Best Chance of Success

How to Give Your Local Online Marketing the Best Chance of Success

Local Online Marketing Success

local online marketingFor businesses that rely on local customers, marketing used to mean putting an advert in a shop window or local newspaper, or maybe handing out flyers. Now, local online marketing has really come into its own and provides businesses with a whole host of different tactics to get in front of new customers.

But, to really get the most out of local online marketing, business need to make sure they’re doing it right and not just wasting time and effort. Here are our;

Top tips on How to Really Succeed in Local Online Marketing.

Have a plan and stick to it.

This should be obvious, but unfortunately it’s a crucial step that many businesses forget. If your marketing isn’t planned out it becomes almost impossible to track and measure any improvements, or lack of improvements that you make.

If you have no previous experience of putting a marketing plan together then take some time to do a bit of research, dull as it may seem it is a far better use of your time than going in blind! A basic local online marketing plan could start off by listing your business goals, then breaking down how you intend to achieve them.

For example, do you want to increase revenue by 10% across the quarter? How do you intend to get there? Will you employ an additional sales person, or will you sell higher value products? How will you get that message across to potential customers?

Invest in a Mobile Friendly website.

With Statistics like these it’s pretty obvious that you need your website to be mobile ready! People who are searching from their mobile are likely to be out and about, looking for what they need at that moment. If your website can’t be opened from their phone because it uses flash, or because there is too much to load then you could be missing out on valuable business leads every day.

Make sure your campaigns are Geo-Targeted.

If you want to attract customers within a specific local area, then it’s no good aiming your adverts far and wide where people from anywhere in the world can see them but can’t take action! Sites such as Facebook and Google Adwords allow you to target ads using a geo-location feature, meaning your adverts will only be seen by people in the locations that you specify.

Likewise, make sure that your location is obvious to anyone who might be searching your kind of service within your area. Include your location details on your site so Search engines recognise it, and link to other local pages wherever possible.

Engage with customers online.

When you’ve spent a lot of time building up your local online marketing you also need to be seen as a real human presence, not just a marketing machine. This means you need to take some time to engage with your customers, respond to comments they leave on your website, have conversations via Twitter, and thank people for their feedback. Social Proof is now all important, and online comments and actions that remain searchable and in the public domain are often viewed as being just as important as recommendations from Friends and Family.

Don’t undermine your own marketing efforts by forgetting to be a real person!

Be top of the Search Engines

Basic SEO strategies can help generate sales and customers so it’s vital to get it right. If the search engines recognise your site as being filled with valuable information on a subject then it also helps your credibility with customers. Being at or near the top of search engine rankings will ensure you get the best of the search engine traffic coming to your site for free.

It’s not just SEO that gets you to the top of the Search Engines. Tools such as Google + Local also help, along with Videos, Pictures and customer citations.

Click on the following link to learn more about the benefits of SEO.

Local Online Marketing is not complicated, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy job. There are several elements to understand, but once you have the foundations in place you should start to see that all important increase in local customers.