For an entrepreneur or small business owner, finding ways to build credibility and visibility that are low-cost is critical. We just don't have the deep pockets to buy these. Instead, we need to know how to “work it” and gain visibility for ourselves, using what we already have in place. This brings me to a big change I think is needed for most people who market using the Internet. The rule of thumb is to pay someone else to set up and run your website and keep up your social media efforts, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I see too many entrepreneurs delegating not only the techie parts but their marketing strategy, too. When that happens, you are wasting time and money. It's not smart to abdicate your Internet marketing strategies, and it usually happens because a business owner doesn't understand what to do. Here's the deal – you will be more profitable if you become more savvy and even expert at using the Internet to gain visibility and credibility for your business. The technical aspects are fine to delegate to a team member, for you could easily spend all day fixing up your website and running your social media campaigns. But YOU are on the hook for the strategy behind what your website and your social media is doing.
Most small biz owners don't have a good sense of the power and reach of the Internet. I frequently see clients who have put up a website 6 months or a year ago and haven't touched it since. Many times, the website is not interactive at all. If you are not asking your web visitors to leave their name and e-mail address at the least, you are wasting your time and money on web design and hosting. That's a basic tenet and is old news for most entrepreneurs. Here's the new part, what you must get truly expert about:
- How to make your site interactive
- What to do to keep it very current, driving people back to your site with a combination of new web content and autoresponder strategies.
- Understanding the relationship between your website and social media, and how to let one support and enhance the other.
- Committing to a bigger and bigger portion of your fresh content being in video
- Reaching even more people by establishing an active YouTube channel and using it to link back to your website and social media accounts.
Savvy entrepreneurs design a follow-up “reach out” strategy for each and every one of these:
- A free resource you offer that a website visitor signs up for
- A product purchased online
- A teleseminar or other event offered to your list of prospects
- A service that is purchased.
Your reach out strategy should include:
- Follow-up autoresponders (3 to 5 per offer) that refer back to the specific interaction, ask for comments or questions, and highlight a portion of the item. In other words, strive to create a conversation.
- Subscribing the visitor to your regularly-published e-zine, which, in turn, directs them back to something specific on your website.
- Mixing your autoresponder and e-zine follow-ups with social media contact. Invite visitors to link to you on social media sites (your business Facebook fan page, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube at the least). Your social media content can highlight some of your offers (whether free or for cost), and direct people to the purchase links on your website. You can also use your social media content to further explain what you're offering, or give a portion of the content. YouTube is great for creating follow-through and interest.
Don't delegate this critical part of your business strategy to a techie person. How you create visibility and credibility is YOUR responsibility. It's too critical to hand off to someone who is a great technical person but not a marketing strategist. Follow these suggestions and see what you get in 3 to 6 months. I bet you'll be pleased!
Need help with this and other changes that are coming your way? I'm just beginning a short-term mastermind group specifically set up to give you the how-to's for this strategy and more. You can check it out here.