The game has changed. More people are online than ever before, but how to get their voices heard online remains a mystery to many businesses. Sookie Shuen knows how.
The power of the internet means it’s now possible to build a broader and more profitable online audience by carefully applying some specific approaches and techniques. All it takes is confidence and an internet connection.
Some 78 per cent of internet users conduct product research online (Source: Hubspot). This has changed the game for the marketing companies relying on outbound marketing approaches, such as email newsletter campaigns, TV advertising and telemarketing. Old approaches are becoming less effective day by day. Why? Because:
... More people are online than ever before.
... More people regularly use the internet to shop and investigate products and services before they decide to buy.
... Most of us have adapted quickly to being online so that internet use has become more sophisticated.
... People are more likely to avoid unwanted online ads by using techniques and technology such as popup blockers, email spam filters, and call rejection.
The question you have to ask yourself is how to get your business discovered online. We put together the answers for you.
# 1: Make the Link
Better links equal better business. Links play a big part in achieving a great search engine ranking. You need to use two types of links:
On page: content on your site that links to other ‘relevant’ areas of the site.
Off page: content on other sites that links to your website.
Both type of links are useful in enhancing your online presence. Ideally you should use as many as possible. Placing links is easy, but avoid over-using links that aren’t working very effectively. Use services like Link Diagnosis to monitor your off-page links and SEO Rank Checker to check your website rankings. You'll see how well each link is working for you and learn to adapt your link strategy accordingly.
Each link is like a reference for your website because people relate to a link according to whether it leads to a site they know and trust. This means that the links you use show how valid your site is - so the better the reference, the more trusted it will be.
The key is to make sure that your links are from relevant websites. One very useful thing to keep in mind is Wikipedia and the way it allows you to begin on one topic and click through to move from one related topic to the next, taking you somewhere very different. Keep this approach in mind and apply it to as many relevant websites as possible.
# 2: Spread the Word
Getting your website set up is just the start. As soon as you have high quality, relevant links and shows up high in the search engine rankings, you're ready to start spreading the word.
The best place to start is with your blog.
What is a blog?
Your blog enables you to share any message or information you want - from thoughts and ideas to lists of other useful sites and everything in between. Blogs provide a very fast and very convenient way to diversify your site and enhance search engine optimisation. Each post, with individual tags, links, and URL, will actively boost your online presence.
Most blog services also have their own ‘hub’, meaning that all their blogs are catalogued under one site, with links to and from thousands of blogs on a similar subject. Being linked to the other blogs builds the presence of your own blog and its potential audience.
Before you start blogging there are some key points to keep in mind:
1. The decision you make about what to put in your blog is fundamental to the success of your digital marketing strategy. Focus on the particular area you want to get known for - then blog anything and everything you can on it. As long as it’s relevant to you and your business, every post is a brand new advert and your readership will grow with it.
2. Yes, every blog post is an advert, but don’t approach it like one. Remember your blog is a way to showcase yourself as a source of useful, relevant information.
3. Add a list of useful links occasionally to build good mutual links with those people you list.
4. Post a set of ‘top tips’ once in a while - they're very useful and easy to spread via word of mouth. On average, companies that blog enjoy 55 per cent more web traffic than those that don’t.
# 3: Be Sociable
Don’t just inform - interact. Getting discovered on the internet is all about information and interaction. You’ve created a source of useful, relevant, well indexed information on your blog. But how do you get people responding to it?
The answer is in social media. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter combine content and conversation. They bring your post together with a potential audience of thousands of people.
This interaction starts with you. Respond to comments. Answer questions. Offer ideas and tips. Present yourself as a friendly business, rather than one simply trying to sell. Once someone does need your service, they’ll already be aware of you as a business they can trust. This is how being sociable can help create an audience which then creates leads and customers.
# 4: Keep Tracking and Adapting
Getting recognised online involves many potential different resources and platforms. So, how do you see where new leads are actually coming from and which areas need improving?
Most services offer their own tracking software for monitoring and managing leads while most blog hosts will have figures for visits, clicks, and popular landing pages. All of those are worth looking at.
Google Analytics provides a valuable breakdown of web visitors and onsite behaviour.
Whichever approach you use, use it consistently and be open to changing your approach according to what you find out along the way. Click here for another top ten tips to help you be discovered.
Sookie Shuen is the community manager at Tomorrow People, a leading UK inbound marketing consultancy. You can read more of Sookie's content on inbound marketing by subscribing to the Zoober Inbound Marketing blog here. You can also find her on Google+ and Twitter.