Have you found yourself saying something like this:
“This year will be the year I get more of my business from the online world.”
“This year will be the year I really hone in on my marketing to make my business grow.”
“This year will be the year I figure out social media and actually use it to gain clients instead of telling people what I had for lunch.”
Whether you’re brand new to the world of owning a business, or you’ve owned and operated your own business for decades, here is the no-nonsense, can’t mess it up checklist of things you have to do right now to start attracting clients online.
A website that you control, you own the domain name, you pay the hosting for, and you can control the data. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated with all the bells and whistles. You don’t have to spend thousands with a custom designer. In fact, I recommend a WordPress based platform and wouldn’t use anything but!
A business card. You don’t have to have anything sophisticated or fancy. But when you’re out talking to people about what you do, you have to have a business card that tells them who you are and how to find your website and social media accounts. Okay, and maybe you’re phone number too. Everything else is optional. (I love Moo cards – try their mini cards at a low price for high quality cards. Get them in small numbers so you can change your message from time to time.)
A page on your site for every product or service you offer. Yes I know, you probably have a “services” page listing everything you do out in bullet format. You may even give a brief description or summary attached to every product and service you have. But how can you have a keyword-intense page when you have all kinds of different services and products? Everything deserves its own page with appropriate content written up to fully describe what you have to offer.
An About Us page that knocks peoples socks off. Did you know your About Us page is your second most popular page on your site (the first being your home page)? That’s because people only do business with people they like. They want to know more about you. And if all you have is dry content in a one paragraph statement, you’re turning people away long before they get to know you.
A free report, an e-class, a CD, a book, or something else used as a free give away to entice people to sign up and register their email address and name before they leave your site. Yes, it’s a fact that 99 percent of the people that visit your site for the first time will leave without taking action. They won’t call or email because they aren’t sure yet of their next step. If they can sign up for something – a call to action – with only the “pain” of giving their names and email addresses, you’re more likely to make the connection that ultimately can turn into a sale.
A newsletter, or ezine. After the step above, you now have an email list, right? Now its time to connect with the people that have said yes to learning more about what you do. Electronic newsletters are THE best way of staying in touch with your list over and over again. (Yes, some say they don’t work anymore. But I still have a +30% open rate on mine.)
A social media profile. Notice how this step is way down on the list. This is where many business owners mess up. They jump into a social site long before they have the other pieces in place. Social media sites are GREAT for free exposure. But with free sites, you get what you pay for. What if you rely 100% on Facebook, and Facebook personnel label you as a spammer and delete your account (I’ve seen it happen many times)? Or what if you’re relying on the traffic you’ve been receiving on your Facebook Page and Facebook personnel change the algorithms, decreasing your traffic tenfold overnight (it just happened a couple of weeks ago and the online world is all a buzz about the effects)? Social media sites are nothing more than a tool you use to drive business back to your targeted, controlled location in the online world.
Okay, those are the pieces of the puzzle you’ll need. Now, what do you do with them?
Add content to your website/blog over and over and over again. You’re trying to build up your authority here, giving people answers to the questions they are asking the most. Adding quality content is the only way to do it.
Share the content in every place imaginable. Yes, this is where your social media sites come into play. You have to be active and talk and provide resources and prove who you are to each community you are active on. You don’t hire someone or buy from someone until you’re comfortable with who they are – why do you expect any different from your online community?
Expand your reach. Once you have your system in place, you’re writing and creating content on a regular basis for your website/blog, you’re sharing it with your social media sites, only then is it time to reach out to a new potential site or relationship. Once you’ve mastered Facebook, sign up for Twitter. Or LinkedIn. Or one specific to your industry. Or try connecting with a local portal. Or a community within your industry. Don’t be shy about connecting and letting others know what content you have and what you can offer. The more connections you make, the more successful you’ll be.
Rinse and repeat. Again and again.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Writing it down here is the easy part. Following through and working the system is the hard part. Its also why the majority of business owners will be in the same exact place one year from now, wondering what they’re doing wrong.
Which group will you be a part of?