Drive Sales by Beefing Up Your Online Presence
By The VizWiz, Robert Mandelberg
Consumers do most of their shopping and vendor research online. If you do not have a strong presence, you cannot hope to capture their attention and win their business. How big is your digital footprint? Here’s an easy way to find out: Google yourself. Type “your name” into Google and take a look at the results. Ideally, you want to see a long list of entries that supports your unique brand.
If your name yields only a smattering of hits that are mostly unrelated to your business and your expertise, then chances are you are missing out on opportunities. Consumers need to be convinced that you are legitimate, professional, and at the top of your game before making a buying decision. And a strong online presence can accomplish just that.
Fortunately, building an impressive online footprint is relatively easy to do. Here are four simple and cost-effective ways of building your expert status and improving your presence on Google, Yahoo, and Bing:
Article Marketing: Want to achieve instant expert status? Author articles on hot topics in your industry, and post them on large article sites such as ezinearticles.com. These articles will appear on a Google search for your name, and will achieve credibility in the eyes of your prospects. The articles do not have to be lengthy (300 to 500 words is adequate), but they do have to offer considerable value to your target audience. If you are an accountant, and a potential client sees that you authored an article on “The Five Best Ways to Minimize Your Tax Liability,” then you have gone a long way to make this prospect confident in your abilities.
Social Media Profiles: Social media sites are ranked very high on search engines, so chances are that your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are among the first entries when you Google your name. It is amazing that so many business owners have yet to build their presence on these sites. LinkedIn is especially helpful. It gives you a great opportunity to position yourself as an expert and connect with prospects, referral sources, and leaders in your industry (See related article, “Using LinkedIn to Attract New Clients”). Be sure that your profile is complete, and it reflects the value you are offering to consumers. Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter can also be used to build a strong network and strengthen your online presence.
Video Marketing: Uploading a series of videos to YouTube and other video sites is a great way to expand your visibility. The videos do not have to be longer than 30 seconds (although than can be), and can consist of a quick tip, a how-to segment, or a brief interview, with you as the guest. Or, you can simply create a slideshow video with a powerful message and a link to your site (see Slideshow Videos to learn more). Be sure to include your name in the keyword section so that it will be recognized in a Google search.
Audio Marketing: Similar to using video, audio podcasts will also add to your online presence and portray you as an expert. These are audio files that you upload to sites with your name in the keyword descriptions. Again, these recordings can be as little as 30 seconds, as long as they pack a powerful punch. On VizWiz Radio (www.VizWizRadio.com), you can be a featured expert and be interviewed in a radio-style format. Your bio and picture will be featured on the site, and there will be a link leading back to your website. Your interview will also be included on a Google search for your name.
By following the above tips and spending as little as an hour each week, you can have a robust online presence within a couple of months. And your customers will rest easier knowing they are doing business with an expert.