In the current climate, having an online presence is critical to generating leads and sales for your business. It is no longer okay to say that all my work comes from word of mouth or that I rely on face to face meetings or networking groups to generate business. Opportunities for these may be limited, and video conference meetings are never the same as face to face meetings.
However, before you start panicking and worrying about this, there are tips that you can follow to grow your online presence and enhance your opportunities for gaining work during this period.
Having a business website
Do you have a website for your business? If the answer to this is no, then you should make this a key priority, but remember that there is no need to spend a fortune on this. It is more important to have a website that generates leads and sales and is on the right platform for your business.
If you do have a website, have you checked that it still works on mobile devices and tablets? Do you regularly add content to it? Does your website get the traffic that you need? Does your website generate the leads and sales that you need? If your answer is no to any of these questions, then do something about it.
Find out where your target audience communicates online
Is this on Instagram, Linkedln, Facebook, Twitter, forums, websites, or somewhere else? Are there industry-specific forums, groups and pages that you can join? These will vary from business to business and your target market and may change over time. I have found that I have had sales from a variety of social media networks.
Have a clear content marketing strategy…
…where you plan what you will share, when and where, but be prepared to adapt this to respond to the latest trends, trending hashtags, events that are going on, etc.
You will also need to ensure that it is clear to your potential clients the values or benefits that your product or service offers and make it easy for them to get in touch with you.
Quality content is more important than quantity
When it comes to posting content online, don’t just share stuff for the sake of it. You need to ask yourself, “What is the aim of the content I am sharing and why are you sharing it?” – is it to generate leads, is it offering my audience something of value, is it highlighting my business, or creating brand awareness or am I simply just doing it for the sake of it, etc?
Do not fall into the trap of posting content just because you have seen information or data saying you should be sharing x number of posts on x platforms each day, but instead put the quality of the content first.
Present a consistent business message online…
…and ensure that any staff portray the same business message and not a conflicting one. Ask yourself, does this content fit with my business message and align with content I have shared in the past? Could the content harm my business message?
Ensure that any images or videos shared are sized appropriately for the platform they are being shared on
For example, twitter image sizes have different dimensions than Facebook or Instagram images. There are many size guides online to help you with this and remember the dimensions can change over time so make sure you review this on a regular basis.
Build brand awareness…
…by incorporating your logo and brand colours into your social media images and videos, so that if someone does re-share your content, potential clients can see who is behind the content. Consider doing guest blogs, being a guest on a podcast, or videos, etc.
Evaluate the success of your online marketing…
…but do not fall into the trap of thinking because you have got x shares and likes the material has been a success. Instead, ask yourself how many sales or how much money have I generated from the post? Think of it like this, 1 like/share but 100 sales is better than 1000 likes/shares but no sales.
Also, consider what type of content generates you the most leads and sales and do more of this; it is picture based content, videos or text? Is the time of day you post having an impact?
Do not fall into the trap of buying social media followers…
…as it is better to have 10 followers who are your target market who are likely to buy from you rather than 100 followers who are made up of friends and family who are not your target market.
Show the face behind your business
People buy from people. Just beware that you don’t present a false image of your business just to win clients as it will come out and will impact on your business authenticity.
Practice two-way networking…
… where you don’t just promote your own business but also respond to items created by others by resharing commenting or following them on social media.
My business has gained clients from other people sharing my social media posts online. One of my most recent clients heard about my business through a social media post shared by someone else.
Share your expertise and knowledge with others
This could involve creating useful videos, podcasts, offering 1 to 1 support calls, responding to posts in specialist Facebook groups, or posting tutorial blogs on your website.
Overall the most important thing to remember is that it does take time to build your online presence, but it will benefit you in the long term. There are individuals and organisations that can support you with this. So, reach out to them if you need to. Budget and time should not be used as obstacles.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to discuss any of the above further.
This article first appeared on the Freelance Hereos website.