Thanks to those of you who are asking good questions about getting online. Obviously some of you are online and want to know how to optimize your presence there. Smart, you. So, let’s talk about what’s next after you have the basics in place (including your website/blog and social media accounts).
The first step to making an online marketing program work is to develop it within the context of your business goals.
People start to glaze over when I talk about online business strategy. It’s not quick, fun or sexy to plot out a plan, but without one all your efforts will be a big waste of time, money and energy. When you feel your online presence isn’t doing what you want it to do, you need to go to the drawing board and start from a focused place.
Start by answering these questions:
What is my ultimate goal for marketing online? (The answer could be to reach local clients, develop an international following, build an email list, network with colleagues, build a platform to eventually market a book or speaking career, etc.) Get clear on your goals before you go any further.
How can an online presence move the needle forward in terms of reaching this goal?
Where do my target audience hang out online? (Go hang out there.)
What information do they need to help them? (Give them that information.)
What is the best way for me to provide them that information? (blog, audio, video, webinar, podcast, etc. Chose the right media for your target audience.)
What do I want people to DO when they get to my site? (This could be to sign up for a free report, schedule a session, call your office, sign up for you blog feed, etc. Once you know what you want them to do, ask them to do it.)
Once you answer those questions, start putting your information online targeting the people you want to reach and giving them what they want and need.
Work It ’til It Clicks
You can’t just show up online and have awesome results. You need to work at it and be patient. Building trust and an audience takes time. People see websites and blog a gajillion times a day, yours will get lost in the shuffle if you don’t make it valuable and worth their time. You read this blog because you find value in my content. Now turn that around and do the same for YOUR target audience.
If something isn’t working to move your toward your goal, you need to adjust, tweak, prune and repeat.
And for those of you who are now concerned that this is time consuming, I won’t leave you in suspense…it does take time to plan and implement any marketing plan. But like anything, you’ll get out of it what you put in. If you want X number of clients, you need to put in the hours.
Don’t Jump the Process
Some commentors on this blog are offering advice and asking questions that are more advanced than what I’m outlining here. The comments are accurate and helpful – Yes, you need to think about search engine optimization. Yes, you need your copy to be compelling. Yes, the web design and formatting does matter.
However, you will have no idea how to optimize SEO, write your copy or design the site unless you know who you are talking to and why. (Which always bring us back to understanding your niche….)
People throw away so much money and time by not setting up a solid foundation. Then they get frustrated and cynical saying, ” This online stuff doesn’t work!” when they never had a viable plan in the first place.
And there are lots of people out there who will be very happy to sell you quick fixes, “blueprints” and get-lots-of-clients-quick schemes without telling you that you need a clear plan and strategy before any of those approaches will work.
I learned the hard way. I made mistakes and bought into some of the hype early on.
And I promise you I’ll never offer you any information that isn’t honest, effective and customizable to your business.
Just showing up is less than half the process. Once you’re in the arena, you need a plan and a focus.
The truth is, to set all this up is work. It costs money. I can also tell you it pays off in the end (in a big way). But don’t jump the process. Take it one step at a time and be planful. Better to invest in a plan than run in circles and end up frustrated and dizzy.