Introduction: Maintaining content-rich web profiles are the most efficient way to market your specific services to your niche audience. I recommend you devote the bulk of your marketing budget to developing excellent content and lots of it, with some additional funds set aside for design, production, and maintenance.
Your web properties include: websites, blogs, wikis, videos, podcasts, social networking profiles, images, applications, badges, and affiliate sites.
The more specific you are, the easier it will be for customers to find you on the internet.
For example, a real estate agent might post breaking news on condo developments and include walk-through videos, behind-the-scenes advice, pictures and plans of buildings, comments from current and potential owners, and a social networking component to create a community of condo owners in her area. Through the camaraderie and information generated through the site, the realtor finds clients who are happy to work with her because of the quality and honesty of her information.
How do you make the most of your own website and internet presences? Here are ten specific ways that you may implement over the next few months.
1) Focus on the quality of your content.
Site content trumps beautiful design most of the time (unless you’re an artist, photographer, or entertainer). Keep your web content fresh, up-to-date, and helpful. You have less than 10 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention: use your time wisely!
Keep your pages updated with articles, links, calculators and estimators, white papers, downloads, and genuinely helpful information.
Put most of your marketing budget into content generation and spend less on the “bells-and-whistles” until you establish a readership base and grow your community of clients. Content gets searched and stored by Google, so consider a multi-pronged approach including keywords across all your web channels.
NOTE: Samples for quality content include: top ten lists, how-to manuals, research findings, survey results, original articles, resource links, interviews, and events.
2) Always add a contact form.
Your website is like an employee that works 24/7. Some companies (like ours) receive 90% of their business through website requests. Make sure there’s a way for visitors to contact you on every page, including the client’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail (if necessary), the reason for the request, and how they found your website.
3) Use Frequently-Asked Questions to explain your procedures and services.
Make sure your pages describe the processes involved for those who choose you as a provider. Adding a “FAQs” page will help tremendously in directing people to correct information and it will minimize the number of procedural-related requests. Once a viewer understands your products or services and learns a little more about why they should choose you, they’re ready to move to the next step of purchasing.
NOTE: Lead your customers forward by making your process easy to use.
4) Establish excellent incoming links.
Your page ranking in search engines is determined by the relevancy of the content on your website. If your pages are linked to or referenced by many other websites, this contributes to the “authority” of your pages. Higher-ranked pages have higher authority and the best way to claim this authority is to provide quality content in your field of interest. Encourage and ask others to link to your pages and highlight your work and reward them with cross-links.
NOTE: Beware of “link farms” or directories with unrelated or poorly-organized content: these actually detract from your page ranking.
5) Provide excellent outgoing links.
Your outgoing links determine your page ranking too. Be discerning and wise about your outgoing links. Typically, blogs, news sources, or business sites with relevance to your own website will provide good linking power for your site. Use this power!
NOTE: The HTML to create a link is:
<a href=http://www.thelink.com > This is the link text </a>
6) Specify, specify, specify.
Web searches typically are very specific and done by humans, so use keywords that match what others would be interested in. What words currently bring users to your site? Is there a way to narrow your field of interest so your site moves higher and higher based on the types of content you publish?
7) Measure your data.
Google Analytics offers a free service to monitor your web visitors. With this weekly report, you receive information on the numbers of unique visitors to your site per month, the returning visitors vs. first-time visitors, the length of time they spend on your site, and the pages they visit.
If you use blogs, sign up for the free Feedburner service to understand who is subscribing to your blog. The number of subscribers gives you a good indication of who’s receiving your messages.
8) Personalize your content
Are you real or are you a robot spammer? People want to know what you’re like *before* they work with you. Use your internet presence to identify your best specialty, to share your knowledge, and to highlight your values, philosophy, and mission.
9) Define your universe of clients
Brainstorm ways to market your business online and truly dominate your defined, targeted universe. Most customers start their research on the Internet: give them ways to find you when they use a search engine. Becoming the niche provider in a certain market means you become the main provider within that universe.
10) Social networking and social media is your next step
Meet people at all kinds of events, like alumni groups, religious groups, professional associations, and BNI. Invite guest posters for your blog. Publish your articles with others in an e-book or published book format.
Answer questions in Linkedin.com, use your Facebook profile to share listings, create a multi-access Twitter account for your trade group, use CoTweet to schedule twitter postings on your keywords, develop weekly call-in mastermind groups, and contribute to a referral network with other professionals for mutual benefit.
Use these ten specific ways to get started, and as you rank higher and higher (and receive more and more web-based referrals), you may continue building on your website success.
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