Part 2 of How to increase your website traffic for FREE.
Missed part 1? You can read it here
Are you positioning yourself in the marketplace as the expert you are? What do you really want to be known for?
There are a lot of wannabes in the online space, I come across them every single day. They blow their own trumpet from morning to night, but are they delivering?
Often not really.
They just have great marketing and not just of their product, but of themselves.
I think this is why a lot of small business owners shy away from focussing on building up their own personal brand as part of marketing their business. They see all these online gurus, see through their guff and decide I am not going to be part of that.
I understand that thinking, but the reality of marketing your business in the digital age is that you need to increase the visibility of you, online to secure the future sustainability of your business.
These days, because there is so much online noise, people are looking more than ever to build connections with people online that they can trust and that would be you.
So what are some of the ways that you can boost your online visibility? I have listed a few key areas that you might want to focus on and like everything in this series, they are completely FREE - they just need you to dedicate your time to some of them. Remember not all of these will be for everyone - but - you need to be doing some of these items all the time as part of your overarching marketing plan.
1. What is happening in your personal social channels?
Are you actively seeking out either like minded people, potential customers, mentors etc inside your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Yes I said Facebook, are you using Facebook as a business tool or just a family catchup mechanism or to see what all your friends from 1984 are doing ( yes showing my age there!). You can have 5000 friends on Facebook and if you choose wisely, you can build fantastic connections that can help you grow your business.
If you are worried about what personal stuff you might share, take advantage of segmenting your connections, you might have family group, friends group and then acquaintances. This allows you to share your expertise and knowledge to a wider group, remember your business is a key part of your life - don’t shut off from it. Don’t be worried about connecting with others online - your of kind people will love to be connected with you and then this will allow you to share more of your business story with people who get it and you.
Finding people works in a similar way to what you might do inside LinkedIn.
Who here when they connect with a new person inside LinkedIn - then browses their connections to see who might be in their list?
I know I do - this is what you can also do inside Facebook - go to your friends list of friends ( phone is best) and then check out Get to know ……. friends. It will highlight a bunch of people that Facebook thinks might be a great match for you.
A lot of small business owners will feel more comfortable growing their network inside LinkedIn. In the past, this has been my go to method first with business people in my area and particular niche only. However now what I am doing is to actively seek to grow my personal brand with people I have admired from afar in business. Some of the big names in my space. I am looking to understand what makes them tick, to understand the kinds of things that they post and ultimately build up authority around me and my take on digital marketing marketing.
Crafting a following inside LinkedIn and Facebook for business needs to be carefully considered. Don’t just follow or request to connect with all and sundry. Choose wisely and think about your target customer, what your purpose is, what you need to know and then consider will this person help me achieve any of those things.
Does it sound clinical?
Old school would say yes. New school says an emphatic no. It is no more clinical than swapping business cards - but connecting on social media for business is going to allow you to show more of yourself and your why. It will allow you to build better connections.
Also when you connect with more people inside Facebook, then you can start to see more of their interactions inside groups within Facebook (which I will cover off in more detail in point 3 below)
Cost? Probably the most time of my suggestions.
This one will involved ongoing time from you and discernment. However if you aim to build authentic engagement, it is worth this investment in time and is a great way to build connections at the same time as building up your personal brand.
2. Are you using PULSE and MEDIUM to share your message?
Most small businesses today will have a blog, particularly those in the B2B space a natural progression from that is to utilise 2 newish blogging platforms Pulse (inside LinkedIn) and also Medium. Both of these are great to build your brand authority and industry knowledge of you.
Pulse is connected to your LinkedIn account and is easy for you to create a post - you just click on Create Article when you are in your LinkedIn account.
I tend to repost my blog articles inside here and reference back to my blog with words to the effect of “first appeared on the Bigger Bolder Better blog at Leanne O” with a link so that people can find me there. I have found that readership of my articles inside PULSE including comments and likes is higher than when I just link to a post from my blog directly. You can also find new audiences via the tagging features inside Pulse.
Medium is another great platform to try - and it is not just full of melancholy hipsters either. It is a great way to build your brand authority and it is also FREE! Again I tend to repost my blog posts inside there and this helps to build up awareness of my brand and me with new people who may not enter my sphere of influence any other way.
Find medium here - https://medium.com/
Cost? Hardly any time at all, once accounts are set up
If you are already blogging, then this time is really minimum as you can just copy and paste your article. It can be that easy.
3. Are you contributing inside Facebook groups that suit your niche? Do you have your own Facebook group?
Facebook groups have exploded in popularity in recent years. Mainly because group posts tend to be seen more regularly than posts to your Facebook page. So participating in groups that suit your niche as well as hosting your own, are great ways to set yourself up as the expert helpful resource that you are. It is how you can become known in a space when you are new or unknown.
There are loads of groups online - just pop over to Facebook and start searching in groups for ones that might suit your niche or area of expertise and start sharing. A way to find great groups, is when you start to grow your network inside Facebook that you can also see what groups your friends belong to and join those. I have found this approach to be immensely valuable and have grown my network but more importantly sold products as a result of this strategy.
Creating your own Facebook group is another fantastic way of building your brand authority. IN fact is your are a service based business then this is likely to be the BEST way to build up your brand to the point that when you share your offer, you have a whole host of people wanting to buy from you - cos they trust you.
Cost? Depends, I know people who spend way too much in groups and not enough time doing anything.
Plan this time into your weekly schedule - don’t get too carried away, be strategic and plan when you dive in and out.
4. Can you provide guest blog posts or be a guest on someone else’s podcast?
You are blogging on your own website - what about for other people? Are you seeking out blogging opportunities on other websites? There are often lots of industry based website or member based sites looking for new contributors. This is a fantastic way to showcase your knowledge. Think big here - what about Huffington Post, Mamamia, Kidspot, Thrive etc. There is a reason that so many do this - it helps to grow their brand authority exponentially.
Likewise if you are participating in Facebook groups, you might find periodic call outs to be on a podcast as an interview subject. The beauty of this is that you can do it from the comfort of your desk, as most podcasts are likely to be conducted via Skype. You don’t even need to get dressed up or stressed out. You can just enjoy the process.
Cost? Your time to create a post or participate in an interview.
If you contribute to someone else’s blog, you will need to submit original content, so it can’t be what you already have. It needs to be fresh.
A word of caution - don’t expect to be paid and don’t get precious about it. You are doing this as part of your marketing plan. To grow your brand, you need to share your knowledge widely - if you are an authority - be one and provide value.
5. Are you speaking locally, business groups, industry nights, chamber of commerce meetings?
I know many people would run a mile from speaking in public. But there is nothing like sharing your knowledge in a room to set you up as an expert. You don’t have to speak to a huge crowd, a small chamber of commerce gathering will allow you to gain confidence, hone your skills and start to spread your message.
If you are worried - get some speaking training. Like everything we do, we aren’t born with those skills. So don’t be afraid to ask for help, sign up to a course or just accept that you will get better.
Cost? Nothing but prep time.
You may get free dinner, free bottle of wine, who knows it could be the start of something big and you get paid to do it (my all time work wish - paid to talk!)
6. Have you joined industry groups in your niche that you are be active in - member spotlights, offers, networking opportunities
Don’t forget old school networking methods either. There was a time that most industry group meetings I went to where wall to wall web developers and graphic designers! Don’t be the sleazy buy my stuff person. Aim to build connections first, share your knowledge and the work will come.
Cost? Ongoing membership fees of the organisation
You should get access to loads of free things as well, plus plenty of networking opportunities, so take them. Many times these organisations will put a call out for people who can help with XYZ, be one of those people who help.
7. PR - yes you can DIY PR
Can a small business owner successfully secure some positive PR to build your brand? Well yes they can.
A terrific resource for this is the online resource Source Bottle
Source Bottle aims to bring expert sources to the attention of journalists and bloggers. If you signup, you can receive emails that outline media opportunities in your niche that are completely free and will just involve some time on your part. It is absolutely worth a shot.
I am not suggesting for one second you need to do ALL of these, but I am suggesting that you need to do at least 2 of these.
What 2 might suit you?
Look out for my next blog post in this series, where I am focussing on Content Marketing
And remember - before you start driving more traffic to your website, make sure that you have the right tools in place to analyse the traffic. If you have Google Analytics plugged into your site, but have no idea really what it is telling you, you need to grab access to my Explore Google Analytics Course,