Imagine standing in a huge auditorium, with a state of the art sound system, stage lights blazing, and you are ready to speak about your business. You have spent hours crafting your speech and you know exactly what you are going to say. And you know that a good percentage of the people that hear your message will not be able to say no because your message is compelling and you have proof. There is one problem though – it is time for your speech and the huge auditorium is… empty.
This is what many small business owners go through online. They spend a lot of time (or money) coming up with a professional website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account and they cannot figure out why they are not getting any business from it. The problem is many business owners think that building a website is all that they need to do to. They figure that if they go through the trouble of building a site, then of course people will visit. If this sounds at all familiar, then you definitely have a reach problem.
Reach – The number of people that see your marketing message online, whether it is on your website, on your social media properties, or another website that features your content.
It stands to reason that, if you have a good marketing message, the more people that see your message, the more will become customers. It’s a simple numbers game. Ask a business owner how they get their marketing message out and I bet that most of them could rattle off quite a list of ways that they have (or could) get the word out about their business. They might list buying an ad in a magazine, television or radio, direct mail, having an event in a trade show, offering coupons, or an endless number of other possibilities. However, if you asked those same business owners how they could get their marketing message out online, I bet it would be a significantly shorter list.
How Do You Get Your Message Out There
There is an equally long list of ways to get your marketing message in front of people online, but the trouble is most business owners don’t know about them, or don’t have the time to implement them. Below I’ll give you a list of 4 things that you can do to increase your reach in order to get more people to see your marketing message and eventually turn into prospects and hopefully customers.
1. Think About What People Are Searching For
Think about your prospects. Especially prospects that have never heard of your business. What would they search for in Google if they were looking for your product or service. What questions would they ask? What problems do they have that need solving? Most Google searches these days are in the form of a question that the user wants the answer for.
2. Offer Great Content
Just know, it is not a case of if you have great content, then people will come. However, if you have great content that helps people, then they will share it with their friends on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This way, when you do start to get traffic to your site, those first visitors will lead to more visitors, which will lead to more visitors…
I know that you are asking, “What is great content?” and that is a very good question. Great content is anything that your customers will find useful and valuable enough to share with their friends. It could be a coupon or an offer. It could be the answer to a question that many prospects have. It could be a resource that helps a prospect make their decision. It could be an image that makes people laugh. It could be a video that walks someone through how to use your product. The possibilities are endless. Just be creative, think about what your customers need and want, and give it to them.
3. Make It Easy To Share Your Great Content
This is nearly as important as offering great content, but significantly easier. Once you have someone at your site admiring your great content, you want them to be able to share it with their friends with a click of the mouse. You see the sharing buttons on most websites these days and yours should have them too. Make sure that visitors can share to Facebook and Twitter as they are the most popular, and then depending on your industry and the content that you are providing, you can add Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, or any of a number of other sharing sites.
If you have a WordPress site, this is incredibly easy to add through the use of a plugin. One plugin that I use is called WP Socializer (you can download it for free here – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-socializer/). It only takes a minute to install the plugin, and it is very easy to install and customize to your wants and needs for your site. There are a lot of other plugins out there, some free and some paid, that do a similar job. Find one that you like, install it, and make it easy for people to share your content!
4. Be Active Online
Find some communities where your target market would be online. It could be a forum, a Facebook group, a Linkedin group, or a place where users can ask questions. Be active on these communities. Don’t offer to sell people anything, just answer their questions, give great advice, and be friendly and helpful. Most of these kinds of sites let you have a signature that you can link to your site. If you start to develop a good reputation, people will want to know more about you and they will click on your link. And think about it, you have already started to build a relationship with this person by being helpful. Once they click on your link and see your great content, there is a very good chance that they will share it with others. This is a very powerful and free way to increase your reach online.