Would you be surprised to learn that most real world businesses have still to embrace the online world?
Of course, they have a website. Of course, they’ve learned a bit about social media. Maybe they’re on Twitter. Maybe they’ve done a bit of pinning and maybe they have a Facebook page.
However, they’re uncomfortable about the whole process. What’s more they’re not really sure what they want to achieve online.
There’s a question that nags them:
How do you translate all of that online activity into sales?
They really want to know the answer, too.
That’s because they know that their advertising and public relations activities don’t generate as much business as they once did. They know that people in their marketplace are spending less and thinking hard before they buy at all.
Therefore, they know it’s time to do more online.
If yours is an offline – a real world – business and you know you don’t see your future in internet marketing, but you do want to create a bigger impact online, what can you do to build your online reputation?
I suggest you try the following.
1 Get control of your website
If you haven’t already done this, do it today. You need to be able to upload content yourself. You need to be able to modify your site yourself.
These days it’s important to update websites regularly. Updating every week, if at all possible, is what’s needed. Make sure you can do this without it costing you a great deal of money and a web designer’s time.
That means getting control of your website.
You won’t make much progress until you do this.
2 Create an email newsletter
You need a list. You need a targeted list. (You need to have the right people on your list.) You need to communicate with your list.
A simple way of doing this is to set up an email newsletter and draw the people who are likely to buy from you to you.
Keep the newsletter simple, too. Lots of people create pdfs with fantastic graphics and lots of pages. They then write their newsletters once every three months.
Don’t do that. These pdfs are expensive. I’ll say it again. They’re expensive and I don’t like that. Neither will your audience. By expensive I mean it will cost me a lot of ink or toner cartridge to print out the newsletter you send me. (It might also cost me a lot to download in terms of bandwidth. Send me a newsletter that is 5 Mb in size and I’ll be cross, very cross. I’ll unsubscribe instantly, too.)
Many of these fantastic newsletters are designed to be read after being printed. They’re produced in A4 format. The designer is thinking in terms of producing a magazine when putting the newsletter together.
These newsletters just don’t work.
Choose a simple format for your newsletter. In the case of my 100% Change Updates, I write in html and there are rarely graphics in the body of the newsletter. In other words, I keep my newsletters very simple.
I also give people a good reason for signing up to join my list.
I’ve written a review of the email newsletter software supplier that I use. If you’re interested take a look.
When you commit to produce your newsletter, commit, too, to producing it regularly.
Once every three months isn’t enough. Once a month isn’t enough.
I write my 100% Change Updates every week. I do this so that my subscribers don’t forget me.
You will be forgotten if the name of your business and what you do isn’t in front of your prospects and customers once every three weeks or so.
Just a simple update and a simple article is all that’s needed.
Little and often works.
3 Stop Tweeting and blogging and pinning without purpose
I have been working with several clients recently where I’ve asked them why they’re doing that they’re doing?
- Why do you want more Facebook likes?
- Why do you want more Twitter followers?
- Why are you blogging twice a week, when you hate blogging?
- Why do you want more comments on your blog?
…. And so on…
Most people have no idea how to turn likes, followers, pins, comments and shares into business. They don’t choose their blog topics effectively so their blogs don’t help their business to make sales.
The answer to why you’re doing all of these things is to bring targeted traffic into your customer funnel.
This means all your social media activities are undertaken with that specific objective in mind.
By all means build presence but do more than that. If you don’t, you’re indulging in a very expensive hobby.
4 Create a plan
Get a plan. What sort of a plan? Well, almost any plan will do, but the following plans will help.
- Create a social media strategy – so that you can remind yourself and your staff why you’re on the social web.
- Create a blogging strategy – so that you can create posts around the themes that matter to your business.
- Create an editorial calendar and posting schedule – so that you know what you’re doing and so that social media doesn’t take over your working life.
Take a look at my online Twitter tutorial to help you to make a start on this – at least as far as Twitter is concerned. (We have tutorials to help you with the other platforms, too.
5 Sort out your LinkedIn profile
Now here’s a challenge for lots of people. If you’re in business, your LinkedIn profile should reflect your business interests and it should deal with what your business does.
If you’re in business you should get rid of the LinkedIn profile that’s just an out-of-date CV.
Rework your LinkedIn profile – and set up a LinkedIn company page, too. You can put information about your products and services into this entry. You can build a presence for your business in an important arena.
The link to my profile is here: Margaret Adams on LinkedIn
Working hard on your LinkedIn presence matters because people search for suppliers on LinkedIn.
They often take a look at LinkedIn profiles after they have met you. They may not be potential customers but they could be looking at your profile and wondering if you would be a good strategic alliance marketing partner.
You want to create a good impression with your target market so make sure your LinkedIn profile says what you want it to say.
It’s working for you – or against you – 24/7.
5 Online success for offline businesses
Will the world change, if you do the above?
You know the answer. It won’t.
Will things change gradually? I think they will.
These days more than half of the new business for The Adams Consultancy Ltd comes from the online world. That is people fill in the contact form or they call because of what they’re seen on this website and on our other websites.
It didn’t happen overnight, but the online presence of Margaret Adams and of The Adams Consultancy Ltd are, together, generating interest, business and momentum.
So where should you start?
I would work through the list in the order I’ve set them out.
If you would like to talk to me about our More Clients Every Month programme, where I help offline businesses to take control of their online presence, or about our Ghostwriting Services, where we do a lot of the online writing for you, then get in touch.
If you haven’t done so already, do connect with me on Twitter. I put lots of hints and tips about building a strong online presence into my tweets.
Oh yes, and leave a comment about how to build an offline business’s online presence or share the post on the social web.