It’s a deliciously simple question, but one that a lot of startups, small business and freelance people ask me. I know what works for me as a Sydney based copywriter or as a freelance marketer- but what about you?
Here are the first basic steps you should be looking at to ensure you are maximising your potential to find customers.
Get used to social media
No, you don’t need to be on every social media channel available, but yes, you do benefit from social media. Most of us are now social media savvy, so it pays to try it out.
When you start out on social media for your business, the main idea is to remember the social aspect- converse, ask questions, answer the questions other people ask and join in the conversation!
And remember that it’s a great way to discover things.
When you first start off with social media, make sure you:
- Reserve the name of your business on major social media channels. Always grab Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, Instagram and Pinterest even if you aren’t ready to use them yet.
- Write a customer centric bio. Always write your social media bio using language that includes your potential audience from a “this is what we do for you” perspective.
- Include keywords in your bio and posts. To help aid with discovery when people are searching, use keywords in your posts and your bio, and don’t be afraid of using tags.
- Avoid the “all about me” trap. Yes, some people swear by talking about themselves all day but the audience fatigue is starting to grow. Your aim should be to look after your customer needs, so you should put yourself second and your customer first in the content you share.
- Keep it relevant. You can post as often or as little as you like, as long as what you post is helpful, useful and customer friendly.
For other social media tips, head on over to my social media section and take a look around. Or hit me up on Twitter, Facebook or GooglePlus with your questions.
This is me. Follow me and let’s get social media’d up together!
Google +: Bek Lambert
Have a website with (at least) basic SEO
I know some people make SEO sound like you need a physics degree to understand it, but there are some very simple ways you can improve your SEO on a basic level. You can find more customers through lifting your exposure when people are searching. No brainer, right?
You can make sure you are SEO ready:
First step, check you have a sitemap by checking for http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml (and pull your web developers ears if you don’t!)
- If you are a WordPress site, install Yoast as a plug-in and follow my Yoast advice.
- Identify keywords that work. Have a think about the kinds of things your customers would enter to find your business and/or key products in groups. Taking me as an example, I use phrases like Sydney based creative copywriter, Australian freelance marketer and content creation and combinations within that.
- Thinking about the titles for your pages and the meta descriptions with both selling to customers and SEO keywords in mind. A lot of people will tell you to forget about meta descriptions due to not having a value in terms of SEO. I say bollocks to that. You should make use of them to describe your web pages to your customers.
- Remember to include your business name in your copy. I can’t tell you how many companies stuff up their search by using “we do this” and “we offer that” in preference to owning they own name! We don’t search for “we do this”. We search for your business name. Use it.
- Stay Google friendly. If your website was last tended to by an SEO copywriter pre-2012, you are in danger of having a website that is hindered, not helped by your copy. The rules have changed a lot for Google in the last two years. So if it’s been a while between copy refreshes, it’s time for you to get a copywriting review and potentially some new SEO copy.
- Create fresh content. Blogging regularly demonstrates to Google and your customers that you know what you are talking about. Take advantage of it!
- Stay bug-free. Broken links, missing and moved pages and anything that interferes with the enjoyment of your site will usually make Google’s job of scanning your site a lot more difficult. Using tools like Broken Link Check can really help keep these kinds of errors from happening.
Look into off-page SEO
Here’s another place where SEO consultants love making it sound like the Hubble telescope is on loan to their personal SEO department.
Off-page SEO is looking after SEO that isn’t on your website that connects to it in some way. It’s linking to sites that help with customer exposure. No voodoo required.
Here’s how you improve your Off-page SEO
- Seek out opportunities to guest blog for people and have people guest blog for you in exchange for links. Reputable sites, not the idiots who spam you about smoke detectors or contact you from England offering to pay you to carry their clients blog
- Write content people will want to cite and involve in copy of their own. You can do this by producing research reports of your own, or producing research articles based on the facts and figures given by others
- Network and comment on other blogs using a standard login. Disqus is great for this kind of outreach.
- Add your site to the appropriate directories. By appropriate we’re talking places that have a decent reputation like White Pages, Yelp, True Local, Foursquare, and network and directory listings that your consumers trust. Not the dodgy pages that have nothing but links!
- Add your blog to the appropriate blogger networks once established. Register at places like Blog Chicks and a wealth of other lists about. Usual deal is you need a regularly updated blog with 6 months or more of content.
- Take ethical back-link advice from reputable professionals. Like this link building blog from Point Blank SEO.
The beautiful thing about off-page SEO is it not only helps with your ranking, it also means that you are thinking about places where you can gain exposure. It trains you to think about where customers may go to find the solutions you provide.
The bottom line:
Finding more customers might sound like a big ask, but with a simple plan and a few hours of chipping away at specific aspects of your online presence, you can make marked improvements.
The common theme is being places people can find you. That means social media, within search, and places they go online for trusted information and recommendations.
I’ll be continuing to break this aspect of business down over the coming months as finding more customers can be a challenge for any business, regardless at the stage they are at. So if you are struggling at this point in time, please feel free to drop me a comment below. I am happy to provide tailored fixes via blog format to help you get over the hump!