You have your company email address and website. Your have also completed your 360 degrees exercise.
Keep the momentum going with the following steps:
- Put links on other websites that point to your website, especially those that rank highly with Google. Some excellent places to start include your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. YouTube is great but of course you need to have videos. Why go through the trouble? First, people are already visiting other websites so they will see your posting sooner. Second, search engines like Google actually work on the basis of a democracy. The more links there are to your website, the more popular it thinks your site is which will bring your site further up in the listings. Naturally your site still has to be relevant to the search terms.
- The best places to messages with a link pointing back to your website though are actually websites where your target market hangs out. Be sure not to just post an advertisement for your company. In most circles, this is considered unsolicited advertising and can actually get you banned from ever posting again on the site. A better approach is to be helpful by demonstrating your expertize. If people appreciate your advice, they are more likely to click on the link to your website and check you, maybe even hire you.
- Be on the look for directories listings and associations that your target markets belong to where you can list your business website for free.
- Create a standard signature block (not your actual signature) to be automatically included in every single email messages that you send and any messages you post on the web. It should include your name, your position, your company name, tag line, telephone number, email address and of course a link to your website. You may even want to include links to your social media sites. Be warned though that if your email contains too many links, email filters may decide that it is SPAM (unsolicited email) and filter it out.
- Make sure all of your pamphlets, business cards, flyers, letterheads, invoices, posters, billboards, product you have for sale and even your voice-mail message includes at the very least your website address. Many people don't know this but you are allowed to include capital letters in your website address. For example, www.TNGConsulting.ca. This not only makes it easier to read but potential clients will be more likely to remember it.
- Post testimonials up on your website. Only 17% of consumers believe advertizing while about 74% will trust others. It's no wonder Social Media is so influential when it comes to marketing.
- Get your website listed on http://www.dmoz.org/. This site is a directory which feeds many other search engines on the Internet. If your business website is in more than one language, be sure to list yourself in each of them in the most appropriate categories. Each submission is verified by a human and if they decide that you don't legitimately belong in the category you recommended, they will disqualify your application to be listed. If you have a French website, also get listed on the popular French search engine called "La Toile du Quebec" at www.toile.com.
- Get your website listed on Google and Bing. The best way to do this is to actually post articles on high ranking website like www.EzineArticles.com (PageRank 6/10) or www.GoArticles.com (PageRank: 6/10 ) and include your website address in your signature block/contact info. Google will soon discover it and you'll find yourself listed within 1 to 7 days. If you were to submit your website directly to Google and Bing, it could take up to 6 weeks before it shows up in the search result listings.
- Spend one hour each day promoting your business on-line. Some ways you can do this include: Writing articles and posting them on sites like www.EzineArticles.com (PageRank 6/10) or www.GoArticles.com (PageRank: 6/10 ). Visit and participate on websites where folks in your target market hang out but no more than 10-15 minutes on Facebook as it can consume your whole day if you aren't careful.
- Watch for businesses in your target market advertising their services. Chances are they will be getting busy very soon and may need your services. Contact them!
- Start building a list of names and email addresses, even if you don't have a need for it today. You'll be able to use this for sending out timely promotional notices and reminders, advertising and sharing a newsletter down the road. It won't be time to start collecting this information when you need it. Be prepared.
- Know your target market. Keep track (in a perpetual 12 month calendar) of their business cycles throughout the year and contact them at the right time to remind them of your services and what it can do for them to hire you. If you don't know these cycles, call them up and ask for 10-20 minutes of their time so that you can learn about their business. Keep careful track of them. Every potential customer should be contacted at least once per year if not more often. Just because they don't need you today doesn't mean they won't need you in the future.
- Find associations where potential clients meet. Most places will allow you to come visit at least once if not a few times without becoming a member. This can include places like Toastmasters, eWomens Network, Courses, Meetup.com, Networking events, Business Network Canada (BNI), Chamber of commerce, Board of Trade. Visit http://www.infoentrepreneurs.org/en/. Find your target clients in the Yellow Pages. Contact everyone you know and ask them if the use a Snow removal service, for example. If they do, get their contact info and ask if they recommend them. There is no shortage of leads to keep you busy until you have more clients than you can handle.
- Know where you are going with your business. WRITE DOWN a high level 3 year plan. Then write up a plan for the coming year year. Then write one up for the next 6 months and one for the next 30 days. Each plan should be more detailed than the previous level. Review these regularly and keep them up to date. Most successful business have a very concrete plan for at least the next 6 months. Make sure each of your plans are in alignment with the goals of your 3 year plan. Review and update each of the plan on a monthly basis.
- WRITE DOWN your fee structure. Professionals always know how much they charge and what the going rate is. If you charge more, be prepared to clearly state what the client will get in return for the above average fee. Don't play the "undercut everyone" game. Many people believe they get the value they pay. Those who go for the least expensive often learn expensive lessons. That's why executives get paid more than someone in a secretarial pool. If you charge too much less, you'll get the wrong kind of customers. It may sound counter-intuitive but you'll eventually discover that most cheap customers will have less respect for you, will make you work much harder and will make you feel like you are always over charging. They will tend to be more problematic when it comes to paying invoices and tend to be micro-managers. When you charge more, people tend to believe that you are better at what you do. After all, how can you ask for more money and get it unless you are worth it? They will not try to put the squeeze on you and will appreciate you knowledge and effort much more -- as long as you don't let them down of course. You also need to be professional and be reliable. Note: WRITE DOWN does not mean type it up and save it in your computer. This needs to be on paper and visible at all times to keep you on track. Unless you are disciplined at document management and have a plan in place and operating well to keep track of stuff in your computer, most of this stuff will tend to get lost over time.
- Go out and develop joint venture partnerships with businesses that are related or complementary to yours. These folks probably go after the same target market as you do. To find them, think about what products and services your target market uses and then get in touch with those vendors to see if they wouldn't mind having some of your pamphlets on their counter, your link on their website and even refer customers to you. Of course you can do the same for them too.
- Get out there! Remember, everyone is either a potential customer or can refer you to a potential customer, even the most unlikely people.
Short Story: My financial advisor once went to a multi-day seminar. On the last day he stayed behind to ask the speaker some questions. By the time he was done, the only person left in the room was the janitor who was cleaning up. Being the socialite that he is, he started up a conversation with the janitor and they chatted for about an hour. About a week later he got a call from this janitor. Turns out that this seemingly unimpressive and poor looking janitor was actually a millionaire and wanted to work with this financial advisor to make some investments. Wha's the moral of this story? How could this story be relevant to you?