If you are new to marketing on the Web, your website probably seems like one of the loneliest places in the world. You may wonder why such amazing content or such an innovative product can go unnoticed. Don’t worry, your lack of visitors is not a reflection on your business, website, or your creativity. It is simply a result of anonymity. A new website is like a tiny trade-show booth in an out-of-the way corner. Here are some simple things you can do to kickstart your website by connecting with real people online.
When getting started in online business, you need to measure what matters. For example: how successful would you feel your website was if it had 5,000 visitors every day but no one contacted you or purchased your products? Numbers of visitors aren’t the most important thing. Your business doesn’t exist to serve pages to anonymous passers-by. It exists to connect, to add value, and to create an income. In short, you need customers, not visitors. So how can you find visitors who are likely to become customers?
If you are starting a brand new business, make it your first priority to identify where your potential customers hang out online. Are they asking questions on Quora and LinkedIn groups? Are they frequenting industry blogs and forums where you can advise and help them make good decisions?
Look for face-to-face, offline networking opportunities. Networking may not come naturally to you, but it is required if you want to make sales.
When you engage with social media and forums, first create a complete profile that links back to your site and orients people to who you are as a business person. Then engage honestly and helpfully as a whole person with the challenges that interest you. Remember that behind every interaction is another real person. Don’t let the Web depersonalize others or cut your interactions to a simple money-making effort. If people sense you see them only as a potential sale, your business won’t last long.
If you, like me, struggle with networking, it may help to rehearse a simple one or two sentence statement of what you do and why it’s valuable. Keep it short enough for someone else to remember and repeat after hearing it only once. And, though they’re starting to get dated, I suggest printing attractive business cards that feature your website URL along with your contact information and logo. They will most likely be discarded, but they give you something to hand to the other person as you share what you do. It’s a ritual – use it.
These quick tips are in no way comprehensive. I didn’t even mention Facebook pages and how to work with your own blog. What tips do you have to share that expand on this post and may help others connect with customers online and in-person?