Why Just BE-ing Online isn’t Enough

by 1st VA on July 8, 2009

It wasn’t too long ago that small business owners could put up a website, maybe add a blog, submit an article or two to online directories, do a little search engine optimization and they would do fine getting website activity and making sales.  That process just doesn’t work anymore.  You can no longer BE online without being ACTIVE online.  And here’s why – you need to build relationships now, not just show your “brochure” and wait for sales to come to you.  These days, when people are cautious about spending, they want to feel more comfortable about what they are purchasing.  They want to “know, like, and trust” before they’ll purchase a product or service.

Here are three things you can do immediately to start building relationships, become known as the expert in your field,  and create the “know, like, trust” factor.

1. Ezine: Most businesses already have an ezine.  BUT – many are not utilizing it to its fullest potential. If you’re not in front of your readers on a weekly basis at MINIMUM – you’re missing the boat.  Monthly ezines don’t work like they used to.  You MUST stay in front of your audience more regularly.

Your weekly ezine should be brief. A personal introduction, an article of relevance on your area of expertise, an “about you” section and a recommendation are all you need.

You need to show your personal side in your ezine.  People want to know YOU and get a sense of your personality and values.  Often I talk about my family in my ezine because family is my number one value.  People will resonate with that, or they won’t, but the point is, I’m sharing what’s important to me and people want to buy from people with similar values.

2.     Blog regularly: Sure, most business owners have a blog, too.  But it’s important to be blogging regularly.  People won’t subscribe to ezines quite as much anymore due to email overload so it’s important to blog.  Posting three times per week is ideal – but at a minimum you should be posting once per week. There are other benefits such as SEO (search engines LOVE updated content) but for the scope of this article the primary benefit is relationship building.  Blogging is another avenue of building “community.”  Having comments open will allow people to ask questions, and share their own opinions.  Blogging is another way to show your personality.

3.     Social media: This is one tool that is not so regularly utilized yet, but should be.  Every business owner MUST be on Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter. If you’re not – you are missing out in a big way.  Social media marketing is so important for building new relationships.  From these new relationships you’re able to generate activity to your website, create interest in your products, and become known as the expert in your field.  Not only might you generate new business, but you may create some joint venture opportunities.  Social media isn’t what “the kids are doing,” it’s what serious business owners are using now to build important relationships.

Don’t wait for people to find your website – get active online, build new relationships and watch the sales and new opportunities come rolling in.

Donna Toothaker is CEO and founder of 1st VA the highly sought-after online marketing and consulting company. 1st VA specializes in providing online marketing support and services to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who wish to effectively build or improve their online presence. To discover how 1st VA can help your business – visit http://www.1stva.com.

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