Letting your connections know about your website
There are a lot of methods to build traffic to your business website, such as SEO, content marketing and advertising. All of these take time and money before you will start to see real results. One way to build awareness of your business website is to leverage your existing network of connections (friends, family, colleagues etc).
You could simply blast them with an email and say “Hey, here is my new shiny website”. Your friends probably won’t mind but your colleagues might be less impressed. Fortunately there are a few other subtle ways to increase awareness of your website.
Setup a Facebook page for your business. On that page, you can share useful tips that relate to your business. If you are a creative entrepreneur, Facebook is a great place to share photos of your recent work.
Once you have populated your Facebook page with some useful content, you can invite people to like the page. I wouldn’t recommend inviting everyone you know to like your Facebook page tempting as it may be. Instead, just invite those that you know will be the most interested. Those are the people who are more like to enjoy your content, like it, leave comments and share posts on their own wall.
Next, make sure that anyone who visits your personal page knows about your business page. To do that, add it as an occupation with a link to the page.
You can also have a link to your Facebook page from your website. It does sound a little counter intuitive to send people away from your website if they are already there, but having them like your Facebook page is a great way to ensure exposure for you and your business as your posts will appear in their Facebook feed.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, create one. Seriously.
LinkedIn is the single best way to stay connected with people you have worked with or met in a work related function that I know of. It is also a great way for people to find you.
At the very least, update your profile with your business in the work history. You need to give yourself a job title, which can be tricky when you are running your own business and don’t have a boss to give you a title. There are a couple of options here:
- Official sounding - if your business is a limited company, then for official purposes you are likely to be a Director
- Startup sounding - If Director is too official, you could go with Founder
- Small business sounding - you could go with Owner or Sole Proprietor
- Descriptive sounding - Rather than using non-descriptive terms like Director or Founder or Owner, you could go with something that actually means something. If your business is about making luxury bespoke cakes - Luxury cake maker. If your business is about taking photos of families - Family photographer.
You can go beyond simply listing your business in your work history by creating a dedicated LinkedIn page for your business.
In many ways, Twitter is similar to having a Facebook page for your business in that you are sending out tips and tricks to people who could be interested. But Twitter has one advantage - it tends to be easier to build a following because it is more open and you are not restricted to your own network. Once you start to build a following, it can snow ball as people retweet your tweets. Keep at it and send out highly relevant and educational content on a regular basis. Twitter is a crowded place and you need to make sure you stand out.
You could either create a personal twitter account or one that is in your business name. But even if you create a personal one, ensure you put a link to your website in the profile.
Other social media networks
There are plenty of other social networks that you can try out such as Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ to name a few.
Having a descriptive email signature is a great way to let people know you are emailing about your business and provide a way for them to find out more by linking to your website. It is a subtle and non-aggressive way to include it in every email you send!
Some people say business cards are dead, but it is still a great way to give people you meet a way to get in touch and find out more about your business and what you do.
Using a business email address
Using a free email address like gmail or yahoo is fine for personal email, but using a business email address is a great way to increase credibility and awareness of your brand at the same time.
Emailing your contacts on a regular basis
Simply staying in contact with people in your network is one of the best ways to be fresh in their mind when they come looking for the services you offer. Sending people emails with valuable content is a great way to keep in touch. For example, if one of your contacts runs a photography study and you come across an article about how technology is revolutionising the photography business, you could send the link to your contact with a message like “hey, I thought you would be interested in this”.
By doing this, you are not asking for anything. You are simply being helpful and providing value.
When you have a business to run, building awareness is an essential step to gaining new customers. It may feel awkward to reach out to your own connections, but by utilising non-aggressive methods you can subtly build awareness without annoying anyone.
If you would like me to drill into any of the methods above and provide more detail, let me know!