You have probably heard that as a business owner, you have the flexibility to define your own working hours and the time you spend with your family- but, while this is true, we can’t ignore the fact that owning your own business comes with a lot of effort and hard work.
One of the struggles that most business owners encounter is, that of landing clients.
Landing your first client (or subscriber) can take a lot of time, and this depends on your marketing strategies, your budget and the amount of time you spend on social media.
I’m not referring to the hours you spend scrolling through your social media news feeds “for fun”, but the time you’re planning on committing and investing on your social media presence. Before the internet came along, businesses depended on their local customer base for their survival, but today, people can connect with a wider audience and offer their services internationally.
The internet not only has enhanced a business’ customer base and productivity but also how it communicates with its target audience to drive revenue growth.
And this is why having your social media profiles up to date and making your business known in the digital world should be your main focus- not only when you’re starting out, but also when you hit your target income goal, as you don’t want to lose out on potential sales and loyal customers.
Instead, you want to keep on:
Providing valuable information.
Building your online community.
Investing in your marketing tools.
So, if you are just starting out as a business owner (or freelancer) or you are finding it hard to drive customer and revenue growth, here are the 5 strategies that you can implement to establish and boost your online presence, and see those $$$ coming in!
1: Create a professional looking website.
Setting up a website plays a huge role as it helps you to present yourself as a niche expert and get clients that take you seriously.
Get website hosting and choose a domain name that represents your business (example: www.yourbusinessname.com)- yes, even if you’re just starting out in the freelancing business, you want to invest in having a professional-looking website.
A free hosting domain (www.yourbusinessname.wordpress.com) looks unprofessional and won’t help you grow neither your customer base nor your revenue.
If you don’t invest in a professional-looking website, you’d be seen as an ‘amateur’ and your potential clients wouldn’t want to build a long-term relationship with you.
Think of it this way:
You want to target the right audience and reach your target income goal, right?
It’s a long-term commitment.
You want to build trust.
You want your prospects to look at your website and get the sense right away that you can deliver the value that they’re seeking.
You can’t work on your online presence if you go for a free hosting domain.
Free domains remain the property of the hosting provider and if this goes out of business, you’ll lose all traffic and you’ll need to find another provider.
Also, if you want to index your domain in search engines, this can’t be done with free domains and of course, there is no guarantee that your website will appear in search engine results.
2: Create valuable content.
Our life depends on the internet nowadays, or let’s say, social media.
In 2018, people in the Philippines spent more than 4 hours per day on social media, while those in the US accessed their accounts for approximately 1 hour and 57 minutes per day.
Smartphones have become a great part of our life, that according to Jessica Wade, users spend about 2 hours per day on social media to kill their boredom.
Social media tools are constantly evolving to reach new audiences and engage their users with captivating content. This is how most of the time, people get to know about the latest fashion trends and news – Businesses (that have a website) have an active blog and post regular content to promote their services.
You need to build credibility and establish your business as a trusted authority in the industry.
For instance, if you have a real estate company you can write articles about mortgages, renting vs buying an apartment, how to get financial help, and so on. Your clients will see you as an expert, even if you’re just starting out in the real estate business, because you’re providing valuable information that will help your client choosing the right property.
Make sure to stick to a schedule, as writing regularly helps you to build a stronger online presence and generate more traffic.
Imagine you’re buying a €200 typewriter and:
Company A claims to be the best retailer in town and has an active blog, where they regularly post articles about the item they’re selling (example: its history, how to replace a manual typewriter ribbon, the benefits of using an electric typewriter, etc).
Company B claims to be the best retailer in town as well, but doesn’t have a blog.
Whose typewriter would you buy? Of course, company A’s.
Both companies sell the same product at the same price.
Both companies claim to be the best retailers in town.
But company A has established itself as an expert in selling typewriters and built a strong online presence. – It has an active blog and posts content that their target audience wants to read.
Before you start writing make sure that you have defined your niche (the niche is the industry you specialize in, for example, real estate, dentistry, mental health etc) and your target audience.
For example; if you’re a mental health blogger targeting people who are going through mental health issues, you’ll want to write blogs and tips about anxiety, depression, postpartum disorder, etc and what people can do to feel better and more confident.
You can’t write about other topics- you want to focus on your niche AND your audience.
Craft headlines that stand out.
Another thing I’d like to mention before we move on to the next point is headlines (or blog titles), as these determine whether your target audience will read the article or keep on scrolling. You may have created a great article with informative tips, but if the title doesn’t stand out, you won’t get any views.
You may have to test it out until you get the hang of it and determine the types of headlines that attract social media clicks but I’d recommend you follow these tips if you want to drive more traffic to your website and boost your online presence:
- Use odd numbers: if you’re including a number in your headline (for example # strategies to boost your online presence), use an odd number (3, 5, 9, 11) as these tend to generally perform better and look less conveniently packaged than even numbers.
- Add a question (i.e. “Are visors safe?”) because people are constantly asking questions and these types of headlines indicate that the article highlights a problem and includes a solution for your target audience.
- Use punctuation (hyphen or colon) as these improve clarity: i.e. “Postpartum Depression: X Ways to Seek Help During the Pandemic”.
- Add adjectives such as “beautiful”, “brilliant”, fun” and “useful” to grab the readers’ attention and intrigue them to read till the end.
- Use stats – for example: “This Is The Guide That Will Help Increase Your Revenue by 120%”.
This image shows that headlines including numbers have a higher impact (as in, drive more traffic) than the other types of headlines.
You also need to take into account the gender you’re targeting, because numbers resonate more amongst women, while questions perform better among men.
3: Leverage SEO.
This goes hand-in-hand with blogging and I won’t go into a lot of detail about SEO in this post, but blog posts are a great way to help your page rank for a specific search on Google.
And if you produce great content, it will continue to attract more visitors and drive more traffic to your website- those visits can translate into sales for your business.
The following are a few tips to help you leverage SEO in your content:
- Do your research first to find related keywords relevant to your content – a lot of bloggers add keywords to their posts without realizing it. However, tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool and SEMrush help you to spy on your competitors to see what words they are using to drive traffic.
- Add keywords throughout your post: add these to the title, subheadings, introduction and concluding paragraph, but don’t overdo it.
- Add title tags and meta descriptions.
The title tag appears in browsers, search engine results pages and external sites such as Facebook and these should include relevant keywords that describe what your page is about.
Meta descriptions are short summaries of your post and explain what you are offering on that specific page.
This is an example of a title tag and meta description for WordPress:
4: Optimize your Linkedin profile.
Blog page (and you’re working to publish regular SEO- content): check
Your next step is to optimize your Linkedin account and spend some time interacting with your potential clients.
A lot of businesses think that having an active social media business account is unnecessary, but as mentioned previously, if you don’t establish your businesses as a trusted authority in the industry, you end up with a revenue loss.
In 2020, about 3.6 billion people have accessed their social media accounts, and this figure is set to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025. While of course, this means that you have a great chance to grow your business, at the same time, you have a lot of competition and need to work to stand out.
Your social media pages have to represent your business, your brand, and your niche.
Linkedin is a platform where businesses connect with potential clients and colleagues within the same industry (and even with users that work in other niches) and is used by 600 million users. It’s not like Facebook – It aims to help people find new job opportunities and maintain their brand so they can land clients (so, you won’t waste time scrolling through irrelevant posts or photos, but you’ll come across users that post tips for their colleagues or write how they can help their target audience).
It is also similar to a resumé because once you sign up, you have to add both your education and work history.
If you’re new to Linkedin or if you want to just revamp your profile, follow these steps to help you build a stronger online presence, drive more traffic to your business website and establish your company as a trusted authority in the industry.
- Upload a professional-looking photo and banner:
You don’t need to hire a photographer or invest in a professional camera, but both your profile picture and banner should reflect your business. Don’t choose a photo where you’re wearing glasses or looking away from the camera, but you should make contact with your audience.
You can also list your services in your cover photo and include a CTA (call-to-action), which is a statement where you’re inviting your potential clients to contact you or buy your products, i.e. “schedule a call with me”, “click here if you want to know more”, etc.
- Market your niche.
Make sure that you’re marketing your niche in your Linkedin headline, description, photo and banner.
Choose an attractive headline that explains what you do and how you can help potential clients- for instance, if you’re a career coach you can either write “Career Coach”/ “Student Career Coach” or something like “I help students land their first job”, where the latter explains the results you deliver to your clients.
Then you have to update your ‘About’ section- don’t just write that you’re a freelance blogger, a photographer or life coach- but explain WHAT you can do and HOW you can help your prospects. Why should they hire you? What makes you different than other psychologists, editors, or consultants? What can you help businesses achieve?
- Connect with potential clients
If you’re a career coach and help psychology graduates land jobs, use the search bar to look for people with a psychology degree so that they will know that they can use your services.
When you send a connection request, add a customized note—you want to let them know why you’re adding them to your connection list. You may write something like “Hi John, just read your article on XYZ and loved tip #1 – would love to add you on Linkedin and look forward to reading your future posts”.
Or – “Hi John, just read your post that you’ve been going through mental health issues- I’m a psychologist and I’m currently hosting free virtual meetings with my clients- I was wondering if you’d like to connect”.
- React to your connections’ posts.
You want to get recognized.- You already have a niche-optimized headline and description and are building your connection list with potential clients.
Now you need to ‘show off’ your skills- you’re an expert- you specialize in CV writing, fashion design, content writing, etc.
Comment on your clients’ statuses- if you’re a career coach and a prospect wrote that he/she is finding it difficult to land his dream job, leave a comment with a few tips on how he can revamp his CV or update his Linkedin profile.
- Produce content that your viewers want to see.
You can either share your website’s blog posts, upload videos, webinars, podcasts or infographics. You want to reach a lot of people and post regularly on Linkedin – in fact, companies that post 20 times per month reach 60% of their followers with 1 or more updates.
- Promote your products and/or services.
If you’ve just published a book, launched an app or a virtual lesson, share the news with your audience. You can even create a company page where you can introduce your products, and write the benefits of purchasing them or working with you.
5: Take it to the next level with Facebook Ads.
Set up a Facebook page (this only takes a few minutes), upload a professional-looking photo, banner, description and contact details. Then, of course, start sharing content with your audience and interacting with your followers, that is, that, if someone asks a question on your posts, reply.
Take it to the next level by creating Facebook Ads to promote your services and products to reach your desired audience, and of course, make more money.
Yes, you can write posts where you write what your company offers or the benefits of your products and how they can purchase them, but these target users that are already subscribed to your page, and if you don’t have the budget to create ads, you may find it hard to extend your reach.
This is what you can do with Facebook Ads:
- Use specific objectives: you can store traffic, conversions, and lead generation.
- Maintain control: Fb ads are created through Ads Manager and you can design them based on your goals; for instance, you can create carousel ads, add descriptions and even a call-to-action button to invite people to buy your product. This helps you to boost your social media presence and invite your prospects to take action.
- Choose your audience: you can create overlapping audience types, lookalike audiences and more.
A lot of businesses cripple because they don’t make the effort to work on their online presence. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but you have to work hard and use the necessary tools to get your business out there and extend your reach.
It’s possible to make your company known in the digital world and reach your target income goal if you implement these 5 strategies.
It’s never too late to start.
Use your time and money effectively to boost your online presence and convert your prospects into long-term clients.