Today’s marketplace is highly competitive. More people are competing for what some are saying fewer dollars. Every day, prospective customers and clients are looking for what you do. So, how do you stand out? The key is information and getting it to your prospects early enough in their decision making process. Here are seven things you can do today that will help establish you as the expert in your field and get more business.
1) Send an E-Mail
Everyone has a group of friends, family, customers and colleagues that they send e-mail. Too many times (or maybe not enough) it’s a funny video or joke. Consider sending an e-mail to your contacts about an interesting topic relating to your business.
Unless what you do “never” goes on sale, don’t send an e-mail about “20% off if you buy now” or some such offer, especially if you’ve never sent other e-mails with “real” information. If there’s a topic in the news that relates to your business, send out an e-mail commenting on the news story and how you and your business are dealing with it. Another idea is if you have recently attended a class or seminar, summarize what you found interesting and how it applies to your audience (your e-mail list).
One key to e-mail is to make it current and the right frequency. Be sure to not over e-mail and always allow a way to “unsubscribe” from your list.
2) Join a Social Network
LinkedIn.com, twitter.com, FaceBook.com are all excellent social networking sites you should consider joining. Search online, though, and you may find a niche that fits your industry too.
With most social network sites, members usually let their “friends” know what they are doing both socially and with their work. One way to think of social networks is like an online party. When you are at a party, it’s usually uncomfortable when someone walks up to you and says “hey want to buy my stuff”? So, use your social networks by mixing personal and business. Keep your network posted on current issues within your industry and helpful tips that they may find useful.
3) Start a Blog
A blog is a website where you can write articles (both short and long), post pictures, link videos, etc. It can (but doesn’t have to) take a lot of time to keep up-to-date. The same e-mail that you’ve just sent out with great information or the post on the social network you just “tweeted” can also be published on your blog. So, it doesn’t have to be a huge effort. You don’t need a website or even have to pay for your blog site. Visit WordPress.com (there are others too) and start a blog for your industry. Be sure to name it something meaningful that matches your business (industry not necessarily name). In other words, if you sell widgets, use widgets in the name not “Jim’s Blog About Stuff”.
If writing a blog seems overwhelming, then search for other blogs in your industry. Most blogs allow for adding comments to their entries. Include your name and main website as part of your comment. Be sure to keep your comment relevant to their post.
4) Post Pictures
A picture is worth a thousand words. Take pictures of clients, your office, events you’ve attended, etc. and post them online. Flickr.com, Photoblog.com, and other social networking sites (like Facebook.com, etc.) are great places to post your pictures. Be sure to include a brief but accurate description of the pictured scene. Also, be sure to include your name and what you do in the description.
Many services have a profile page where you can include more detailed information about yourself. Include as much information as is appropriate for your industry and personality. Remember that many will meet you for the first time through these pictures so, keep it professional but let your personality come through.
5) Record a Video
Recording a video is as simple as owning a web-cam. Sure, there’s a lot of video editing software available (some may even have come with your computer such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie) but all it takes is “point and shoot”. Services like YouTube offer a quick capture mode where you can record your video right to the website.
When recording, make sure you are in a bright area and that your face is well lit. Have at least an outline in your head about what you’d like to say and keep it brief. Most successful videos are one to three minutes in length. So, keep it brief and on point. If you have more to say, you can always make another video!
6) Document a Testimonial
Has a colleague or client told you “good job” lately? Ask them to write you a letter or e-mail describing the scenario. If you are both on LinkedIn.com, ask if they would “recommend” you online (it’s a quick feature and easy to do). If you have a video camera, ask them to quickly describe their experience then you can post it on YouTube. You don’t have to use specifics or divulge personal details but testimonials are an excellent way to convey your expertise and level of service.
Once you have your testimonial, post it on you blog, publish it, spread the word!
7) Write an Article
Thousands of websites are looking for fresh content every day. There are several sites that allow writers to submit their articles such as ArticleFactory.com, EzineArticles.com, and Buzzle.com (search online for “submit articles” for others). Each site has its own submission process but it’s easy to do. Once submitted (and accepted) other websites can access your article and post it on their site. You get credit as the author and you can point readers back to you via the “About the Author” section typically found at the end of each article (so, don’t forget to add it!).
Once you have started using these techniques, tell people! “As seen online”, “published author”, “noted expert” are all adjectives that describe you!
For more information about establishing you as the recognized expert in your market, contact Jim Pidcock at Epic Business Solutions, LLC.