Increasing online visibility is the goal of most online business owners. After all, without visibility, you have no traffic and thus no business. However, when you start to research how to improve your online visibility, you discover many options, but find that there is little time for research and implementation. Where does an online entrepreneur turn first to get the visibility (and traffic) to promote an online venture?
New tricks and gimmicks come out every day, but unfortunately, most of them are like so many recording artists and become one-hit wonders. In my business, I’ve discovered that there are a handful that are able to stand the test of time. Some have been around for as long as websites have been around, while others are newer kids on the block. Here are my 10 most effective strategies to massively boost your visibility online:
1. Press releases. Press releases are a well-known marketing strategy that have worked for years with print and broadcast media. In recent years they have found new life as an online visibility tool. Just like in the old days, your release should carry some newsworthy angle that has been optimized with a select few keywords by which you want your business to be found. Don’t waste your time submitting your release to the free press release sites — the release simply sits on the site and goes no where else. Instead, invest in a fee-based service (I prefer PRWeb.com), which will ensure your release gets the recognition it deserves.
2. Social Networking. A “johnny come lately” to the online visibility scene, social networking now ranks near the top in terms of attracting visibility to your business for a very low cost. If you don’t yet have accounts on the two most popular social networking platforms, Facebook and Twitter, today is the day to hop on board and begin to network. Choose 1-2 social networking platforms where your target market hangs out, and then begin to work it by making connections, joining groups or networks, sharing resources, and asking questions. Dedicate 15-30 minutes each day to your effort to begin to see results.
3. Article Marketing. Writing and submittÃng articles to major article directories has definitely stood the test of time for online visibility. Article marketing will drive traffic to your site, establish you as an expert in your target market’s eyes, and give you valuable content to repurpose into information products. For maximum effectiveness, your article needs to contain a strong resource box (author’s bio) that drives traffic back to your site, needs to contain useful content that solves a problem of your target market, and be written in a tips-based fashion, like this one, since it is the easiest format for a website visitor to read and digest.
4. Blogging. Business blogs (a web log or journal), have gained popularity over the last few years as an online visibility tool. Blogs use RSS feed technology to immediately get new posts and updates out to your blog subscribers through a feed reader. Unlike ezines or traditional websites, search engines index blog posts almost immediately, which help you generate traffic to your website. To use effectively as an online visibility tool, you need to post 2-3 times per week to keep your readers interested and coming back.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Optimizing your site or your blog for organic (naturally-occurring) searches has been around from the beginning of Internet marketing. Use a keyword research tool and create a listing of keywords applicable to your business. Don’t forget to add things like “how to”, “tips”, or short descriptions of your target market’s problems to your research. Then, take a look at your page titles, page descriptions, page headlines, and formatted text on a page (bolding, italicizing, underlining) and include your keywords in those areas, as well as sprinkling 1-2 keywords throughout the content of your page. Make the SEO appear to be natural, not forced, and the search engines as well as your visitors will love you.
6. Email Newsletter (Ezine). Regular publication of an email newsletter (weekly is most effective) will enable your prospects to get to know, like and trust you and have you be top of mind when they are ready to solve the pressing problems that fall within your line of expertise. If you make opting into your ezine the primary call to action on your website, you continually build your list with prospective customers. Best of all, if they like what you write, they are more likely to pass along the issue to their contacts, thus increasing your visibility yet again.
7. Signature Teleseminar/Speech. Have you created your signature speech or teleseminar that you can present whenever you’re asked to speak to any type of group (face-to-face or virtual)? If not, design a signature speech or teleseminar that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise without giving away the store (focus on the what and the why but not the how) that compels your listeners to visit your website or request your client attraction device and get on your lÃst.
Then, begin to research groups that contain your target market both in your geographic area and online. Once you’ve landed a speaking gig, strategize your best call to action for the group — do you want participants to sign up for your ezine, purchase a product, or book a consultation? Add that call to action to your presentation.
8. Videos. With the popularity of broadband Internet connections, it’s much easier for almost anyone to view online video these days. And, with high-quality yet low-cost web cams, video cameras, and screen capture software readily available, anyone can make a video today. You might record a live Q&A session on UStream.com and post it on your site. Or, perhaps you want to record a “how to” tutorial using screenshots from your computer and upload that to your YouTube.com channel. Remember to include your call to action in your video so that you drive traffic back to your site. Just think — your video may cause you to become the next YouTube star!
9. Expert question sites. Most people conduct online searches to find free information that answers their questions. Many online entrepreneurs are registering as experts on an expert or answers site, like Yahoo Answers or AllExperts.com, in an effort to get visibility online. To be an effective expert on these sites, you need to seek out questions that you can knowledgeably answer as an expert. Your answer needs to be very detailed and as specific as possible. The more thorough your answer, the better chance you’ll have of getting chosen as the “favorite” answer, which is the one rated highest on the site and in the search engines.
10. Viral marketing. Viral marketing involves creating a marketing piece (ebook, video, software) that gets passed along free of charge from person to person. Publicity Hound Joan Stewart does this quite effectively each year when she compiles the best tips she’s written about in the previous year in a “best of” ebook compilation that she gives away free of charge on her site. She also encourages her lÃst and website visitors to “regift” it.
You’ve got two options when you try to get online visibility: the “steady and effective over time” method or the “quick and short and probably get banned” method. I prefer to use methods that have stood the test of time and won’t result in my site being removed from the search engines. Use one or more of these time-honored strategies to get you the visibility you deserve online.
About The Author
Internet Marketing Strategist and Boomer Biz Coach Donna Gunter helps baby boomers create profitable online retirement businesses that they love by demystifying and simplifying the tools and strategies needed to market and grow their businesses online. To claim your FR*EE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at OnlineBizU.com . Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at AskDonnaGunter.com .