Harnessing online resources to increase your business profile
Everyone’s online these days, making your online business presence essential. One of the best ways to increase your business profile is to create a range of online resources that customers will want to download, use or play with.
Online resources to consider
It’s important to research online resources and decide which ones are best for your business. What you’re looking to do is provide your customers with online options that complement what you’re selling. For example, if you sell and install aquariums in health care facilities, a white paper discussing the therapeutic health benefits of aquariums could provide your potential customers with the information that they need to move forward with the project.
The marketing tools discussed below can position you as an authority while also keeping your name and contact information front and centre.
Webinars and online forums
Both webinars and online forums are a great way for your business to establish thought leadership in your area of expertise.
- Webinars – these typically take place in real time and are much like face-to-face sales presentations. You can use webcams if desired, though many prefer to use slideshows and audio tools. Webinars allow for two-way interactions, too. For example, after sharing your demonstration, research, or expertise, you can open the webinar for questions and answers. You can also record your webinars and make them available to others on your website.
- Online forums and communities – your customers likely gather in communities online, sharing their passion. For example, if you sell fitness equipment and clothing, consider joining a community, such as a forum or Facebook or LinkedIn group, for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Be sure to add value to the conversations to avoid coming across as “spammy.”
A case study is a more detailed form of a customer testimonial. It usually covers the customer’s challenge and ultimate solution provided by your business. Case studies tend to be written in third person whereas testimonials are usually a first person account of the customer’s experience.
Customers love to get some entertainment out of a website as well as what they’re buying. Look around to see what kind of online games you can include on your site that complement what you’re selling. For example, if you’re a tutor, consider adding educational games to your site that reinforce the skills your students need to develop or work on.
White papers, industry reports, and expert opinions are all excellent downloadable resources. These tend to be longer form content that’s better suited for reading offline. This type of material is used to help customers gain a deeper understanding of the problem they are hoping to solve along with potential solutions.
For example, if you sell health products and can provide research around a particular herb or mineral that’s part of your offering, include it on your website. Not only will this information be useful to curious customers browsing your site, it could attract new visitors who might not have found you otherwise. Plus, these new visitors are interested in something that you are selling.
Blog Posts and Articles
A lot of your research can serve as content for short blog posts and articles, both of which can attract visitors to your website in the first place. Creating interesting, informative content and posting it on your website can position you as an authority on the subject matter.
You’ve heard the term ‘viral video’. This is when footage goes global and is seen by large numbers of people thanks to all the likes, comments, and shares. What you’re looking to do with this marketing technique is create a video that’ll be shared over and over again.
For instance, if you’re a dog trainer who’s able to show dogs doing amazing tricks, get a video uploaded to your site. And remember – when it comes to video, the funnier the better. Just stay away from controversial subjects like politics or religion in order to maintain your reputation.
Sharing on Social Media
Finally, consider using social media to further increase your business profile. Sites like SlideShare and TechRepublic are ideal for sharing your research-based resources such as presentations, case studies, special reports, and white papers. This is similar to posting the resources on your own site; however, you’ll likely benefit from the increased exposure of these sites.
Meanwhile, you could use Instagram and Facebook to share relevant photos and visual data of interest to your customer base. You could even encourage your customers to submit photos of themselves interacting with your products via an Instagram or Facebook contest.
No matter which online resources you use to increase your business profile, make sure that they are relevant to your offering and your customers’ needs. The more complementary they are, the more targeted the traffic you’ll attract.
- Speak with your local ANZ Small Business Specialist for advice on how to update your website with online resources.
- Driving traffic to your website – tips and advice to get more people visiting you online.
- Small business heroes – check out our own case studies on successful small business owners.