While there are many benefits to being self-employed, it can also be stressful when you’re just getting started. Acquiring new clients and moving them through the sales funnel can be challenging if you haven’t yet grown online brand recognition.
Here are five ways to improve your digital presence this year.
1. Differentiate personal and professional social accounts
While you may have a large social media following, are you converting followers to customers or are they interested in your dog, travel photos and foodie inspiration? These are two completely different audiences. If you combine them you run the risk of isolating potential business prospects.
Instead, create a personal brand account and a professional (i.e. company) account on key social media platforms. For example, consider creating two Twitter accounts to ensure on-brand messaging for both audiences. Your professional account doesn’t have to be completely business-focused, but it should deliver messaging that speaks to your followers in a relevant way.
Keep in mind, if you are the face of your business (i.e. authors, fitness experts, life coaches, artists, etc.), then you will likely merge the two; but keep these principles in mind.
2. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations
Do you use LinkedIn to find new business opportunities? Are you looking for ways to reach new leads? LinkedIn has a number of features that make it easy to develop relationships with the right prospects.
If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn account in the past few months, it might be time for a refresh. Along with updating your portfolio and sharing regular updates, keep in touch with current clients and ask for recommendations. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most trusted forms of marketing.
Meanwhile, you can use LinkedIn Groups to find potential prospects and start building relationships. Answer questions from people who are your ideal customers—demonstrate your company’s relevance, value and expertise.
3. Increase exposure with SEO
If you run a professional blog to highlight your expertise and drive people to your website, don’t overlook the value of SEO. Broken and spammy links can limit your search engine results and frustrate website visitors who land on 404 error pages. To prevent this, run link audits to check for any problems.
Use free link tools like Majestic and Moz Open Site Explorer to view links that point to your domain and download them in a CSV file. Then disavow backlinks to clean up any bad links that negatively impact your page rank.
SEO best practices also include building high-quality links to authority sites in your niche. You can do this internally by linking to them and externally by submitting guest posts and requesting mentions. Carefully growing your link portfolio can boost search rankings and increase website traffic. After that, it’s your turn to “wow” site visitors and turn new leads into customers.
4. Create guest posts and collaboration pieces
In order to effectively use guest posts to build quality links, you have to create engaging content. This is why many entrepreneurs use collaborate with influencers as they look to build their reputation.
For example, invite industry experts to be featured on your blog, podcast, webinar, etc. This is a great way to break the ice and build relationships. You could also co-author a newsworthy piece or create a survey to tap into customer trends. High quality content works together with the SEO to create a positive online experience for your audience.
5. Start conversations
Most marketing advice is focused on content creation and distribution with a goal to make others listen to you. However, listening to others can be surprisingly effective — especially since it’s rare.
Stay on top of top industry platforms. Add commentary and curate their content on social media (and don’t forget to tag them). This can help you spark conversations, drive personal influence, and grow your professional network.
You don’t have to have thousands of Twitter followers or publish daily blog posts to get noticed online. However, you do need an active online presence. Clean up your current social media profiles and use proven content marketing techniques to attract new clients and build authority online.
This article has been edited.
Derek Miller is a content marketing consultant for CopyPress. CopyPress is a leading digital content production company, specializing in articles, infographics, interactives, and videos. Connect with @itismillertime on Twitter.
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