I recently wrote this article for The UPS Store Small Business Solutions.
In today’s small business environment there is intense competition. It’s a crowded world out there. That is nothing new to the readers of The UPS Small Business Solutions blogs.
But one major change has taken place in the last few years in the new business sales cycle. Today you can be virtually certain that before a prospect engages with you they will Google you. Yes your Google presence is your step to growing your business.
In the New Normal you must rise above the crowd or your competitors. Your Google presence is more important than your elevator speech because your chances of getting on an elevator with the key decision maker are very small. Your business rises above the crowd through your dominance on search engines.
What would prospects see today if they Google you? Is your Google presence telling your prospects how smart you are? How you are engaged in new marketing practices like social media? I would surmise that a Google search would list your website and then probably a hodge podge of listings. Often a number of business directory listings which only tell people where you are located which isn’t a particularly compelling way to motivate prospects to want to do business with you.
Today it is imperative to own all the listings on the first page with your thought leadership. Your thought leadership should be based on the things that you do that make your better than your competition. Think more about the customer’s benefits of engaging with you rather than generic benefits of service and price. How will working with you makes their lives easier and drive their sales?
So how to you build a strong Google presence. Well it is a combination of traditional and new media and ongoing updates because Google likes change and activity and engagement.
For me the foundation of a strong organic search presence on Google starts with an electronically optimized press release distributed through a wire service like Business Wire or Marketwire. Oh sure there are free wire services but they don’t create the same buzz. You get what you pay for is something that hasn’t gone away in the New Normal.
The next step is to productize your knowledge. Most small businesses know a lot of things. In the New Normal you need to turn that knowledge into something you can sell and write about. In other words content marketing. Converting what you do into blog posts will help your SEO. Blogging shouldn’t be perceived as a burden. It is simply writing down what you around know and getting credit for it on Google.
I am sure that there are many blog posts The UPS Small Business Solutions blog on the advantages of having a strong social media presence for you and your company. A key benefit of social media campaigns is that it improves your SEO. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter among the many others offer you a place to repurpose your content and dominate that first page on Google. Your participation positions you as a company that know how to market itself in the New Normal. If you are current in that fashion it also conveys that you are current on the most up to date trends in your industry.
Another easy way to repurpose your thought leadership if by leveraging LinkedIn. You can belong to fifty groups on LinkedIn. These groups should be a combination of peer groups and prospect groups. I always tell clients go where you want to be. In other worlds participate in the groups that you want to influence. Here is an example. I am Canadian and want to speak on networking and business development more in Canada. A year ago I made 10% of my LinkedIn groups into Canadian groups. Today about a year later, 15% or more of my readers are from Canada. How did that happen? Well I repurpose my blog on those group discussion pages. That’s an efficient way to tell people about what you do in a way that makes your appear to know your core competencies.
In the New Normal it’s not what you say about your business, it’s what your Google presence says about you.
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Watch: The Power of Networking.