Can Your Audience Find You?
In 1989’s movie, A Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner tears down part of his Iowa corn fields in order to build a baseball field where the ghosts of legendary ball players come to relive their glory days. While his neighbors and friends thought he was crazy for killing half his crop, he and his family believed in the movie’s most famous quote, “If you build it, they will come.”
In the end, the ball field was a great success because people from far and wide heard about it and made pilgrimages to the field to reconnect with their families. It’s a feel-good movie with a happy ending but how realistic is this idea that if you simply build something, people will flock to it and make it a success?
Let’s take your website and blog. Yes, it’s very simple to put up a WordPress website and start writing content but just because you push that PUBLISH button, does it mean people will find your content automatically? Not exactly; there’s a lot of preparation necessary to get your blog listed in the search engines that require more than just word of mouth.
Organic Search Results Still Require Work
To get ranked in the search engines, you need to incorporate keyword phrases that people would use to find your information; and you need to do it naturally, as in a conversation, so as to avoid the search engine wrath over “keyword stuffing.” Is a shorter post more informative than longer posts? Which length ranks better? With the search engines constantly changing their algorithms, it’s a never-ending dance trying to strategize how exactly to get the best rankings to bring that organic traffic to your site.
Why Keep Your Business a Secret?
Even if you prefer to get word-of-mouth referrals instead of investing in expensive advertising, you still have to start out by telling at least one person that you have a website and you’re open for business. Think about those with brick and mortar offices or stores. Unless you’re on a well-traveled street, nobody will know you exist unless you tell people. You can take it one step further: You need to tell people what you have to offer in order for them to make a special stop to check out your physical location, so why wouldn’t the same be true for online business owners? Be proud and be loud when promoting your business!
Build Relationships without Worrying about the Almighty Dollar
Yes, you’re in business to make money but if that’s all you think about, your success will be fleeting. Instead of focusing on that final, end result of earning money, think about building relationships with those you meet, especially if you’re strictly online. Don’t assume someone won’t need your services; they may remember you a year or two from now if you foster a relationship. Don’t disappear after making the sale; fostering relationships will keep your name in the back of someone’s mind and may bring repeat business. These relationships are what will bring you those word-of-mouth referrals.