How to Leverage the Internet to Promote Your Enterprise
An online presence is essential in today’s competitive sales environment. Whether it’s an office manager comparing prices of print cartridges online before making a purchase order for the entire company or a government agent looking up business info from applicants to a project bid, everybody is using the Internet to make a more informed decision.
Google has estimated that 70% of Americans take a look at product reviews online before making a purchase and that 79% of consumers use a smartphone while they shop. This is why it’s critical to harness the power of the Internet to improve the self-promotion of your enterprise and enable your potential customers to find your enterprise more easily. To fully leverage the Internet to promote your enterprise, here are some key important points to consider.
1. Remember the 90/10 Rule of Promotion
Self-promotion on the Internet is 90% preparation and 10% execution. Enterprises are like teenage boys: they are desperate to talk to girls, but when they finally get a chance, they don’t know what to say. It doesn’t matter how big is your audience, if you don’t have a well-crafted message ready for delivery, you won’t be able to pique interest of any of those visitors.
The first step in self-promotion can be found in the book Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy. You need to be ready to deliver your message according to the format of the situation. Therefore, you need to establish your personal brand bio in three stages:
- Stage #1: the one sentence (100 word or less pitch),
- Stage #2: the short paragraph (250 word pitch), and
- Stage #3: the two-paragraph story (two paragraphs that provide your full story).
Once you have developed a consistent story, you are ready to take your message online in the right format for the right audience. For example, your one-sentence pitch is great for Twitter chat and your two-paragraph story is appropriate for an in-depth interview for a long-format blog post.
2. Maintain a Main Online Presence
One of the most common missed opportunities when buying media is not directing customers to a website. For example, imagine buying an expensive two-page spread at a business magazine that is sold nationwide and not including a link for your customers to find out more.
Avoid this mistake and maintain a main online presence for people to find out more about your enterprise. Depending on your tech skills, available budget, and available time to work on it, this can be either a blog or a website. No matter which format you use, keep these three key points in mind when developing your main online presence:
- People hate to read: Several studies reveal that we only read about 28% of the text on a web page. And this is only in best-case scenarios. Don’t fall for the trap of maximizing the potential for sales by cramming as much information as possible into every single page. Learn to love white space because your customers already do.
- People use their smartphones: Remember the stat that 79% of consumers use their smartphones when shopping. For millenials that number is even higher. Leverage responsive web design so that your site is ready for any screen size.
- Have a clear call-to-action: Don’t beat around the bush and leave your visitors guessing what you want them to do. It needs to be 100% clear what you would like your site visitors to complete, ideally through a well-planned page layout that makes smart use of visuals and white space.
In your main online presence, you can present the full two-paragraph story that you already developed. Once this site has launched, start including the URL of your site into your business card, your email signature, and any presentation material that potential clients will be exposed to.
3. Don’t Forget About Social Media
Focus on the social media channels that make sense for you and represent your self-brand consistently. Even though users are heading to new social media channels, such as Periscope and Snapchat, in hordes, this doesn’t mean that you need to be present in every single social media outlet.
Out of all social media outlets, Linkedin stands as the most professional one and appropriate one for spending your time connecting with professionals in your industry and delivering quality content. The key to LinkedIn is to spend time providing answers to questions from other users in groups within your field of expertise. This way you can build your online stock as a reputable advisor and drive people to your main online presence.
Another great social media site for providing answers to queries in your industry is Quora.com. Through your online dialogue with potential clients, and when appropriate, you can start using your one sentence or one paragraph brand statement.
By remembering the 90/10 rule of promotion, developing and maintaining a main online presence, and including social media in your online strategy, you can fully leverage the power of the Internet to promote your enterprise and create more potential client leads.
Image Credit: Steven Depolo