One of the dilemmas for all ADIs, is how to market themselves and their business. Most have business cards, a few produce leaflets or posters and some use a mixture of a website, a Facebook, a twitter account and perhaps a Google plus account, a LinkedIn profile and/or YouTube channel. It can be a challenge to know what is right for you and your individual business.
I was recently asked whether it was essential to have a presence online, I don’t feel it’s a question that can be answered with a simple yes or no. There are a number of issues that, if you’re thinking about setting up some sort of presence or want to expand and improve what you are currently doing online, you should be considering.
What options do you have?
An online presence doesn’t even have to mean you need a website!!! Facebook, twitter, Google plus, LinkedIn and YouTube are all places where you can promote you and your business! You can write articles and post to directories, write guest blogs perhaps join relevant forums in your niche market – none of these require a website!
However, if you do choose to go along the website route, there are different options for what you decide upon. You might go for a simple site that acts as an information page about you and your services – encouraging visitors to get in touch. Or you can chose to do something more comprehensive and build what is really an authority site – showcasing your specific expertise.
So what are the advantages of having an online presence?
Increased reach: Having your own website is a great opportunity to showcase your own knowledge, experience and expertise. This means you’re increasing your profile, not only with potential customers but also with other professionals.
It’s easy to underestimate the power of potential online relationships. A number of ADIs who regularly refer clients to me for specific training, I have only ‘met’ online through Facebook or twitter and never face to face! In my case, developing an online presence has allowed me to extend my customer base and work with many clients that I may never have met otherwise!
Opportunities to share and educate: Developing your media presence allows you to share your experiences and what you have learnt. You might take the opportunity to help others by holding webinars, creating podcasts and creating online resources. You could build your own email networking list and perhaps send out regular newsletters.
Of course, like anything, if is not for everyone. Some may want to focus on their core business face to face or over the phone, and rely on more traditional word of mouth advertising. If that what works for you, great – but if you would like to try your hand at something different that may better appeal to your target market, or you just want to extend the profile of your services, why not explore this idea a little further?
Pitfalls to think about
Of course there are pitfalls! I didn’t know what I was doing when I started building a website, having a twitter account etc. so had to learn as I went!! I didn’t have a plan for this at all and my website took on a life of its own. I found myself spending far too much time and most importantly, had very few people actively engaging with the content I was putting out there!!
So, should you go for it?
My thinking is……. it depends!! 🙂 ……On you, your particular niche and your individual business plan, if you have one! Nobody should feel compelled to have an online ‘personality’, but if you decide it’s something you would like to do and it’s advantageous for your business, then make sure you research how you might do it!! Unlike me, do some initial planning before plunging in!!
- Promote you and your services
- Generate discussions
- Reach a wider audience
- Raise your personal profile
- Create different revenue streams
- The difficulty of firstly identifying and then taking advantage of the benefits
- It can be time consuming, particularly initially
- Can get out of hand if you’re not organised
- Acts as a HUGE distraction, if it’s not part of a proper marketing plan