From a marketing perspective, building a business used to be about visibility, but in today’s busy and noisy world, it’s really about being findable.
A website has long since been a threshold competency when it comes to credibility and in recent times a social media following and by extension, a social media strategy has become the norm as well.
Word of mouth has always been the most effective way to generate new business (it certainly is for my business) but frequently those ‘words’ are now shared online.
In addition, global connectivity means our reach is anyone who has access to the web. In this crowded, busy, noisy, virtual marketplace how do you stand out?
How do you connect with customers? It’s no longer about visibility, it’s about findability.
We all know the old adage that ‘visibility precedes ability,’ when it comes to business. There’s little point in being wonderful at what you do if no one knows who you are.
In the past it was about ‘putting yourself out there’ making the cold calls, attending networking events, qualifying leads and even doing some pro bono work. Whilst these strategies are still useful, the focus today is on engaging and educating, sales is the bi-product. You start by getting very clear about your ideal clients.
At least 95% of people and organisations are not my ideal clients. In my line of work ‘I don’t take horses to water, nor do I make them drink and the horse has to be thirsty.’ The 5% who are thirsty for my work get 100% of my attention.
You cannot be all things to all people so there is no point in trying, plus it’s a poor business model because your focus will be spread too thinly, you will be distracted from focusing your efforts where they will have maximum impact.
If you want people to know about you, what you do, the services you offer and what matters to you, you have to share it with the world. You do this through conversations – the conversations you have face to face with people and the conversations you have online via social media.
When you share and discuss what you are passionate about, people who are passionate about the same things will find you.
For example, I’m passionate about self-actualisation, it’s no surprise then that the majority of my personal 1-2-1 coaching clients are passionate about it too and want to work with me so I can coach them to step fully into their potential.
When we share what we love and speak from the heart it goes to other people’s hearts. When we speak about our passions we are letting people know who we are and what we stand for. If you want others to be a fan of your work, you have to be a fan of your work!
As people, we are always interested in other people’s stories and opinions. This open, honest and personal approach makes us relatable and approachable, qualities that have to be in place before anyone will want to do business with you.
This is mirrored in the recent trend of personalising our online presence. For example, the use of personal, emotive words in LinkedIn as opposed to generic business-speak (I’m passionate about versus proven-track record) and sole traders owning their individuality as opposed to trying to sound like a corporation.
Then there is the likeability factor. Think about the people you follow online. In addition to interesting content on topics that are important to you, I would hazard a guess that you like them. You find their personality engaging and they come across as real people.
When it comes to sharing information online I’m guided by these questions –
These questions are at the heart of engaging and educating. Remember when you teach, share and encourage, you are generating interest in your work.
People with a ‘lack mentality’ will always be reluctant to share their wisdom and won’t be generous with their insights and advice, but the reality is you have to give before you can receive (in business and in life!) If you want followers you have to share information and be someone worth following.
Whilst visibility precedes ability when it comes to growing a business, you still have to be able. You have to at least meet client expectations as to what’s the norm in your industry. I love the Steve Martin quote ‘be so good they can’t ignore you.’
In my line of work, I treat my coaching, speaking and training just like my writing – a craft, one I continue to hone and fine-tune. I am my own product so there is no room for complacency. My own learning, development and up-skilling are core competencies.
Working on our visibility, getting findable, establishing an online presence will activate that internal voice, the one that screeches ‘who would want to read what you write, sure no one will connect with you anyway, it’s all been said before and so on……..’ We all have this gremlin voice, it’s part of our self-defence mechanism, it will never be silenced but we can learn to put it on mute.
I mute it by reminding myself of the ‘4 SW’ acronym that Jack Canfield shares in his book ‘The Success Principles,’ (it’s a happy coincidence that ‘SW’ are the first two letters of my surname.)
Everyone is not looking for what you are offering, but those that are, they’re waiting for you to show up and when you do they will find you.
We simply have to accept the fact that at some level we all run the gamut between waiting to be found and waiting to be found out. Remember too that the worst troll is the one that lives in your head.
Whether people respond to you or don’t, is not totally up to you, but you will be out there, doing your thing, being generous with your output, developing your niche, getting pleasure from the process and ready, willing and able whenever your ideal clients are.
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Thanks so much