Internet Marketing: Your Best Bet at Success
Internet Marketing: Your Best Bet at Success
When we think of marketing, our minds become promotional minded. We think of the short-term ideas of offering a sale or we think of other one-time ideas such as making an appearance at an industry convention. Both promotional ideas can be advertised online, but the sale is only going to last so long and the convention appearance is only going to last one day to maybe a week. That’s the problem with being promotional-minded. To really succeed, one must be platform-minded.
Having a platform is the same as having a life. It’s a continuum of being if you want to speak in existentialism terms. Seriously though, it is an ongoing work-in-progress which needs updating, repair and an allocated portion of your attention. It is bigger than building a collective of clients; it is all about building community for both peers in your industry and potential clients who are fans of your product or service. Below is a list of my top five tools used to build a platform.
Maintaining a Blog: Where do people turn for news and tutorials these days? Usually they find a blog by an expert in a specific field you might be interested in. Perhaps you’re curious about the latest trends in student health insurance provided by universities. There’s a good chance you might find a blog out there written by a student rights advocate of a certain college full of information in both factual and opinionated fashions. Do you work in insurance or perhaps related fields? Share your expertise with the world and start your own blog. Perhaps you write an article called, “Insurance for Veterans.” Once you publish the blog article, it is set free on the web and is searchable for those looking for information on the topic. Another benefit of a blog is the comment feature available on most blog systems. A reader can post their thoughts and you can interact with them by replying, which will generate a dialogue and perhaps build a relationship.
Guest Blogging: A very effective method to sustain a strong web platform is to reach out to peers in your industry and ask if you can write and publish an article on their blog. This will help get your name out there and stay out there since blogs have infinite longevity as an archive, which will remain searchable on the web for as long as the blog owner allows it to remain. With a guest post, you can advertise yourself. For example, you work in the mortgage industry and write an article for a finance guru’s blog. Following the title of your blog post, you can state who wrote it. If you are an independent agent or an advisor, use your name—written by John Doe. Or, if you are a company, tag it with your company name—written by Example, Inc. Now you are connected with another business’s blog, meaning followers of the blog you posted as a guest with will be exposed to your division of the industry. One more benefit: If you or your company name is searched, your guest blog post will be a part of the search result. This makes for a win-win situation for both you and the owner of the blog you posted with.
Social Media: Oh, boy. Here we go. Though sometimes known as ways to waste time (we’re all guilty of it), there are benefits and constructive ways to utilize popular social media websites. Social media, to me, is a means of outreach, to find people who work in or are interested in your line of business. One great and reasonably cost-effective way to build your audience is to utilize advertising features on a chosen social media site. I’ll use ourselves as an example. We manage a software development company and, at time, buy advertising on our preferred social medial site. We are offered methods to target our audience as most sites assist you in finding those most likely to click on your ad. In our case, We narrowed down our audience who are in Insurance and Financial industry as profession. Our recent campaign, and we are frugal, lasted a week and we wound up with forty-two new followers.
Now what do you do with those followers? You interact and keep them updated with your business by posting quick blurbs about what’s going on with your company. One great way to interact is to blurb about your favorite peers in your field, especially those who are following you on the site. Recently, other sites have published and written articles about one of our web portals and as a result we have had calls from Newspapers wanting to write article about us and our software web portals. Not too bad. And on the update side of things, be sure to post practical information with enthusiasm. “Today only! Visit our website and save 30% off our Gold package!” Either that, or be sure to make industry-related posts and save the “I just ate too much ice cream” posts for your personal social media playground.
Online Forums: There is a forum for everything from niche subjects like the history of the Jivaro of New Guinea’s head-shrinking practices to broader subjects like Insurance and Financial Advisor. Search your industry on the web followed by the word “forum.” You are bound to find dozens of web forums that discuss your area of interest. Join these forums and interact with others on certain topics. Post your own topics and see what kind of response you get. You will wind up meeting other users through private messaging and wind up with more members of your network. And it’s a good source to gather opinions or answer questions you might have on a certain industry-related topic.
Online Mega-Offerings: There are several options to promote your product or services through a third-party website. People would feel more comfortable if they are not under pressure of buying. Offer free consulting or free review of their financial and insurance portfolio. Why not offer a review and suggestion on what they need to do to retire early? It’s a great way to make sales and an opportunity to gather feedback from potential clients through your free offerings.
There you have it. My top five methods of building a web platform. Remember, a web platform is an ongoing thing, not temporary. If you blog, you must do it regularly. When there is a gap of a month or more between posts, visitors are going to consider it inactive. If you’re going to open a few social media accounts online, you will have to participate like everybody else and reach out to people. You will have to keep on top of providing updates. This can be a lot of work, but just a few minutes per day can really make an impact. The same applies to online forums—you must be active, post and initiate discussions.
Spend some time brainstorming your platform-building strategy based on my top five above and begin to make your presence known!