It is classic marketing advice that people have to hear about you somewhere between 5 and 12 times before they’ll actually take action on your product. In the past, that meant that you had to pay to have your commercial on TV enough to ensure that your prospects would see it a dozen times, or that your salespeople had to contact people a dozen times.
The internet has improved things. Now, that dozen points of contact can include multiple visits to your website, repeated emails, or just seeing you around on the web.
How can you get general visibility on the web?
- Your website is the most important thing here. Have a good website that says what you want to say about your company. Make it nice enough that people will want to link to you, and you’ll get additional visibility with no further effort. Also make sure that you’re listed in the directories your customers and prospects are likely to use.
- Have a blog. Send your blog to other locations on the web, too — it’s easy to make your feed go to Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, but you can also post your relevant posts on community boards of various kinds. If this is a strength of yours, do guest blog posts. I got my first big SEO job from someone who read a guest post of mine and left a “call me” in the comments.
- Use social media. There’s a fantastic array of social media sites out there, and you won’t be able to keep up with all of them, so choose a few that you like and find convenient. Make profiles all over the place, though, with links to your website. Do a good job on your profile and then you can ignore that site. What you want to avoid is the occasional dropping in. Posting every few months is less effective than not posting at all, since it makes you look like a slacker.
- Engage in conversations. Find the forums in your niche, read them, and say something when you have something to contribute to the conversation. The Wall Street Journal wrote about me last year, after having seen something I wrote at a forum. They’re not going to call you if you say, “Great post! Keep it up!” but if you make a useful contribution to the discussion, you never know who might see it.
- Share your knowledge. There are a lot of places online that rely on user-generated content. Sharing what you know at such places shows your authority. So, if you have a bicycle repair shop, you can answer questions about bicycle repair at Yahoo! Answers, and show that you know what you’re doing. I review things at Amazon.com, myself. I’ve gotten jobs from people who’ve read my reviews. I’ve also had calls from manufacturers asking if they can use my reviews in their promotional materials, which is an opportunity for me to let them know that I can write other things for them if they ever need it. Since I’m a writer, any review will show my writing ability, but you can review things in your particular niche and thereby show your expertise in your own area. Squidoo lenses, hub pages, and YouTube are other great options.
Get in the habit of doing a little visibility-building when you need a break, and you’ll see results over time. Or of course you can hire someone like me to do this for your company if this isn’t one of your strengths.