Seven ways to grow your business and personal brand online
- Target and focus on your audience
Understand that in the online business, you cannot serve everybody. I always tell my clients the easier way to serve everybody (if possible) is to serve a specific audience. By focusing on a specific market audience, anybody who needs help in that area can easily refer to you.
In promoting your business or idea online, be very clear on who your audience are then develop unique, valuable content that addresses their needs.
- Sustaining conversation and engagement.
It’s all about your audience and very little about you. To prosper in the online space, always have the other person in mind. Whether you are writing or speaking, it’s a conversation between you and someone on the other end. So keep the conversation engaging.
Many persons especially starters usually make the mistake of thinking they are talking to a group of persons or a crowd. No. You are talking to just one person at a time. A million persons may go through your content, but they are usually at their separate space and basically interested in themselves and what they stand to gain. So talk to ‘me’ not ‘us’.
Fill your content with the pronoun ‘you’ and ‘your’, it helps you direct your message to that exact person reading through.
Another way to maintain conversation and engagement is by asking relevant questions throughout and at the end of your content. I forget to do this many times, but anytime I remember, it works like magic. Don’t you sometimes nod your head while going through some content online, whether in agreement or disagreement? Sometimes the questions can even be rhetoric, but it serve its purpose, and that is keeping your audience engage in the conversation.
- Be genuine and willing to help
You can’t fool anybody. People know when you just want to ride on them, and they stay away. There is something of value you know, be willing to help. It is the easiest way to build credibility and trust – a major and required criteria if you must sustain your progress online.
There are a lot of counterfeit and fakes out there. When you offer anything of value, people appreciate you. As John Obidi would say; “Your free content is your auditioning”. It does not only present you as valuable, it also position you as an expert in your industry. And it’s easy for people to want to work with an expert. Give out valuable, original tips. Be interested in helping your audience.
- Running sponsored ad
Not many online experts will tell you this. Digital advertisement is paramount in making progress online.
Set aside a budget, no matter how little for your online campaign. Learn how to target your ad appropriately by understanding its goal. Is it to generate lead, to drive traffic or to sell?
So long as you have the good stuff, unique, original and valuable content, you will get result. Be real, be helpful, build credibility, keep adding value, keep showing up and showing how you can help your audience lives or businesses better. One way to do this is knowing what their problems and challenges are.
Do your research, pay attention to their questions, take careful note of their concerns and not assume anything about them unless they say so. Put your data together and run your ad accordingly.
But here is the most interesting part; content marketing is the most effective way to advertise your business online, one that continues to pay you for a long time. Keep developing and publishing great content.
- Reach out to new communities
The online space is broad. And there is so much you can do. For bloggers like us, optimize your content, use strategic keywords that help your site pops up on search engines. I have made many connections from people who searched and find our content online. It’s one thing I love about content marketing, a piece of content you develop today can forever drive traffic to your website.
Social media platforms are other places to broaden your network and reach out to new communities. For instance, Facebook has beautiful communities you could learn from, add value to and expand your network. I will always recommend the Headstart Africa Community, Online Publishers and Entrepreneurship Network (OPEN), BEWA and a host of others. Join these communities, engage with them and expand your network.
LinkedIn is another very beautiful platform to expand your network. Some of my most valuable connections are from LinkedIn.
- Show proof of your previous work.
You can never be wrong by talking about a good job you did. The internet needs proof and your previous work is the easiest proof you can give. Don’t be afraid or too ‘humble’ to talk about your previous job.
You have done an excellent job and gotten result in the past, talk about it. There is no shyness on the internet, if you want to do well. You have the good stuff, spread it. Sometimes, what your next client may need to contact you for that business deal is a testimonial from your previous client. Be free, be bold and confident.
For starters, who may not have garnered experiences, volunteer and offer your services for free.
I got my first writing gig for my state government through a free job I did for an organization, a documentary script. When the opening from the government came, they recommended me. And the same free job I did become my CV for the government offer.
Dear Startup Entrepreneur, go out and do something, even if it’s for free. But more importantly, put your heart to your job. Let your good work speak for you.
- Update yourself and business
We are in an ever changing world. Today, the internet makes the changes even faster. You have got to brace up and be quick at updating yourself.
Few days ago, I saw a reminder from Facebook on a design I made a year ago, I couldn’t believe I designed that, very basic principles of design that I didn’t even know. One reason for my improvement has been consistency. But another very important reason has been my knowledge and access to new tools.
Sometimes, you will have to do a lot of work to search out what is new, other times, you will pay and make an investment. Whatever you do, keep updating yourself, your business and your work. But first, put yourself out and start doing stuff. Starting and consistency is what help you become an expert.
Online Business Consultant
Content Strategist, Author
Missed our previous post on “How to think quickly as an entrepreneur”, catch it right here.