What happened to going out and shaking a few hands? What happened to a friendly exchange of your freshly printed business cards? Moreover, what happened to venturing out into the real world and helping market your business?
Whenever an individual finds success by applying a specific method, it seems that everyone jumps on the bandwagon. Furthermore, small business owners who are developing (or have already developed) an online presence, are jumping on e-trends faster than condo construction in Dubai. Since Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO) has been proclaimed as the mecca of traffic-hood, small business owners have been scurrying to optimize their websites. Truthfully, they remind me of Honda Civic owners trying desperately to turn their Japanese products into BMWs.
Now don’t get me wrong, Search Engine Optimization is vital when it comes to the online world – but is that the only sphere you wish to rest your business upon?
If I may borrow a lesson from SEO for a Torontonian second here. Finding your niche, and attaching keywords that will allow Search Engines to source your website faster, is similar to running a local business and going out into the community. Think of getting in touch with local professionals (or whichever type of clientele you are after) as having Google successfully add your website to its enormous directory. Not only will you establish personal and intimate relationships that stretch outside your Windows (no pun intended), but your business will pick up local steam and credibility.
Go out and contact journalists, get in touch with Non-Profit Organizations, with businessmen/women, schools, etc. Too many individuals are focused on tags, URLs, image scripts, and the likes, without understanding that you are essentially running a business. Not just an online venture – but a real, growing and developing business. Leaning solely on the online world for success or solely on the “real world” is a recipe for disaster. Learn to balance both, and you will see the results.
If its just an online business and you don’t have professional business cards – get some immediately. Go out and interact with people, and learn how and when to give them your card in order to create a lasting professional impression. Make flyers, hold seminars (and I don’t mean ones on Youtube) and get involved with “the real.” The internet has been great in opening up doors for otherwise excluded businessmen/women – but don’t for a second think that the world outside the internet doesn’t count for something. Just because Billy made a killing off those pay-per-click programs and seen an increase in traffic because of his RSS feeds, does not mean your business should not be known within social circles in your city.
Learn to balance the two worlds and you will receive the best of both.
Written By: Bp