Being visible requires ingredients
threw out an AMA (ask me anything) on Instagram this weekend and this question was one I haven’t been actively writing content for, so I thought I’d address it in today’s long read.
The specific question I was asked was “What top 3 start-up friendly / inexpensive tips to drive traffic and be more visible” and the question was asked by My Icon Story (genius idea, created by a wonderful lady, you should check her out). Which btw, is tip number 3, but I’ll get to that.
Driving traffic and being visible requires three ingredients, when you combine them you’re going to get a whole host of benefits. These include visibility and position in search rankings, talking points, a destination and credibility.
Tip 1 - Know thy audience
This is my biggest tip and it doesn’t matter where you’re at in your journey or what you’re trying to do with your business. Do you know who your audience, tribe, customers or clients are?
If you don’t, stop and check yourself (before you wreck yourself).
In all seriousness, this is something that costs you absolutely nothing, other than perhaps a cup of coffee and your time.
Doing research by its very nature scares the bejeebus out of a lot of people. So how about I share a little trick of the mind with you. It’s not research, it’s a conversation with a new friend.
To those of you reading this who’ve been at Found & Flourish events I’ve been to, every conversation I have with you is research, y’all give me TONS of ideas, thank you. Never, not learning.
My very easy 3 step recipe for this (which is covered in my free eBook) is thus:
- Write some questions
- Find some people
- Talk to them
You’re probably sat there thinking “that’s great but what do I ask them?” and I’m sure it might fill you with equally as much dread as getting a match on a dating app. How do you make the opening gambit?
What you should ask
here are four things you should defo ask them:
1. Where do you hangout online?
2. What was the last amazing product from an independent brand did you buy?
3. Where did you hear about it? Note you want to know if it was online or offline – i.e was it their son’s best friend’s mum who told you.
4. What made you decide to buy it?
The point of asking this of your tribe is because you want to know what their buying habits are. See what I did there. Sneaky tactics on my part, take the jargon out of everything and it becomes dead easy to understand. I might be the Cordon Bleu Chef of tech, but I teach more like I’m Nigella (actually Samin Noserat but you probably don’t know who she is).
So, before you do anything, go have a MINIMUM of 3 conversations with your tribe, but ideally 5. Don’t do any more than that as you won’t learn an awful lot more.
If you’re interested in learning more about one of my favourite subjects, customer research, I’m going to be launching a ton more content around this soon, including some in person masterclasses.
Tip 2 - If you build it, they will come
Now you know where your tribe hangout you need something to share with them. For the love of Dog do not run your business on social media without having anywhere to send them. Make me a pinky promise you won’t, please.
There is a sister piece to this step, and you’ll be able to find it over on Found & Flourish’s website very soon. It details all the steps you’ll need to get yourself set-up online.
For this piece, I’m going to say just one thing, three times…
Blog, blog, blog.
If you’re 6 months out from launching, or you’ve launched and aren’t getting much traction, get yo self a blog.
A blog is like a backpack. Often overlooked in fashion circles as being a bit ‘meh’. The thing is, a backpack, like a blog can be functional and stylish.
Mulberry created a backpack version of their Bayswater tote, got Cara Delvigne to promote it and named it the “Cara”.
Or you’ve got that backpack that looks dead stylish, fits your office gear, a change of clothes and all your travel bits. It’s super functional, practical and stylish.
Your blog, like a backpack is the same. Your blog is the place you share your thoughts, your ideas, how-to guides, news, comments and a ton of other things.
If you dedicated yourself to putting up 1 post a week, you’re generating new content which is GOLD. Why? Your posts will tell Google you’re a go getter, it will rank you consistently.
How to write SEO rich blog posts (simple version)
My top 5 tips for what you should think about in a blog post are:
- Break up the content with sub-headings
- Use short paragraphs
- Use simplified language – there’s a whole other post on language coming soon, it’s my Mastermind subject
- Link, Link, Link… link to other content in your blog or website and wherever possible link to other sites
- Use photos you’ve taken yourself, and add alt tags (little bits of data that describe what’s happening in the picture).
What to write
How do you know what to write about? Well, remember those five conversations you’ve just had with your tribe, you’ve got a big fat seam of information from them. Go back over your notes and think about what one of those five people would LOVE to hear about. That’s who you’re writing a blog post for.
If you’re still struggling for ideas about what to blog about here’s three ideas to get you going:
- Behind the scenes – where are you doing each week? What are the highs or lows?
- How did you solve a particular problem in your business that might help others?
- How do you do what you do?
The point here is, humans are nosey buggers. We’re curious and our curiosity is what causes us to stop and read the comments under an instagram post or take the time to read someone’s blog. Thank you for being curious and reading this.
I am in the middle of writing “the anatomy of a blog post” for you, so I’ll share a lot more info on what makes an awesome blog post.
Tip 3 - Show up and be present
This is a double edged sword.
Don’t for one minute think you’re going to be able to create your website and think it’s “done”. You need to show up regularly and maintain it. You wouldn’t buy a house, stick your stuff in it and then never do any housework to maintain it. Your website is the same thing.
Consistency creates visibility. (FYI this is totes a tweetable hashtag moment)
Consistently post new content or update products. Consistently respond to comments.
This isn’t the end of the story, though. You’re going to need to show up in person too. When you’re starting out this is vital.
Now, as you’ve done step 1, you’ll know where your tribe hangs out. I’m not going to throw suggestions at you because your tribe is going to give you the answer.
I’m not going to tell you what to say, because you’ve been doing step 2 and you know dang well what you can talk about.
At this point, I’m going to borrow from Marie Forleo, and say people don’t buy what you do, they buy who you are and why you’re doing it. If you’ve seen me in person, I get stupidly passionate when I’m talking. My arms wave about and I get really bouncy.
In person, I can sell ice to an eskimo, on here, I struggle to sell an ice-cube to a bartender.
If you sell products, go along to events where your tribe go to and sell there, get a mate to come with you and film you while you’re talking to someone who’s walked up to your stand.
People want to see your passion.
Personally I’d rather see the person who makes and sells their product, than the influencer who has over a million followers. They didn’t sweat blood & tears to create the thing, you did, I want to see YOU.
If you sell services, people are literally buying you. You are gonna have to put yourself out there.
So get yourself to events and start talking to people. Be visible. Go to events, brunches, gatherings where you tribe will be and talk with people.
If you’re an introvert, you’ve read all this and think “yeah right, easy for you to say”. Oddly, yeah it is, because I’m an introvert.
I would much rather book an event where I can stand up in front of a room full of strangers, and talk to them. Why? Well, it means I’ve got something to talk about with them before and after.
Don’t get me wrong, the first time I presented anything I’d done as an “expert” I was BRICKING it. Oh, and that was just presenting the work I’d done to a client, that was more nerve wracking than standing up and talking at a conference.
Which I’m doing for the 5th time in October, and they asked me to be day 1 Keynote speaker, and I’m SO excited.
The thing is, I’m normally so focused on trying to remember what I’m going to say, that I forget there’s an audience.
Tricked you, slightly
There’s really only one thing that will get you visibility online fast.
Word of Mouth.
You want your brand on the lips of others. What you want is to create a 30 minute moment. If you’d like to know what a 30 minute moment is, I’ve written about it, so you can have a read.
Research tells you who is the best kind of person to share your story and where they need to hear about it to do so.
Your website is the destination where they can go to find out the exact details and buy your thing.
Showing up and being visible is how you start those conversations.
You’ll naturally tell everyone that you have a website and what the address is (or how to find you in Google).
Visitors arriving at your site by going direct to your address or searching for you in Google is called organic traffic. When someone comes to your site from Google this way it’s called a “Click Through Rate” or “CTR”, the better your organic CTR the better it helps your rank.
I’ll say it again, Consistency creates visibility.
Whether that’s adding or refining content on your website or adding content to social media consistency will be what gets you seen online, it will get you into the search results, and pushed higher up.
Which brings me back to...
Remember I said right at the start that I gave you tip 3?
Laura from My Icon Story sat in front of me at a Found & Flourish event on Friday, she stood up and said she wanted to generate visibility, so was asking for your stories. She’s also offering something amazing in return, she’ll create you your own online icon story.
Lara, the founder of Found & Flourish, shared my response to her AMA on Instagram which led Laura to my stories to ask me this question.
So what’s happened now is that I’m sat here writing a blog post offering advice, I’m talking about two women with amazing businesses. Their links are now on a website that’s not their own.
This is visibility, this will help all three of us with our online ranking.
I haven’t mentioned advertising on here. The reason why I haven’t is because in order for you to get real traction with any kind of online advertising you’ve got to have money to throw at it.
Now that money can take the form of your time, learning how to do it well and investing in creating a great campaign to put out there.
Or it could take the form of the amount of money you’d need to spend to get it in front of your tribe.
Don’t think for one minute that your tribe is likely to buy something from an advert the first time they see it. Depending on the type of product, whether it’s been heard of before and how much it costs to buy, but, you’re looking at least 5 – 7 impressions per person.
If you’re starting out
If you’re starting out, and you don’t have funding, advertising is one of the most expensive ways to get visibility, and it’s not guaranteed to make you any sales.
The cheapest place you’ll be able to do it is Social Media, and the tide of sentiment towards this is shifting. Personally? I’d say spend your precious budget on going to events to learn new things & meet people as it’s got a much better longterm return on investment.
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