If you are building an audience for either business or e-commerce purposes, it’s time to start storing the nuts for winter. No matter how switched on you are you’ll never really know what is around the corner for the web, or indeed for “external factors” that may have an impact on the number of visitors you receive to your website. Things like Google, your search engine position and negative PR. There’s never been a better time to start future proofing your site.
So what can you do?
1). Engage and Build contacts
Engage, Engage Engage. The social web is here to stay. I’ve said it before, but people make the world go round, not technology. The secret is to leverage the technology to achieve real world social engagement.
Ask any sales professional how they get new business, and nine times out of ten they will say through word of mouth referrals. Treat your blog and online presence in the same way. How can you encourage people to talk about you? And about your website / services?
2). Build personal brand
Related to the above is personal branding. Disclaimer. I’ve only just started to come out of my shell regarding this. Ordinarily I’m a bit of a shrinking violet, and you’d be hard pushed to find a photo of me online. This is definitely a work in progress with me.
It’s no accident that if you think of the major blogs you frequent, and enjoy, you’ll be able to picture them in your head. Us humanoids are great at remembering faces, and that’s worth remembering. 2009 will be the year of video. Video blogs are going to grow more and more in popularity as time goes by. I for one plan on getting in on that action sometime this year.
3). Build Subscribers
Subscribers are your most valuable asset.*Hugs* for you guys who are reading this via our RSS feed. *Hugs* for you that are just reading. They are the people that have gone the extra mile for you, the ones that are engaging with you, and the ones that have earned your trust. They are the ones that will still be there when you get thrown out of Google, the ones that will keep coming back because you give them content they enjoy.
4). Use your blog as a loudhailer
Blogging is a great way of reaching people who you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to connect with. The internet allows the tiny man to stand alongside the corporations – it’s easy to out maneuver a larger player in the market (in the SERPS) by providing more and better content. If you have a particular problem with a product or service, such as 1and1 internet it will potentially reach the masses, and get picked up by other bloggers.
The potential for this has much more weight than an old fashioned letter of complaint, which ordinarily gets filed in a drawer and forgotten about. Blogging can force corporates to listen – especially if you steal their thunder in the search engines.. On the other side of the coin – if someone has a gripe against you, and talks about your brand in a negative way, address it via your blog – and make your visitors / customers aware of the debate.
5). Get live and on the scene
Get Live with Twitter. Marketing in 2009 is all about live social connections. You shouldn’t underestimate the power of crowds. Mashable put something quite tasty recently showing real world uses of Twitter. Well worth a read as it shows that its not just something geeks waste their time on.
Smart site owners today are engaging with site visitors live via Twitter in real time – its easy to see when someone posts a link to your site using an ego or brand search, and thanking and engaging with people as they do so only serves to reinforce your brand. I make a habit of saying cheers to anyone who posts content from this site, and using Twitter for marketing. you should too. Twiturly is a great service for seeing who posts what and when. Understanding what interests your visitors is a great way of generating content ideas.