There are a number of ways to grow a website’s traffic organically. But if you look a bit further at how the web is evolving now, you’ll know that you have to go a bit further to market your site, and indeed yourself online. Social media has introduced an additional avenue for business growth, and open the doors to the little guy and one of the easiest ways to increase repeat visitors back to your site is to “be seen to be seen”. This post takes a look at some of the ways you can improve your brand recognition and equity online to achieve that.
Being a super commenter.
How many blog post do you read in an average week? I have no idea how many I read myself, but I made a conscious effort to try and comment on as many that I read a while ago. With blog interaction rates being as low as 4% for some major sites – I’d say that was a missed opportunity by all of us to market your site on a weekly basis. For posts that go viral, and are receiving a steady flow of traffic – its even more important to be a part to the conversation. I wrote a post a while back on how to find the buzz that is happening around the web , and you can certainly use some of the tools listed there to tap into what is happening and get involved.
It isn’t all about quantity either – quality comments are much more likely to get you noticed. A paragraph of well written insightful opinion, when compared to two lines of useless back patting; well – you know which commenter gets the click through to their website. Matt agrees. Low brow self serving comments do you more harm than good in my opinion.
In addition to that, tools like Google sidewiki, and searchwiki are begging to be utilised. So far adoption seems relatively low. I’m guessing not many of you take the time to add content to that service, mainly because at present there is no obvious value in doing so; but what if google decides to integrate your Google profile elsewhere? What if they decide to create a rank of top sidewiki users? What effect would that have on your brand?
The secret with growing your online brand in many cases, is continuing to second guess what may happen online, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the major online authorities are already ten steps ahead of you.
Consistancy is important online, that means your company graphics, and your message. If you are leaving loads of comments on blogs, you stand a much better chance of being noticed if you maintain your brand consistency. For example – simple steps such as using the same avatar, and not changing it every five minutes can help immensely. It has been proven that people remember faces over other types of imagery, so I’d recommend going down that route particularly for personal brand building. Using the same brand image on multiple services can also help to improve brand recognition. Got your logo in your RSS feed? Good – glad to hear it.
Did you know for example that you can easily brand your youtube channel? And the same for your Facebook page? Both those services offer massive opportunities to talk to an audience, and provided your online image remains consistent, people start to notice you.
Take a look at the major web personalities online, and they all have one thing in common – they promote themselves EVERYWHERE, all the time. A new service comes out, and they are the first ones jumping on it, writing about it, and being seen by a whole new audience. At worst, they are talking to a folk that are techhead early adopters – and probably setting themselves up with a social media profile backlink – at best, they are carving out social equity for themselves to further capitalise upon.
Yes its hard work, and a difficult balance to not end up spreading yourself too thin, with multiple services – but its one that can pay off dividends. If you are wondering if there’s a formula for what next service will be successful online, and what service is worth joining – common sense prevails:
1) Does it facilitate new relationships
2) Can you sign up for it easily
3) Is the platform open (i.e. does it have an API for third party tool adoption)
That’s a very generalised viewpoint of what will make it online, and what wont, but if you applied it to what has happened online before, it certainly stands true.
So how do you measure it?
Lots of business owners compare their success online with how many visitors they have. In this age of social media, the new measure of website success is how engaged your visitors are, and brand ambassadors and fans of your business who will spread your content and recommend your product offering are inherently more value than *just* visitor numbers.
Blog interaction and Net Promoter scores should be the metric we are all looking at, not plain jane unique visits and subscriber numbers. How many of your customers actually care enough about you to recommend your brand to others?
If you can work out how to improve your service, by continually striving to be the best, by actually caring enough to ask – that’s how you win friends and influence people online. It’s especially important if you are a little guy in a sea of content. (like me). Really great brands listen, respond and react and continuing to do that to will improve your site engagement, and the reach of your brand.
Many businesses continue to operate under the assumption that just putting a website online, will result in spectacular profits and / or traffic from Google. The reality is far from the truth, and many businesses struggle at the promotional and brand building aspect of running an online business.
So how do you improve your own brand recognition?