With so many people working remotely right now, there has never been a more important time to have an online presence. Think about it, everyone is at home and searching online, so if you don’t have a presence, how will your prospects find you? We have always stressed how vitally important your online footprint is to your networking and business development, so while you have the time, start growing your online presence now to benefit you later.
Why you need to make the most of your time now
Two things are extremely common:
- Every lawyer, accountant, and consultant is looking to save time doing business development, and;
- Actually finding and making the time to grow their own client portfolio is one of the biggest challenges for potential partners (partly because they don’t use online methods).
With these in mind, it makes complete sense to start growing your online presence now because inevitably, you won’t get time when everything is up and running later. When you’re back to work, winning new clients will be back to being a priority which, surprise surprise, you can do quickly if you have a strong online footprint in your arsenal. In a time of such uncertainty, the best way to navigate the anxiety is to focus on the things that you can control. That’s why it’s the perfect time to grow your online presence now as your future self will thank you later.
5 ways your online footprint helps you sign up the right clients quicker
1) Helps you get introductions from your network
Put simply, your online footprint is evidence of your credibility. If you have a LinkedIn profile or any published blogs or articles, this gives your network somewhere to point new introductions to and therefore makes them far more likely to have a positive result. 91% of marketing executives list LinkedIn as the top place to find quality content, so having a presence and producing content has never been so important. If you start growing your online presence now so that you have a strong professional brand online, when everything is starting to get back to normal again in the next few weeks and months, you’ll find it far easier to turn on that tap of referrals and this will shorten the business development process to help you get your foot in the door more often. How? Because potential clients will immediately see you as professional and credible and will be far more likely to engage with you. (If you would like some FREE templates to help you build a great LinkedIn professional headline and summary, see here).
2) Helps to differentiate yourself
It’s crazy that only 51% of small businesses have a website, especially when 97% of consumers are searching for products and services online. That’s why it’s essential that you have a website that is easily navigable where you produce consistent content of a high-quality to differentiate from your competition. Pair this with a strong social media presence and professional online brand and you’ll really stand out from the rest. Many professionals try to be all things to all people but a Jack-of-all-trades is a master of none. Who do you think your prospects are going to go for, someone who does a little bit of a few things or the person who is an expert at the one thing that they want? If you are trying to claim multiple specialities or sector expertise in your online footprint, this starts to dilute your credibility. While you may be constrained by your firm’s website and marketing protocols, what quality consistent content have you got which you are freely providing to help bring your prospects back time and time again? By producing regular and useful content, you are ensuring that you stay front of mind when prospects are ready to buy so that they ring you first. Read:
- How to create content which will continuously bring you in new business
- 6 tips to make the time to produce valuable content
3) Helps you to get the foot in the door and keep it there
Some opportunities can depend on your online presence. For example, big businesses, who use tendering as a way of picking suppliers, will want to see a website and use it to check out your credibility, so if you don’t have one, you will be automatically ruled out as a prospect. As for the rest, 71% of Business-to-Business (B2B) researchers start their research with a generic search. This is why it is so essential to make an effort to grow your online presence now while you have the time as it will allow new prospects to find you as well as giving your existing clients somewhere to point potential referrals to. Not only does this keep a foot in the door with existing clients, but having all your ducks in a row means you’re more likely to win new clients too.
4) Helps the phone ring without you having to chase down every opportunity
With how the technological world works today, it is very likely that any prospect that contacts you has already done a lot of research before they’ve called you. In fact, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases, so if they are contacting you, it is very likely that they want to buy from you. This will be largely down to the fact that they would have checked out your credibility first by looking you up online. If you take the time to build your online presence, it is always there in the background, hopefully generating organic leads for you (if you’ve done it right). In fact, you can take this one step further. You can use the content you provide to educate your prospects about what they can expect from you, and what work they can do to shorten the business development cycle with you. For example, can you provide them with a document (e.g. if you are an accountant on ‘how to change your accountant’), which shows them the information they will need to provide to their new supplier and the questions they will be asked in the process? What have you got in your online footprint which allows your prospects to evaluate your credibility?
5) Allows you to attract the kind of clients you want
If you spend the time now devising the right content plan for your social media – one which focuses on the problems of your ideal clients which you provide solutions to – you could completely eliminate the wrong types of leads from contacting you (i.e. the ones which take time to qualify and never go anywhere). Imagine creating a content plan and social media plan that ties into your overall business development strategy. This means that each new blog post that you write could potentially generate a significant amount of leads, leads which generally turn into good business. When you look at your online presence, be very specific. What clients do you want to work with? What problems do you need to address in your content to prompt them to pick up the phone to you? Only when you’re clear about who you want to work with can you be effective in your marketing. Don’t be a Jack of all trades here, all he’s doing is attracting the wrong type of leads that waste his time to qualify and progress them through the sales process.
Start investing the time now so you can quickly win clients later
You may not want to work to grow your online presence or build your online profile, but if you want to save time on your business development, this is a great way to do just that! Any investment you make in your online footprint now can help the phone ring a lot more later, so use these 5 ways to grow your online presence and differentiate yourself from your competitors. As we said, your future self will thank you for it!