3 Tips for Building Awareness & Getting Your Website on Track

by Sherryl Perry on July 22, 2010

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Ok… you’ve “opened the virtual doors” to your business/blog by telling your friends, family and anyone else who would listen. So what now? (Maybe you’re seeing flashbacks of Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams”… “if you build it, he will come”.) As reality sets in, and you’re not seeing an increase in the number of visitors (or commenters) or more importantly you’re not seeing the results that you’re looking for (sales, email addresses, attention…), you may start asking yourself what next? Well, there are lots of things you can do like using the Google Webmaster tools, submitting your URL to directories, commenting on blogs and optimizing for search engines but…

Let’s just get back to the basics here…

1) Who are you?

Do people know who you are? Are they aware of your website/blog? Are they getting to recognize and trust you? When you leave comments on blogs (like this one) do you have a globally recognized Gravatar so that we see you (either your picture or logo) and not the default, generic grey icon? When you send emails, are you using an email address with your domain name?  Does your signature line in your emails give your contact information, the URL to your website (including “http://” to make it clickable!) and info like your Twitter name?

2) Are you where your customers are?

I’m sure you already know who your niche target customer is. Do you know what social networks they hang out on? Are they business people looking to network online? If so, you may want to join me on LinkedIn. If your demographic is a younger crowd, you may want to build an online presence on MySpace. And can you really go wrong with Facebook? I just heard on the news that they reached 500-million members this week. (Although, I wonder if my target customer were a nuclear scientist if that would be the best place to network with them. – Maybe, maybe not.)

3) Are you building your brand?

In tip #1, I mentioned creating a globally recognized avatar using Gravatar. I also recommended using an email address from your website domain. In tip #2, I talked about creating a presence on social networking sites where your niche target customers are. It’s equally important to create a recognizable and meaningful user nameand consistently use it whenever you participate. This user ID should be the same one that you register your Gravatar with. (I’m associated with the user ID “KeepUpWeb”.)

As a general rule of thumb, I recommend registering your user name on as many social networking sites as possible. Granted, you can’t maintain them all but you do want to ensure that no one else registers your user name. You need to protect your brand. After you’ve registered your user name, pick 2 or 3 social networking sites (or  whatever number you can feasibly manage) and build an online presence there.

Bottom line, are you doing all you can to build awareness? Are you establishing yourself/your business as a brand? Does your niche target customer know who you are, what you have to say (or sell) and how to find you?

I’m sure that many of you who are reading this have experiences to share. Who is your target customer and how are you reaching them online? What words of advice do you have to share?

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John Knights June 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Basic set ups are very important because claims your internet identity for people to know you and to know that it’s really you. Unless you an internet Identity it would be hard to build trust to the people you know in the internet.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm

John, I am still amazed over the number of people who comment on blogs and don’t have a Gravatar set up. Part of everyone’s personal branding should be to include a profile pic whenever they comment. To me, it’s one of the top basics.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Low Cost Resources Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Can AccessMy Profile

John Knights June 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

It’s still been weeks since I started using my gravatar. I was very happy when I started seeing my pictures every time I do my comments.

Christian Paulsen October 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Hi Sherryl,

Thanks for going back to the basics here. I’m starting a new business and you provide plenty to consider.

Chris
Christian Paulsen recently posted..John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of LeadershipMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
October 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Thanks Chris. Whether you’re launching a new business or growing an existing one, I think it always comes down to these 3 basic questions:

Who am I? Who’s my Customer? What am I doing to build my brand?

Steve Balliett August 26, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Hi Sherryl,
Speaking of “opening virtual doors”, just thought I’d pass this one forward to you. This program could be a big help to other internet marketers out there. It’s called Google Sniper. And it addresses a lot of the key SEO issues and how to capitalize on them. Plus it also utilizes Wordpress because of how well Google loves it. This could provide a big boost to those who may have been struggling in the past and how to proceed forward in their marketing. Lots of excellent videos and pdf manual make for easy reading and viewing. Please pass this along so others can take advantage of a great informational product.
Thank you, Sherryl, and have a great day!
Steve Balliett

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Steve, I am so sorry that I missed the comment you left for me back in August. There’s absolutely no excuse for this. I make every effort to reply to every comment that is left for me. Somehow, yours totally eluded me. I had never heard of Google Sniper before.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Low Cost Resources Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Can AccessMy Profile

Naomi July 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I loved this article. We have already started implementing some of your ideas on his website.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 30, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Naomi, I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I checked out your website and it’s got a nice clean look to it. You really need to add alt-tags to your pictures. Right now, it looks like they all say “picture” (when someone moves their cursor over it). Each picture should have a meaningful title. Also, you desperately need more content. Send an email to sherryl @ keepupwiththeweb.com if you’d like a few (free) tips and suggestions.

Paul Novak July 29, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Great job refreshing the basics for the old hands and setting them out for those who are new. Just as your post makes clear, it is critical that you not only brand and network, but that you do so relevantly and choose your targets. Posts like these help a lot to keep me grounded. I have a bad habit of going off on tangents every time I find something else to try, and it reminds to not neglect what works.
Paul Novak recently posted..Automated BookmarkingMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I have the same bad habit of going off on tangents. Lots of “tangents” pay off though. I clicked on the link to your “Automated Bookmarking” article and am very glad I did. (Of course, I added 2 tasks to my “to-do” list because I read your article.) I now am going to try out IMAutomator and look into Susan’s suggestion of checking out BizSugar.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I understand that what seems simple to me may be challenging to a non-techie but Gravatar is basically associating your email address to your picture. I try to use screenshots for illustrations when I can but at the same time, I want to keep my posts relatively short and easy to read. Anytime you (or anyone else) need an extra hand, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email at…. sherryl @ keepupwiththeweb.com.

Glad you dropped by and I hope this is the first of many visits here!

gwen July 27, 2010 at 3:25 pm

This is my first time here. This article is great. The problem I seem to have is reading about needing to do something, like creating a Gravatar, then spending a couple of hours trying to figure out how to do it then running into some other thing I have to figure out how to do. I’m not complaining. I’ve learned a lot and I’ll keep reading and learning, just need to remember this is not a get rich scheme but a job. Thanks for your help.

Brandon Thrasher July 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

What a great article! You certainly hit the nail on head. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come, you still need to put in work!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Glad you like my article! Agreed… you have to work at it and also measure what is happening so that you know what needs improvement and what you should leave alone.

Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Thank you, Sherryl for the great advice and thank you Heather for tweeting this info.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Thanks for the feedback Dennis. I checked out your website and your illustrations are amazing!

Julia M Lindsey July 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

Great tips. I finally got went to gravatar to get my Avatar. I have trouble remembering names on the web and their avatar always helped me remember them.
It is also important to use the same name. Don’t use your first name on one site and your first and last name on the other.

One additional tip is to comment on as many blogs as you can. People will begin to recognize you and will start to go to your site. Also Google picks up your comments and it helps your SEO.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

Good to see faces with the names here! I definitely agree that commenting on blogs helps both build awareness and your SEO. It can take a good chunk of time from your day. How do you decide which blogs to comment on?

Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 7:36 am

Agree with what you say Sherryl.

My target group are business people. Now when Linkedin changed the format for discussions in group I noticed that I lost readers. So I started posting discussions on ASMALLWORLD and Internations instead and that has worked out very well.

Do wish Linkedin would go back to a discussion format similar to the old one however. The new format has resulted in people selling their services/products completely taking over and there are very few discussions nowadays.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 10:53 am

How did you decide on which new discussions to follow? Were you able to track where some of your original readers went after the changes?

Susan Oakes
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 3:20 am

Hi Sherry,

Good advice and one thing I learnt many years ago in marketing is that you will become bored with your marketing campaigns, branding etc long before many of your customers have ever heard or connected with you.

It is tempting to change things but make sure there is a vaild reason first.
Susan Oakes recently posted..You Lose If You Are a Copycat With Your MarketingMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 10:51 am

That is so true about us getting bored with our own marketing efforts! I remember years ago being advised not to bother running a print ad unless I committed to running it a minimum of 3 times. I wonder what the advice is now about changing your profile pic for your Gravatar. I’m starting to get a little tired of mine already! (probably not a valid reason to change it)

Heather Fonseca
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 1:17 am

Oh my gosh now I’ve got to go check out that gravatar thing! Thanks for the great tip.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

Looking forward to seeing your smiling face!

Heather Fonseca
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

It’s weird that my newest blog post isn’t popping up in commentluv. I wonder if signing up for the gravatar thingy messed it up?

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Sometimes, the Internet seems to need a few moments to settle down. 🙂 (Much nicer seeing you rather than that generic grey icon now!)

Stacey N. July 26, 2010 at 12:05 am

OK Sherryl – after seeing that dull grey image appear in my comment, I immediately went over to Gravatar and set my image. I probably wouldn’t have done this if I hadn’t read this post. So…thanks!!

Stacey N. July 25, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Great “back to basics” advice! I think people get frustrated (I am definitely guilty of this) when things don’t seem to happen fast enough. You feel like you’re doing all the right things but everything is moving slower than you’d like. Building a brand takes time. It won’t just happen overnight. I think if you stick with it, the results will come.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 26, 2010 at 10:44 am

It does take time to build a brand. I think consistency is the key and little things like having a recognizable avatar does make a difference. Glad to see this post motivated you to get one! I like it. 🙂

Tia July 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm

#2 is a great one and I don’t think it’s very easy to figure out. We can generalize, but we have to remember that not every wants our stuff. I think that’s the most difficult thing for companies to realize. They find out soon enough, though, with social media. It’s a great way to gauge interest and test reach.

Probably one of the biggest mistakes I see companies make online is underestimating their reach. They feel like the whole Internet is at their feet. It’s not true. I saw a great marketing metric today to measure reach: multiply your following by the average followings of your followers. When people do that, they’ll have a MUCH better idea of how many people they are actually reaching with their networks.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Tia, Once again you’re “on the same page” as me when you mention measuring your reach. Tip #4 was going to be something on the line of “what gets measured gets done” (now, it will be a future article). I was going to talk about measuring the basics. I wasn’t even thinking about market reach.

Great point! Thanks for bringing it up here.

Julie Weishaar
Twitter:
July 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Great article Sherryl. You break it all down to the three most important basic questions/areas small business owners need to concentrate on. I also like to break it down further in another way by asking two simple questions: 1) who are you? and 2) Why should I care?.

Thanks for sharing your insights 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 23, 2010 at 8:38 am

“Why should I care?” – Great point Julie. A marketing guru once told me that our potential clients listen to the station WIIFM (“What’s in it for me”) and that we need to be tuned in and communicating with that in mind. Thanks for the post.

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