Personal Branding Online Can Make A Difference
Here’s something I overheard one of my inside salespeople say when we ran a call center:
“My prospect won’t even give me the time of day. If he knew more about me and my offering, I’m sure he would be willing to talk.”
The internet gives us an unprecedented opportunity to get out in front of our prospects in a big way.
But as sales reps, you have to show up before someone can ask you to dance.
Try this experiment on Google. Run a search of the name your customers know you by. For example, if your name is Robert Jones, but all of your customers call you Bob, search for Bob Jones.
Google will return 10 results on the first page. Look at the result and ask yourself, “Is this how I want my clients to see me online?” If you aren’t showing up, ask “Why not?”
In our coaching sessions, we tell sales reps that they typically have 5 to 7 seconds to get someone’s attention and make a good impression. In the last few years, attention spans seem to have gotten even shorter.
It’s the same when your prospects, customers, and clients search for you online.
SEO studies have shown that users rarely go beyond the first page returned. And of the 10 results on the first page, the top 3 get 80% of the clicks.
If someone is searching for your name online, you have to show up!
So take action now to manage your personal branding efforts and improve your online presence. Your prospects will have a better first impression after your first touch point.
I asked my director of technology for some ideas on using technology to improve personal branding online. Here are 6 quick ideas to improve your online appearance:
1. Determine Your Key Descriptive Words.
Keywords are terms that you want to show up for when someone searches for your services. They describe what you do and what your product does. And they help determine how you place in the search engine results pages when a prospect types them in. Start by determining the core theme of your expertise you bring to the table. Then select keywords that your customers use to describe the problems that you solve.
2. Include Your Name and Company Name In Your Keywords.
This is how you want to be known to your customers. As stated above, if your formal name is Robert Jones but you go by Bob, then you want to “show up” for Bob Jones. Remember, if you introduce yourself to someone in a sales call, in a face-to-face meeting, or on the phone, they will search for your name and company name online to determine your credibility. Make sure you are showing up.
3. Buy Your Own Domain.
Something that Google and Bing consider when pulling up relevant pages is the Internet name for your web page. For example, if someone searches for “Bob Jones”, Google considers a page with the name of www.bobjones.com/bobjones more relevant than www.aol.com/bobjones1245. If you want your prospects to find you easily, go to a hosting company, like Godaddy, and buy your name as a domain name. Not only is this relevant for Google and Bing searches, but it adds a level of credibility to your name.
4. Create Your Blog.
The search engines favor fresh content and a site with regular updates. A blog allows you to push new material onto the web regularly. Each post acts as a new page, giving you a new opportunity to rank for your keywords, your personal name, and your company name. Now, you don’t have to go the full technical route to create a blog. There are easier options using Google’s Blogger and WordPress.com that make starting your blog free and easy.
5. Write Posts for Your Clients.
You’ll have to go through a vetting process before one of the major resource sites will publish your material. However, your clients and customers will probably welcome timely and informative material to inform their readers. If you can speak eloquently about your product or services, then talk to your clients and determine if you can write a guest post for them.
The other idea you’ll want to consider is leaving comments on your prospects and clients blog. Always make your comments professional, positive, and complimentary. They will leave your client with a favorable impression.
6. Complete your Profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Google and Bing now look at the social networking sites. This means your profile is included in the search results if they include relevant information. So if you haven’t done so already, take some time to complete your social media profiles. Ensure that you use the name your customers uses. Include your keywords in your headline, summary, and your job descriptions. And include a professional looking headshot photo. In addition to searching for you online, your prospects will look for you on social media sites to learn more about you and what you are promoting.
So if you find your prospects aren’t giving you the time of day, take some time to update your online profiles and increase your personal branding campaign today.