Shelly is a public relations professional who works on her own, freelancing for clients and representing businesses whenever the need arises. Formerly an executive director at a popular PR firm, Shelly decided that it was time to strike out on her own and make her own decisions.
With decades of experience under her belt and
plenty of networking connections on her contact list, Shelly feels confident
that she’ll be able to drum up her own client roster fairly quickly.
This proves to be true. Soon enough, she finds herself with a full calendar of work and an overflowing email inbox. Business is booming!
But what Shelly notices is that if she does not
meet a potential client face to face first, her success rate diminishes. She
receives a few word of mouth referrals, but her new clients are few and far
between, even though she has some long term contracts that will hold her over.
Shelly scratches her head. What is she missing?
Here she is with a wealth of knowledge and expertise, a competitive service
portfolio, and excellent client reviews. What gives?
The underlying issue here is simply that Shelly is
an unknown to the majority of prospective clients. The reason for this is that
Shelly, being a solopreneur, did not set up a website or social media page for
herself. In her mind, since she is a one-woman show, this wasn’t necessary and
could even be perceived as gratuitous.
However, in today’s digital age it’s vital to have
a strong online presence, even for the smallest of businesses or for those who
are only comprised of one or two people. Accessibility and giving customers the
ability to find the business are two keys to success that Shelly is missing.
But why is this so important? What are the chances
that a random person searching for public relations representatives will
stumble upon Shelly’s website?
By ensuring proper SEO on her website, Shelly can slowly but surely move up the ranks of organic search engine results. This helps her gain referrals, collect emails for her mailing list, and maintain a strong presence online. After all, word of mouth marketing works well but is more limited than the options that digital marketing offers.
Shelly can also consider setting up profiles for her business on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. This enables her to prospect more efficiently for clients, allowing her digital presence to do the legwork for her by showing her posts to prospective clients.
Maintaining an online presence requires a bit of
work, but it’s far from gratuitous for a sole proprietor to do this. After all,
customers often want to see how others felt about their work with that company
or they want to see samples of past work.
Shelly can load her digital portfolio onto her
website and allow that to pull new customers in by showing her success.
As a general rule of thumb, maintaining an online presence in the form of a well-organized, search engine optimized website and a strong, well-curated social media page can elevate any business, large or small, when it comes to finding new customers and maintaining those relationships over time.