Many consultants have discovered that establishing an online presence is relatively quick and affordable. Getting started is easy. Unless you’re already a known commodity, differentiating yourself from everyone else is not.
Still, whether you’re a consultant, coach or other small business owner there are several ways to build your presence and gain credibility online. Here are six ways to get started.
1. Create a sig or signature file and include it in ALL your email correspondence. A sig file is simply a few lines below your name that tell people a little something about your and/or your business. Remember that, sig lines that read like full-blown ads turn off most people. I’m talking about 10-line signatures that include everything about you, right down to an endorsement from your mother. Try to keep yours at three to six lines.
2. Write articles and offering them for *free* publication. Publishers are always looking for content for their websites, newsletters, etc. the stipulation for reprinting your work is that the publisher has to include your bio, with contact information at the end.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that publishers are so desperate that anything you write will be published. Work at your writing to make it the best it can be. Here are a few places where you can post your work.
3. Promote yourself by giving Teleclasses in your area of expertise, i.e. Creating Financial Freedom, Selling Yourself Online, Writing for the Web, etc. Teleclasses are classes conducted over the phone: the instructor and the students each call into a telephone bridge line.
You can list your classes and get a bridge line through Teleclass www.teleclass.com. As an instructor, you will meet people from all over the country. You may even be able to convert some of your Free students into paying clients.
4. Showcase your expertise by becoming an expert on another site. Preferably one with credibility and good traffic. Experts may do anything from answering questions from site visitors (generally a certain number each month) or moderating a message board or forum. While you may not get paid for this, it can give you exposure, experience and possibly clients.
5. Go to other sites and participate on their message boards or forums. The key to success with this technique is to provide people with solid advice and information. Promote yourself thorugh your well-written sig file. (Most forums allow up to six lines.)
Remember, when you visit sites just to promote yourself people notice. And they don’t like it. If you try to carry the practice too far you may be banned from future posting.
6. Similarly, you can promote yourself by answering questions on established discussion lists or starting your own. Browse the lists at Yahoogroups yahoogroups.com, Topica, www.topica.com, and Smart Groups smartgroups.com. You will find discussion groups on every thing from recipes to heath.
If you don’t find a group discussing the topic you’re looking for, you can start your own. Most of the above sites will let you set-up and run a discussion group for free. Follow the same rules you would for message board posts, your sig file. (Even on your own list.)
Starting an online business is easy. Establishing a strong web presence and some credibility takes time. But, it can be done. And following these six steps will help you get started.
Annette Richmond, E-mail: email@example.com; career-intelligence.com Annette Richmond is a writer, coach and founder of career-intelligence.com, The smart womans online career resource. She has experience in career counseling and content development, in the online and print arenas.