Every business needs to make a profit, but there’s a big difference between ‘just scraping by’ and ‘feeling comfortable’.  Not everyone wants to be a millionaire, in fact, we’d argue that when you examine people who aspire to that as a goal, it’s more about what they could do with that money or the feeling they would experience to be able to say there were a millionaire.

So looking at small business profitability on a more modest scale, the first step is to establish your worth and stop competing on price.

There’s a saying:

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

Competing on price is akin to a race to the bottom.  That’s not the way to get a first class reputation.

People who value your worth will be willing to pay well to experience the massive value you bring to their business.

That kind of reputation is build one brick at a time, but grows faster when you fuel the fire.  In other words, don’t hide your light under a bushel (I love a few good cliches, especially when they make the point well.)  If you don’t tell people what you do and share your expertise, they won’t know you exist – let alone how good you are at what you do.

So here are 7 actions you can take to build your reputation faster:

1: Give your website a check up

When people meet you, see you online or come into contact with you one way or another, if they are even mildly interested, the first thing they’ll do is visit your website to find out more.

Does your website stand up to the first time visitor test?

  • Does it look professional and up-to-date?
  • Is your message clear on the first screen they see so they know what you offer?
  • Is it easy to find what they want?
  • Do all the links on all the pages work?
  • Is there valuable content that will help them?

And for the search engines –

  • Are the page names (the unique page URL), headlines and content relevant to the key word or phrase for that page?
  • Do all the images have relevant metatags that not only contain key words, but tell anyone using a screen reader what they’re looking at?

2: Shine up your social media profiles

Social media is not just about creating content – it’s also about completing your profile on each platform.  LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to market yourself on the personal profile in the About section – and also on a Company page.  Facebook pages also have an About section you can complete.  Most of the other platforms have a limited amount of space for info, but use whatever is available.

And don’t forget to use a consistent branded banner and a professional headshot (not a cropped image of you from the last wedding you attended).

3: Create a regular posting schedule

Social media is one of those things that gets pushed out when you get busy.  Instead of having a spasmodic posting schedule, remember that this is valuable marketing.  Set yourself a calendar for posting (check out the Content Strategy Planner, the Social Media Overview and the Content Plan template in the Data Centre’s marketing folder).

4: Schedule time to create content

Content need not be a struggle, it depends on your business as to what kind of material you create.  The secret is to have a plan and then schedule time in your diary, either weekly or monthly, to create good quality posts.  It shouldn’t be all sell, sell, sell – people don’t engage with that, but these all work well:

  • Before/after images
  • Your opinion
  • Tips and advice
  • Sharing related content created by other people
  • The occasional testimonial
  • Maybe a quote – with your thoughts about it

Block out content generation time in your diary.

5: Schedule time for engagement

Social media is not a one-way street.  If you just broadcast all the time and don’t engage with your audience (and others), you’ll find people start to ignore you.

Getting engagement is difficult as in today’s world people are mostly viewing their social feeds on a smartphone and flicking down endless lists of posts.  They may read, but don’t always stop to comment or like your post.  If you’re someone who regularly comments and likes others posts, you’ll start getting reciprocal activity – and people remember you better.

Sharing other people’s posts with your audience when it’s relevant is another great way to grow loyal followers too.

6: Attract new followers

Followers on social media are only one element of your audience.  The challenge is you can’t contact these people directly easily.  As you’ve probably heard marketers say ‘the money is in the list’!  People who have voluntarily signed up to your list have, effectively stated their interest in what you offer.  This is where building a robust lead generation funnel is important.

Getting your lead magnet focused on exactly the kind of people who would make good clients is only the first step.

7:  Nurture your followers

Having a list is not an excuse to sell at them all the time.  In fact, even if you sell at them occasionally, if that’s the only contact they have with you, they’ll soon unsubscribe.  Nurturing a list successfully is a fine balance of value and promotion.

Part of this equation is a value-led newsletter sharing your knowledge and expertise.  Email campaigns need to include exclusive offers that make them feel important.  Whatever you’re promoting should have a special level for those people who have signed up and stayed on your list.

These aren’t the only strategies to polish up your reputation, but they’re a great start.