A year ago I started working with my web developer in putting together my website. Of course, expectations were high that my new site would generate a lot client referrals, if not necessarily a lot of buzz. What I learned over this past year is that even a good site is not going to drive business to it. That I can attest to since no one from Butte, Montana has cared to reach out to me seeking my coaching services.
Getting to the bottom of this dilemma has not been easy. I’ve talked to web developers, and other social media pundits, who are always ready to offer a viewpoint. Some claim it’s all in your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which has to do with how many people visit your site based on its analytics. (For us Baby Boomers we’re talking statistical analysis here). Others, while not disagreeing on the importance of a site’s SEO, feel the real measure of your site’s success is its connection to other social media.
Given these choices I continue to ramp up my site’s SEO by improving its basic blueprint, having an identifiable domain name, incorporating all the right keywords/phrases, and enhance a look and feel that would appeal to potential clients in need of my services. I also linked my site to my LinkedIn profile, and vice versa, to broaden the social media presence.
So far so good, but hello potential client from Hannibal, Missouri – where are you? In speaking with other colleagues and professionals who have websites I’m discovering my dilemma is more the norm than not. So, following the advice of the financial sage Warren Buffett that “it’s better to be approximately right than precisely wrong,” I realized it was time to take another approach.
Fast forward to the present, I decided to meet as many people as possible to promote my practice and website. I joined my local Chamber of Commerce in an effort to build up my practice beyond New York City. Through the chamber I have met many terrific people, most of whom have their own businesses or private practices. The weekly coffee klatch has been my staple in meeting attorneys, financial planners, social media professionals, life coaches, grief counselors, and not-for-profit consultants. In short, doing what I tell my clients looking to transition into new jobs – network, network, and network!
It’s truly about building relationships and giving back
And the Chamber is just the start. I joined another professional networking group in my local community increasing my web of contacts. No pun intended. Many of these individuals are not in need of a career coach, but they are a potential source of referrals. Conversely, they’re people to whom I can refer my clients. I am now partnering with three employment attorneys, two life and grief counseling coaches, a financial planner, and even one executive recruiter. Networking is not just about meeting people. It’s truly about building relationships and giving back.
I have also been putting on a full court press to give more speeches and workshops on job search and other career development topics. Networking my way into the career services offices of local colleges and universities, as well as a number of professional associations, is starting to open up opportunities, and the visibility to drive more business to my website. I guess you could say it’s time I walked the walk and talked the talk that I instill in my own clients when encouraging them to use networking as the primary way to get jobs.
If you’ve had similar experiences in promoting your website, or have used other approaches to enhance your particular business or practice, I welcome your thoughts. BTW, if you've actually heard from someone in Butte or Hannibal let me know!