When you were five or ten years old you may have played the game of hide-and-seek where the object was to avoid being found. The longer you could stay hidden and the harder it was to be discovered the better.

As a business owner or someone responsible for marketing a business, you want to do the opposite. Instead of remaining hidden from view, you want to make it as easy as possible for members of your target market to find you again and again.

You may have a Ph.D., worked for big-name clients, provide outstanding service, or have a new groundbreaking product but if people can’t find you it is tough to build revenue. What you want is to be found, so prospects contact you, and you can convert them to client status.

What happens when someone is looking for a new product or service? More and more customers and consumers use the internet to search for the goods and services they need, to the point that ‘google’ has become a verb. They may also use the search engines provided by Yahoo, Bing, and Google.

1. If a prospect hasn’t heard of your company they won’t be searching for your firm by name. Instead, they will be searching using keywords that describe the problem they want to be solved or the type of information they are looking for. If they are looking for ways to motivate employees, that’s what they will type in the search box. If they are looking for adventure vacation ideas for Costa Rica, they’ll enter that in the search box.

My prospects might enter, ‘attract more clients’, ‘marketing coach’, ‘web marketing plan’, or ‘web lead generation in Google. When they do, they’ll find my site at the top or at least in the first 10-15 listings.

Type the problem you solve or the solutions you offer into Google’s search box. Is your site listed at or near the top of the listings? Is it even in the top 100?

2. Type your own name in the search box. Does your website come up at the top of the page or in the first 20 listings?

3. Type your name and/or your company name in the search box, for example, “Charlie Cook” or “Marketing For Success”. Did Google find your site in or near the top spot?

If you aren’t happy with the results of these tests, your website needs to work.

How to Avoid Playing Hide and Seek With Your Business

A Smart Domain Name

Keywords That Work

While they are many ways to improve your use of keywords on your web pages, you can boost your ranking in the search engines simply by using your keywords in your page title tag, your meta tags, and 4 to 6 times in the text on your page. Make sure to use them in normal, well-written sentences.

Flash and Splash

When you submit your site to the search engines, they are looking for text. Pages full of pictures or with just your company logo (splash pages) or mini-movies (flash animations) may look pretty, but they won’t help the search engines judge what your site is about. In addition, research shows that 90% of visitors find these entrances to Flash and Splash pages annoying. Rather than move further into your site, most visitors will leave. Avoid home pages full of pictures, movies, or with minimal text. They may look nice, but they won’t help people find you.

Build Links

One of the best ways to boost your site’s rankings and thus get more visitors is to get other sites to add links from their site to yours. An extremely effective way to do this is to write articles and distribute them to sites visited by your target market. Most site managers and ‘webmasters’ are hungry for relevant content. Provide these sites content they want, and they’ll be happy to use it and link back to your site.

Stay in Touch

Offer an incentive to get site visitors to give you their contact information, and join your e-mail list. You can also follow up with a call or a mailing. Once a prospect has been to your website, you want to regularly remind them of the problems you solve and the services you provide. Don’t let your prospects forget you when they are ready to make a purchase.

Avoid playing hide-and-seek with your target market. Help more people find you, and you’ll grow your business. Tune-up your web marketing strategy and your website, and you’ll have more site visitors, more prospects, and more business.

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