It’s said that it’s not what you know but you who you know that matters in life and work. Today, this can be applied to online businesses as well. An estimated 2 billion people access the internet via their smartphones from a base of 3.9 billion mobile users.
There are also an estimated 2.65 billion people on social media and the number is projected to grow.
The takeaway is that online platforms matter and businesses need to leverage them. You can think of communicating and building relationships online as networking for the internet age. A key difference from networking as an individual is that your reach can be limitless.
With social media and your website, you have the potential to interact with thousands if not millions of people. However, the flip side is that it’s difficult to create personalization and to make your brand real to your audience.
It’s important to create an online network to connect with other businesses and your audience. Building an online network can lead to collaboration, new opportunities, and general goodwill. You may also get rewarded with a positive brand reputation, greater conversions, and increased traffic.
You can build more traffic to your site by focusing on online networking. Let’s look at practical ways to grow your website while building a network online.
Writing a guest post is where you publish helpful content on other websites. It is a powerful way for you to get visibility online and has several benefits.
Increase your readership base: When you write for other websites, you’ll be reaching out to an audience that’s already grown and nurtured by that business. You’ll widen your circles of readers and can convert them to leads.
Reach a relevant audience: When you guest post on a blog or a site that’s complementary to what you do then you’re reaching out to your target audience. These readers will be receptive to your content and you can direct them to your site and boost traffic.
It creates opportunities for collaboration: When you reach out and work with other businesses in your space, you’re creating opportunities for collaboration. It can result in a partnership for a holiday sale or a new product that benefits everyone.
Guest posting is a way to network online since you’re connecting with people in the same space. You’re collaborating with businesses who are not in direct competition but complement your work. It’s a way to scale your writing to reach the right demographic.
There are many networking groups online for entrepreneurs and small businesses. You can sign up with them to connect with other entrepreneurs. Such networking platforms often allow you to create posts and publish them on their sites.
Create an Online Community
Internet-enabled devices allow people in different locations to come together over shared interests. You can create an online community that lets people have discussions over a specific topic. Building a thriving community can help your site in many ways.
An online community boosts traffic. Community discussions makes your site a resource for information. It creates a sense of belonging and helps your community identify with your brand.
- You can cultivate brand loyalty
- It’s a source for new ideas
- Your community members are more likely to engage on other platforms to support your brand. They will share your content on social media and boost your visibility online
- You will have an invested audience that can make events a success. Your book launches, new product launches, and other events will get more traction. You can set up an event registration form and feel assured that you’ll get a strong attendance.
- An online community will make repeat purchases
- There’s lesser need to spend on marketing for customer acquisition
The easiest way to build an online community is to use a membership site platform or tool. If you use WordPress, you can simply install a plugin like MemberPress and launch an online community.
A membership lets your community ask questions and give answers. You can let people engage with their peers and problem-solve. For many brands, their online communities play an important role in their success.
Brands like Sephora foster beauty discussion communities. LEGO encourages its customer-base to interact and submit ideas for future creations.
An online community improves your brand’s reputation and creates social proof. It’s a powerful way to give your brand a real presence in your audience’s minds. As you build content and get engagements through your membership site, you’ll also get more traffic.
Email marketing remains the most powerful marketing tool to drive conversions. It’s also a significant way in which you introduce yourself to people and businesses. Job applications, product enquiries, partnership proposals and a lot more start with an email. Email is a common way to communicate and you can use it to grow your site.
You can think of email marketing as a form of online networking. Especially because advancements in AI make it possible to personalize your communication to a high degree.
Use a reliable email marketing service provider and build an email list from the outset. A good email marketing service, and AI and analytics tool will help you segment your list.
You’ll be able to send highly personalized communication that catches people’s eyes.
Everything from the subject line to the content of your email can be customized. You can launch automated emails to remind people of abandoned carts or to offer them a discount for something they browsed.
You can also provide helpful content in the form of ebooks, checklists, or courses. Email marketing will send return visitors to your site. By using an optin tool, you can also bring back visitors who could not explore your site the first time for any reason. Using email, you can stay connected to your audience and convert them to paying customers.
Grow Your Site with Online Networking
Networking has always been a key factor in success in business and in one’s professional life. The internet makes it possible to connect a number of people online. It’s important for you to develop a real connection with your audience to grow your business.
There are several tools that leverage the power of AI, big data and analytics that makes personalization possible. You can use membership site platforms and online tools to build a connection that is meaningful to your audience. Focus on online networking and help your business grow today.
Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.