Online Business Development For Beginners

Are you ready to kick off your online business development the right way? You’ll be pleased to know that there are many excellent established practices that can help guide your business from its beginning all the way through a fruitful and long journey of success. While online marketing has many similarities to traditional marketing, there are also many differences, as well as new facets and angles to consider. To properly succeed with online business development you need to understand the ins and outs of online marketing.

The great thing about online business development is that it doesn’t need to cost any money. Yes, there are paid online advertising opportunities, including the popular Google AdWords (a Pay Per Click service). These tools can be successful but aren’t the best place to start, especially when you are on a budget. You have to turn to free methods that can pay serious dividends for the time you put in.

When you’re creating your new website, you have to realize how online content is different from offline content. The content of your website needs to be easily readable and digestible. It should be short and to the point, and it should draw people into it. People skim rather than read online, so you have to find a way to get your point across in less time and in less space.

Another key difference between online business development and offline marketing is that before people ever even evaluate whether they want to read your content, they need a chance to get to your site, your blog or your article. This is opposed to say, an advertisement in a newspaper, where anybody flipping through the newspaper will see your advertisement. All you have to do there is capture their attention.

With your online business, you need to capture their attention as well, but you first need to get them there. This entails search engine optimization, social networking and link building among other strategies to drive traffic to your website. Search engine optimization involves creating keyword-optimized content that will help get you found in search engines.

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Why Many Business Development Titles Create Motion and Activity With No Progress and Results

The title of business development adorns many of those 3″ x 2-1/2″ paper documents passed out at all those business networking events from chamber of commerce meetings to ribbon cuttings to open houses to more formal meetings. Yet what does this title really mean and more importantly what are the results from these 2 simple words?

First, what does the word business really mean? Webster’s New World Dictionary refers the reader to the Anglo Saxon word of bisignes and to look up the word busy. The first definition of this word, “busy,” means active at work.

Now the word development comes from the word develop which has Latin and Old French origins. This word means to wrap apart. Looking at the first definition it means to cause to become gradually fuller, larger, better, etc.

From these two words, it is a plain as apple pie that everyone in every organization wears this title whether it is written on the calling card or not. From the dock workers, to the front line supervisors, to the receptionist to anyone at the C-Suite level, all are in roles to be busy and with the goal to become larger or better.

Titles should be more specific to each employee’s job responsibility. For example, there exist some people within the organization whose major role is to be extra busy and to expand growth specifically through this one goal – increase sales. These individuals are called salespersons. Other specific roles include customer service representative, human resource specialist to shipping manager. Again business development is presumed within each of these titles. What is not presumed is their unique role within the organization and how that role helps to achieve a specific goal necessary to keep the firm leading forward or productive.

So if your business or organization wishes to experience revenue growth, then make sure that the title reflects the specific role of that person. By taking this action, you will increase sales and provide the opportunity for everyone to share in even greater results.

Remember it is easy enough to confuse motion with progress and activity with results. The title whatever it is should not add to that confusion.

How to Make Time For Legal Marketing and Business Development

One of the chief complaints I receive from the attorneys that I meet and work with is that they just don’t have time for legal marketing. While billable hours, day-to-day emergencies and time outside the office all add up, there are definite ways to go about making time for legal marketing and business development. The key is to think of it as an ongoing habit, not something to “make time for.” Rather than seeing marketing and business development as a burden, think of it as an integral part of your day-to-day life. The interesting thing about creating this kind of habit is that once you find the right system for your individual lifestyle it should simply become second nature.

The benefits to making time are numerous. Aside from building relationships with potential clients and referral sources, taking advantage of marketing and business development opportunities can help increase your visibility AND credibility in the legal arena and beyond. Writing articles and participating in social media help you create and build a personal brand-something that every lawyer should have. True dedication and time commitment can even bring you recognition as an expert in your chosen practice area or within a specific industry.

Below are a few suggestions and lessons from attorneys I’ve worked with, as well as my own observations and experience. Choose the path that make sense for you or adapt the suggestions to work within your own day, but give it a chance. Do something! The rewards you will reap are far greater than a 5-minute time commitment.

  • Multi-task. No one I know comes into the office and immediately gets to work. One solution to the time crunch is to fold your marketing and business development efforts into your morning routine. As you sit down to your desk with your morning coffee or tea (or breakfast…) browse through your contacts or referral lists and send a few emails; read a legal marketing blog; update your social media or even spend 10 minutes working on a potential article or speech. By 9 am you’ll have accomplished something solid and can focus the rest of your day on other endeavors. Alternately, you can do the same thing during a quick lunch at your desk or coffee break. You’d be surprised how far 10 minutes can go.
  • Save it up. One attorney I know has created a special folder in her email Inbox specifically for legal marketing emails. As the weekly or daily updates from the blogs and social media groups she subscribes to come in she simply directs them to the folder. Then, once a week she takes an hour out of her day to read through the week’s emails and respond to them accordingly. She’s able to keep up to date on legal marketing news and colleague updates, post articles and communicate about possible speaking engagements without disrupting the flow of her day.
  • End your day. A colleague of mine channels his efforts into work all day but integrates marketing into his nighttime routine. With the stresses of the day (and impending deadlines, phone calls and emails) over, he sets aside 15-20 minutes a night before bed to investigate marketing leads, send emails to potential referral sources and work on articles and social media.
  • Schedule it in… for the first month. If all else fails, treat legal marketing as a literal client. Put it on your schedule and make no excuses for not paying attention to it, just as you would a client. Whether it’s once a week or biweekly, set aside specific time for uninterrupted focus. After the first month I can guarantee that finding time for business development will feel effortless.

Simple in theory but never easy in practice, without a true commitment you can never reap the rewards of a solid marketing habit. Filling your pipeline with work, receiving recognition as an expert and gaining credibility and visibility won’t happen all at once, but you can be sure they will happen. Just as with any other endeavor, it takes focus and time to see results.

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