4 ways to connect with your shareholders in a web-centric world

Over the last few years increasing amount of content, opinions and industry “experts” are popping up all over the web. Now your decision makers are actively engaged in looking for answers and opinions. Everything is just a click away.

Your prospective shareholder is moving from site to site, and source to source being exposed to a number of different companies offering them the solution or answer to their issue. These sources are influencing their decisions, more than just what you’ve published on your site.

So how are you gaining your influence back? It’s not just as simple as posting up a quick website and letting it run. You’ve got to create a presence on the web outside of your own site. You need to be the trusted advisor that keeps showing up everywhere they go. Whether it’s a link, an article, a syndicated white paper, or blog post, the trick is to get in front of the shareholder in an authentic, natural way when they’re searching for the information.

Think like your shareholders. How would you want to be approached? What would work if you were to walk in their shoes?

Here’s a few simple tips to get you on the way to getting in their head and in front of them on the web.

1. Crawl through the web like them

Not talking about how they find you, but how they find the information they’re looking for on a regular basis.

Figure out how you, as a shareholder would Google the information? What sorts of phrases would you input? Are you looking for information? What kind of information? Then see what comes up – what sort of blogs, online publications, and organizations?

What did you find?

Now, check your own site statistics and see what keywords (other than the obvious – your company name) your prospects use to find you. Google those words and see what shows up. Check out both the paid listings and the natural ones.

2. Ask them where they hang out

Best way to find out what they’re thinking, ask them. Send out a survey to your shareholders and your prospective ones asking where they go for information. What are their favorite blogs, online publications, organizations and associations?

Pick the top online publication and start writing for it. If you can’t write for it, advertise on it. If they have a resource center, share your content. Show them that you’re the expert, in a non-intrusive way.

Pick the top blog and start participating. Get the technical experts in your company to chime in too.

Sponsor an eNewsletter for a leading association or organization.

And ask your staff. Ask your experts how they stay informed. What sites they visit to keep up-to-date on the latest in the industry.

3. Ask people you respect where they go.

Word of mouth still plays a valuable role in generating awareness, so ask the industry analysts and leading speakers where they go for information. What sites they write for, provide information to, or blog on?

Spend a couple days reading these. Get a feel for the number and quality of new posts. Are they talking about things relevant to what you do? If so, join in the conversation.

4. Recreate their path through the web.

Use analytics to show you who’s linking to and from the sites you identify. This can be a helpful way of following your prospect’s path around the web.

Identify sites that link to your competitors. Are they influential? Then create a presence on those sites too.

Find out who’s linking to notable experts, industry publications, and organizations. Join in the conversation, share your content and expertise, offer valuable content and offers to the readership. Build a trusted relationship between you and your shareholder.

Go where they go – see what they see.

Push out your content, publish articles, JOIN in the conversation. The more you get out, the more opportunity your prospects will have to find you and the more likely you’ll be able to influence their buying decisions.