How to stand out online

Standing Out Online as a Professional Services Provider

We are in a time of independent and solo practitioners. Once an anomaly, many businesses today are composed of one person with expertise or services to offer. How do independent and solo practices stand out online?

To start, embrace the reality that your first impression will not be made in-person. For most businesses, the initial image today is created online. That is often on a Google search results page, at a website or on social media.

Understand Your Value

To stand out, you need to know why you stand out. What differentiates you from the rest of the small businesses that seem the same on the surface. Real estate agents and financial advisors know this fight for attention well. The secret to standing out is deciding what makes you different and making that front and center in your marketing.

Now you need to communicate that unique value you bring online, in words, images, videos, etc. Your online messaging should highlight what makes you different in a clear way that establishes your brand. People associate with brands and people they know, trust and respect.

For the solo practitioner, the person is as important as the brand. You need to establish your credibility and thought leadership in your area of expertise. You equal your brand, and both need to be clear, consistent and have value for your target market.

Where to Stand Out

There are three categories of places to focus online.

  • Owned: Places that you pay for and completely control. Your website is your top owned online location.
  • Rented: Places where you can post content but are not completely under your control. Think social media. What you can post, how it looks, etc., is controlled by the platform.
  • Earned: Your content and content about you at other sites that you don’t directly place or pay for. This includes a link to your website from another website, reviews on Yelp and Google, etc.

All of these places create your online presence and impact. The strongest presence includes all three of these elements.