OutBuro - 10 LGBTQ Corporate Equality Ratings Employer Reviews Monitoring Workplace Diversity Inclusion Recruitment Marketing Branding LGBT Professionals Entrepreneurs Community

LGBT Business and Non-Profit Leaders: Create Buzz and SEO Love

Getting coverage for business launch, new service, successes, and milestones can be difficult. Press releases are still an essential part of getting the word out about your business or organization. Using press release distribution services are great, but no certainty that your press release will see the light of day or be targeted to the LGBT professional community you seek.

OutBüro is the fastest growing LGBT professional and entrepreneur focused website with great page ranking. On OutBüro you have a platform to promote your business/organization in many ways. We’ll always remain professionally focused office friendly even if that means excluding some segments that have plenty of coverage elsewhere. Your news will not be competing with circuit party ads or Hollywood gossip.

Free Press Release Submission – Self Serve

After joining OutBüro for free, complete your personal profile. On your profile, you have the ability to submit articles to promote your business products, services and industry similar to submitting articles on LinkedIn. After your submitted article is reviewed and approved it will become part of the OutBüro main blog. Be sure to choose the category “Press Release” and other categories as pertinent. Contact us to potentially add categories. Be sure to add a great captivating featured image too.

Press Release – Full SEO Optimization and Leverage the OutBüro Growing Online Universe

At OutBüro we know how to maximize the search engine results for your press release. We leverage full-page text and image optimization techniques targeting the LGBT professional and entrepreneur. We can do the same to expand that to your niche market if not solely LGBT focused. Not only would it appear branded on our blog, we’ve built an off-site social media distribution network that includes our own LinkedIn LGBT Professional Networking Group with 45,000 global members. Submit your press release for a small fee to cover the cost of our time in editing, SEO optimizing, image cost and image editing and our time is socially promoting your news.

Create A Group on OutBüro

You are amazing at what you do. Demonstrate it by being a leader on OutBüro. Start a business/organization, industry or topic-focused group in where you are the group administrator. Post regularly, invite your network to it and engage your audience. As your group grows and you engage you will be viewed as the leader in your field and can turn that into opportunities.

Online LGBT Business Citation

Add your LGBT company/organization or company seeking LGBT employees to the OutBüro company directory. After joining OutBüro, anyone may add a company/organization of any size and anywhere in the world for free. The free listing has limitation such as no website URL, no social media links and cannot list if they have LGBT friendly company policies. Gain the full features and demonstrate your support of the LGBT community with a full feature listing. There is a non-profit rate with full feature too.

Employee/Volunteer Engagement

After adding your company OutBüro company directory invite staff and volunteers to join OutBüro and rate/review your business/organization from their LGBT employee/volunteer perspective. Additionally add your business QueerReviews business listing for customers/clients to rate/review your organization, its products or services from a public perspective. Have them share what a great experience they have working for you. We have company review guidelines and moderate when necessary.

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OutBuro lgbtprofessilnal networking gay entrepreneurs lesbian business owners queer startups corporate equality rating business reviews

Why LGBT Networking with OutBüro Will Advance Your Career

Originally posted on DebtFreeGuys here on Aug 21, 2018.

Why your career must include LGBT networking

Though LinkedIn is a valuable professional networking tool, not all of us feel comfortable being ‘out’ in that setting. Glassdoor offers quality insight around what it’s like to work at specific companies, but it doesn’t share experience specific to LGBT employees. That’s why you need the LGBT networking site, OutBüro.

Learn more about the LGBT networking site, OutBüro:

Meet LGBT networking leader, Dennis Velco of OutBüro

Dennis Velco is the Founder and CEO of OutBüro, an LGBT networking site for entrepreneurs and professionals. The site allows users to network, submit resumes to a searchable database, and rate companies anonymously from an LGBT perspective. It also provides a forum where companies of any size can connect with LGBT candidates through active recruiting.

Dennis joins us to discuss the impetus for OutBüro, describing the platform as a safe space for LGBT job-seekers. He offers insight around joining an employee resource group at work OR creating one of your own and addresses the common disconnect between a company’s inclusive policies and how LGBT employees are actually treated in the workplace. Listen in for Dennis’ advice around promoting diversity and inclusion year-round and learn how you can reap the benefits of joining the OutBüro community!

Join Now - OutBuro LGBT Employer Reviews Rating Gay Professional Network Lesbian Business Networking Diversity Recruiting Jobs Company Queer Bisexual TransgenderTopics covered about LGBT networking

The impetus for OutBüro

  • LinkedIn and Glassdoor’s ‘little gay baby’
  • Safe space for LGBT job-seekers
  • Forum for companies looking for talent

The capabilities of the OutBüro site

  • Connect with mentors, VCs and join groups
  • Communicate without limitations
  • Submit resume to the searchable database
  • Rate companies anonymously
  • Users demonstrate expertise via blogging

The value of LGBT-friendly policies

  • Impact on quality of life, job satisfaction
  • Affects long-term earning potential
  • Policy doesn’t always reflect reality

How OutBüro is different from the HRC Corporate Equality Index

  • Includes any company of any size
  • Offers feedback loop from employees

Dennis’ advice around coming out at work

  • Individual choice (may not feel safe)
  • Join employee resource group
  • Create an informal network of peers

Dennis’ take on promoting inclusion in advertising all year long

  • Visibility leads to awareness, awareness leads to equality
  • Economic value informs how marketing dollars spent

Dennis’ insight around shifting focus away from sex and politics

  • Most oppressed usually most sexually outrageous
  • The tendency to act out under ultra-conservative administration
  • Need for leaders to rally community

Connect with Dennis of OutBüro

Resources for LGBT Networking and sites mentioned during the interview with Dennis

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OutBuro - LGBT Employer Company Reviews Directory GLBT Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Professional Community Job Portal Board 13

Company Reviews – Good for Companies and Their LGBTQ Employees

OutBüro (OutBuro.com) is filling a gap in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer working and professional community by offering a Glassdoor.com-like service. On OutBüro LGBTQ employees may review their employers on not only general employee-related areas but those specific to the employer’s LGBTQ policies, benefits, culture, work-life balance, job security, CEO performance, and more.

OutBüro’s mission is to be an altruistic resource for both employer and employee by providing an open community of visibility.  

Employer Reviews

Company Reviews include a free-form text review along with prompting for pros and cons as well as a message to the CEO. Registered members’ ratings are displayed anonymously. Reviews must adhere to our Community and Company Reviews Guidelines. Other members may indicate a rating as helpful as well as flag inappropriate content for community self-governance. OutBüro’s founder, Dennis Velco, built and moderates LinkedIn’s largest LGBT professional group with 47k global members now as a service of OutBüro.

OutBüro empowers every LGBTQ person to add their past employers, if not already present. We are open to all company sizes from the small local business to Fortune 100. OutBüro’s Company Reviews directory is world-wide. No matter where an LGBTQ person lives and works they can have a voice in praising their employer or offering constructive feedback to be a catalyst for change.

Companies may claim their listing to gain additional features and ensure their information is correctly represented including the required responses to the presence of the following policies and practices:

  • Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Policy
  • Gender Identity Non-Discrimination
  • Domestic Partner Benefits
  • Supports LGBTQ Equality Globally (if operates in more than one country)
  • LGBT Inclusion Competency
  • Public Commitment to LGBTQ Equality
  • Requires Similar Policies for Contractors and Vendors

Add/claim your company today and invite your employee to review it. 

OutBüro (OutBuro.com) is a start-up company providing the LGBTQ workforce, professional a voice in improving our future. Our platform provides the ability to connect and dialog with others one on one and via topically focused groups at all levels of career phase from entry-level, professionals through entrepreneurs.

OutBüro’s Job Portal enables employers to attract quality LGBTQ candidates while demonstrating their commitment to the LGBTQ community. Job seekers may add their resume/CV to the growing search-able repository in an active and passive job search.

Why is this important?

Does your company have the policies listed above to protect your LGBTQ staff? If so, AWESOME. You are doing the right thing to create a welcoming and safe environment to attract and retain quality staff.

However, having policies are not good enough. They are only part of the equation. For example, Sexual Harassment Policies have been in place in the United States since the late ’70s. Today it seems nearly weekly sexual harassment case news seems to break of high profile individuals. Just think how many sexual harassment cases don’t make the local or national news. Further, think about how many incidences go completely unreported to even the HR department.

We aim to be a partner with you and your company by being a place where employees can voice their praise and accolades you deserve while also being the space where opportunities to improve can be brought to your attention. Both in an anonymous manner so that employees are comfortable in being honest. As noted we have a community content policy and Compay Review guidelines. We don’t want defamatory content and to that end, anyone, including you, may flag a review, image or comment for moderation – and potential removal if justified from the system. To submit a review every person must be an authenticated person. Should a Company Review warrant an internal investigation, upon your request, we’ll contact the submitter and ask if they are comfortable in coming forward.

Touting Your OutBüro Score

Just as many companies are rightfully proud of their HRC Corporate Equality Index Score and make public announcements about reaching their 100% score, we aim to be your grassroots measurement of your LGBTQ employee satisfaction rating. We hope and believe that as your OutBüro company record gains reviews that you’ll be touting your OutBüro score too in press releases and displaying your OutBüro score on your corporate HR and Recruiting website.

It will not only demonstrate that you have LGBTQ-friendly policies but that your current and recent past LGBTQ employees LOVE WORKING at the company. This will bolster your diversity recruiting and retention.

Articles on OutBüro

With our Premium membership, you’ll have the ability to post content on OutBüro’s blog via your profile – Submit Articles. This can be company news, industry news, events, and just about anything. We’d naturally love it to be diversity/LGBTQ focused, but general info is welcomed.

Early Adopter Pricing

We are eager to work with you and build our community. We, therefore, have aggressive early adopter pricing that will remain in effect for renewals as long as you maintain uninterrupted membership. If membership laps, renewing will then be at the current rates. We value relationships and maintaining them. The cost is currently kept very low to minimize the approval process within your company. Getting started is the most important thing.

Getting Started

To register, simply visit www.OutBuro.com.

  1. Complete at least 30% o your personal professional profile.
  2. From the EmployerRatings page search for your company. 
    1. If present, choose Claim Listing.
    2. If not present choose the Add Company button. Choose the 45-dat trial if you are an authorized person, main point of contact, etc.  The free listing meant for any employee to add an employer has very limited features enabled.  
    3. Complete the listing and explore the site.  Schedule your introduction chat with the OutBüro team.

Check out the growing knowledge base under the more menu for instructions.  Contact us if you need assistance.  

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OutBuro - Largest LinkedIn Group for the LGBTQ professional business entrepreneur community glbt gay lesbian transgender bisexual queer diversity inclusion careers jobs

Celebrating 10 Years – LinkedIn’s Largest LGBTQ Entrepreneur and Professional Community Group Anniversary

March 2018 – LinkedIn’s first and largest (44,600+ members) LGBTQ entrepreneur, business, start-up, and professional community networking group turns a whopping 10 years old.  The group founder, curator, and moderator Dennis Velco recently launched OutBüro as a vehicle to expand the group for LGBTQ professions and startups to connect, engage and collaborate to a degree beyond the features and scope of a LinkedIn group.

OutBüro provides the majority of its online growing resources and services for free to gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and queer business owners and professionals.  It also has a premium level membership for business owners and organizations seeking to present their industry knowledge and connect with the professional LGBTQ community through its platform.

OutBuro - Join Now - Affiliate - LGBT Entrepreneurs Startup GBLT Professionals Gay Owned Company Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Community Job Postings News Information Journey

Join for Free

Join us on the main OutBüro site.  Sign up for free to enjoy the vast majority of services.

Join as Premium with 20% off – through end of March

During our celebration of reaching 10 years on LinkedIn we invite you to join OutBüro at the Premium level to unlock the sites full current features (and expanding) from now through the end of March 2018 at 20% off standard Premium level annual membership with the coupon code of “10YEARS-20”.  This does not apply to the Premium monthly membership plan.

OutBüro filling a need in the LGBTQ business community

LinkedIn has been a great platform and OutBüro will continue to nurture the group as a service of the now dedicated OutBüro platform.  Building the group on LinkedIn has been a wonderful learning process and I value what it has and can continue to provide.

The LGBTQ community is ready for a dedicated platform that allows us being fully out professionally alongside our sexual identities.  We are ready to leverage our community to create relationships that support our professional careers, our current businesses, and start-up endeavors.

Too many LGBTQ people are still professionally in the closet, especially on sites such as LinkedIn.  For most, even joining an LGBTQ group on LinkedIn is not considered an option so they are missing out on the networking potential that our LinkedIn group offers – even with LinkedIn’s limited group features.

We are striving to be a safe accepting open place on OutBüro while fostering and nurturing the strengths on the profession and business sides of our lives.  I believe OutBüro will not only strengthen the individual and LGBTQ community but the communities where we live, our employers and the community at large.

OutBüro Job Portal – For Recruiters, Diversity/Inclusion Professionals, and Jobseekers

As we grow we will be placing emphasis on expanding our Job Portal as a premier location for LGBTQ job seekers to locate employment opportunities with companies that are specifically seeking LGBTQ candidates.  We will be actively seeking companies ready to post their jobs on OutBüro and partnering with organizations who facilitate companies in moving toward an open and inclusive environment.

For companies seeking diversity and inclusion candidate applications, OutBüro currently offers the ability to network with the community members and post open jobs.  We are planning exciting new features in our job portal as our online community grows with robust applicant searching, applicant management and open job push notification to active job seekers to name a few.  Future features will also include robust job seeker abilities much as you find on major job portals.

OutBüro Provides a Focused Niche Audience to Target Your Message

As a premium site member whether you are LGBTQ or seeking to participate with the LGBTQ community, you have the option to post press releases, news and information about your company and industry.  See the following for more information:

LGBT Entrepreneurs Lead with Content – Contribute Articles to OutBüro

Build Your Business and Personal Brand in the LGBTQ Business and Professional Community

Journalist – Freelance writers

We are seeking journalists/freelance writers who would like to participate in the OutBüro community.  Any journalist/freelance writer should use the Contact form to request a conversation and potential free premium level membership so that you may post articles at no cost to you while gaining the ability to earn revenue through our affiliate program.  See the following for more information:

Build Your Business and Personal Brand in the LGBTQ Business and Professional Community

Affiliate Program Overview

We welcome and appreciate every member

OutBuro - Join Now - Affiliate - LGBT Entrepreneurs Startup GBLT Professionals Gay Owned Company Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Community Job Postings News Information Journey

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LGBT Entrepreneurs Lead with Content – Contribute Articles to OutBüro

Content is King – Leverage OutBüro to get your message out there.

As an OutBüro Member, you have the ability to microblog directly from your community profile.  This is sometimes called Guest Blogging and the benefits to you and/or your company may include:

  1. Gaining blogging experience
  2. Improving your SEO of your primary website as you backlink to it in your articles on OutBüro’ LGBT Entrepreneur and Professional Community
  3. Establishing and increasing your business/industry authority
  4. Developing relationships as you connect and interact with other LGBT business owners and professionals
  5. Allowing the opportunity to share perspective
  6. Improving blog writing skills
  7. Learning online rules and practices through feedback and participating with other LGBT bloggers
  8. Reaching a new or expanded audience
  9. Increasing industry or brand building awareness of self or your company and it’s products or services

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.

OutBuro - 10 LGBTQ Corporate Equality Ratings Employer Reviews Monitoring Workplace Diversity Inclusion Recruitment Marketing Branding LGBT Professionals Entrepreneurs Community

How LGBT Entrepreneurs Use OutBüro to Increase Online Trust Authority and Page Ranking

Have you searched for your business on Google, Bing, or Yahoo and wonder how your competitors are ranking higher than your business?  There are many factors that come into play such as:

Get Focused to Improve Your LGBT Business Search Rankings

Today LGBT Entrepreneurs must focus on gaining high-quality backlinks surrounded by topically focused keywords from domain authority sites.  OutBüro is laser-focused on being a niche domain authority for LGBT business owners and professionals in it’s growing community.

Marketing today is part science and part art.  For the LGBT entrepreneur and businesses desiring to target the GBLT community OutBüro provides an opportunity to focus on results.  Your results will improve the more you leverage the many features and benefits it currently provides and as new features roll out.

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.

Building LGBT Business Online Trust Authority

OutBüro should be a part of your business online trust authority strategy.  Your profile provides the opportunity to tout your skills in a description.  Additionally as described below it provides a place to link your profile from 30 high-ranking domain authority websites and an open text area to associate an unlimited number of other social media and industry-specific profiles.   As OutBüro continues to grow in size and business-related content your profile and business listing on OutBüro will continue to grow in value to your overall online marketing presence, trust, and website ranking.

When building online trust Google, Bing, and Yahoo want to see more than a profile listing.  To supercharge your online trust rating you must choose the platforms that are meaningful for you and your brand.  Then take the time to really engage with other users of the sites.  This means connecting with others via “friending”, following, getting followers, and commenting in a meaningful manner on what others post.  This activity creates content-rich link juice that drips to your site.  I recommend scheduling time on your work calendar at least weekly to visit each site, post, like, connect, and comment.

Completing an OutBüro profile requires only a Free level site membership.  However, a Premium Member level will provide even more features and capabilities.

When backlinking from OutBüro or any other site, be sure to mix it up.  Don’t only point to your main site’s URL home page.  Also, link to your inner pages.  Those inner pages might be your about us page, a contact us page, an FAQ page, a services page,  and your cornerstone key content.  Cornerstone pages are those pages and blog postings that really get to the heart of what your business is about, the ones you are most proud of, and the ones you internally link to most often from other pages or postings.

To further juice it up, consider stacking your linking.  From your LinkedIn profile provide links to your Behance and OutBüro profiles in addition to your primary website.  From YouTube link to your LinkedIn and OutBüro profiles and so forth.  This stacking supercharges your interconnected whole internet presence taking increasing your authority.  As the saying goes, a rising tide raises all boats.

High Doman Authority Sites to Consider

In addition to creating your profile on OutBüro, below a 12 high ranking domain authorities, to get you started on the right track:

Facebook - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking 1) Facebook.com (DA 100) This is kind of a “duh factor”.  A must have.  It is one of the most trusted and used websites in the world.
Twitter - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking2) Twitter.com (DA 100) Recently this has come into great focus with the current US President using it as a communication platform.  Like him or not, this is a highly used site that has super credibility and trust.
YouTube - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking3) YouTube.com (DA 100) Owned by Google, a YouTube channel allows you up to 5 links in the profile along not to mention all the opportunity on each video posting you upload but also when commenting on other videos.
Google Business - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking4) Google.com/business (DA 100) For local SEO, every business needs a Google Business page.
LinkedIn - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking5) LinkedIn.com (DA 100) The most popular general business networking website.  It’s a must and you Pinshould also join OutBüro on LinkedIn – it’s first and largest LGBT professional networking group.
Pintrest - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking6) Pinterest.com (DA 100) This is not for every business, but if it is for you, it’s been a powerhouse ever since it launched.
Reddit - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking
7) Reddit.com (DA 99) As the most popular social booking marking sites, Reddit is a wonderful tool to leverage.
StumbleUpon - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking
8) Stumbleupon.com (DA 98) A great social bookmarking websites that is popular and commands a very high authority.
Vimeo - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking9) Vimeo.com (DA 98) One of the most popular video-sharing websites just behind YouTube, Vimeo is awesome because it allows you to add lots of backlinks to your profile.
AboutMe - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking10) About.me (DA 90)  Here you can display your talents and link back to your many other social properties.
SoundCloud - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking11) Soundcloud.com (DA 93) If you have audio to share or just want to listen to some independent tunes, this is a great website to have in your tool chest.  From your profile, you can set up lots of backlinks too.
Scribd - OutBuro - LGBT Entrepreneur Business owner professional startup community gay lesbian bisexual transgender queer affiliate program marketing social networking12) Scribd.com (DA 92) This super popular book reading website offers a powerful high domain authority link to point back to your main site, or another social profile site for that matter.
OutBuro - 10 LGBTQ Corporate Equality Ratings Employer Reviews Monitoring Workplace Diversity Inclusion Recruitment Marketing Branding LGBT Professionals Entrepreneurs Community

LGBT Entrepreneurs Focus on SEO to grow business

As a business owner, it’s important you understand that ranking highly in search engines is vital for your website. In fact, it could be your golden ticket to immense profits. But how? The answer is search engine optimisation (or SEO).

As an LGBT entrepreneur SEO improves website’s visibility

SEO is the process of making your website visible in search engine results pages (or ‘SERPs’ as they’re often called). And what a process it is. The Google algorithm considers over 200 factors when determining what websites to show for a certain search term.

It all starts with your website. Google sends out automated ‘robots’ (also called ‘spiders’ or ‘crawlers’) to visit every accessible page on every website across the internet. These robots gather information on each webpage and store it all on the many Google servers located around the world. This way when someone searches for a term related to your site, the Google algorithm goes to work, processing all the information that has been collected from your site and similar sites. It then determines which sites are most authoritative and relevant to query. The results are presented in the form of an ordered list, with the best options at the top.

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.

 

To simplify things, think of the web like your local library. Your site is a new book that has just arrived and the librarian is the Google robot. She gets familiar with your book and determines the most logical section to display it in. A visitor comes to the library and they aren’t aware your book exists but they’re interested in the genre or topic. So they head to the relevant section, explore the different titles and eventually decide to check out your book because it’s just what they’re looking for. Success!

SEO is constantly evolving as an LGBT Entrepreneur – Keep Up!

Website owners have been thinking about how to make their sites rank in search engines since the rise of the internet in the 1990s. Along the way, some SEO practitioners figured out ways to trick the algorithm into thinking their site was more relevant and authoritative than it actually was. This type of optimization was coined ‘black hat SEO’. It quickly became frowned upon due to the negative experience it created for web users. Some SEO techniques were originally acceptable (known as ‘white hat’) but moved into the black hat category as they became overused or as the web matured.

Search engine algorithms are consistently updated to make black hat techniques less effective. SEO is always in a state of evolution – so it’s important to remember that what mattered a few years ago could now be less effective or completely discouraged. If the Google crawlers identify black hat SEO on your website, your site could be penalized and drastically drop in search engine rankings. The best way to avoid black hat SEO is to always ask yourself if you are improving the experience on your site or providing valuable and original information. If the answer is ‘yes’, you can feel confident that your website is search-engine friendly.

Seven ways to optimize your LGBT Business website for search engines

If you ever tried to learn about SEO, you’ve likely heard dozens of different things you should do. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start.

The best place to begin is with the list below:

  1. Keywords
    These are the queries that your prospects would likely search for when looking at your type of business. Start by coming up with the obvious ones and then use a keyword research tool to identify other terms that could direct people to your site. You can get an idea of how competitive terms are and how often they’re searched for and go from there. Once you have your keyword list determined, you need to make sure these terms exist throughout your site. It’s important not to overuse keywords – search engines will penalize any content that looks spammy. Aim for roughly 2 percent keyword density.
  2. Page copy
    It should contain your keywords but be sure not to overdo it. The Google crawlers read text just like us humans do, so it’s more important that copy is readable and well-written. Many people use their keywords too much in their website copy, thinking they are really letting Google know what terms they want to rank for. In reality, they are writing poor copy which makes for a bad experience on their website and can actually hurt their site’s ranking. Before you publish a new page, double-check your copy. If your grammar school English teacher wouldn’t like it, neither will search engine crawlers. See our article on Content Marketing.
  3. Title tags
    This is the copy the appears as the clickable link in SERPs and in the tab of most web browsers. It acts as the title for each individual page so it carries a lot of weight with search engines. You’ll need to make sure each title tag is unique, contains relevant keywords, and follows a consistent format across your site. It’s best practice to include a keyword specific to the page. If you have space you should also include your brand name. It’s best to use a hyphen (-) or a vertical bar (|) to separate keywords from your brand name. Keep copy to under 55 characters to make sure it’s not too long to display.
  4. Heading tags
    There are six different heading tags you can use (from H1 to H6). H1 is the most important heading tag to search engines and should be applied to the page headline. It’s important not to use the H1 tag more than once per page, as it could result in an over-optimization penalty with Google. The other title tags can be used multiple times on a single page. On a page that contains a lot of copy, the H1 tag can act as the headline and H2s can be applied to each sub-headline. This format sends signals to the search engine crawlers, while also making for strong user experience by breaking text into separate sections.
  5. URL structure
    URLs present another opportunity to showcase your keywords to search engines. Be sure they’re included in the resource path – or the part of the URL that comes after the domain name or /. It’s best practice to use all lowercases and hyphens to separate words when optimizing URLs. Here’s a good example: rockyardshoes.com/running-shoes.
  6. Images
    Search engine crawlers can’t see images like humans so they rely on the code behind the image to understand what it is being displayed. They gather information from the alt tag, image title and filename.
    • Alt tag text is the copy shown in place of an image when it can’t be displayed – perhaps it failed to load, or the user is visually impaired and uses a screen reader. You should provide a brief explanation of the image for alt tag text. For example, ‘Woman wearing running shoes’.
    • The image title is the copy that appears when you hover the mouse over an image. The copy should build on the description the alt tag text provides. Think of it like an image caption. For example, ‘Orange running shoes for women’.
    • The filename is the name applied to an image when it’s saved. For example, image337.png isn’t great. But running-shoes-women.png is. Take a moment to make sure it is descriptive and only use lowercase text and separate words using hyphens.
  7. Meta descriptions
    A meta description may seem daunting – but it’s just a name for the two lines of text that appear in search engine result pages under the clickable link and URL. If you don’t provide Google with a meta description, then it will display random text from your page that may mean nothing to a user. Meta descriptions no longer factor into search engine rankings, but they can help encourage searchers to visit your site by providing a preview of what’s in store. It’s best to keep the copy under 150-155 characters and to include a call to action. For example, ‘Start your free trial today’.

Updating your website usually requires editing HTML code. However, many modern content management systems, like Squarespace or WordPress, enable you to build and edit a website with no coding knowledge.

Commit to SEO for the long haul

Once your website is optimized for search engines, you’ll need to form an on-going SEO strategy. This is the hard part of SEO but it’s what will separate you from your competitors. Think of it like going to the gym. You need to devote time and energy, stick to a plan, and patiently wait for results.

 

Three ways to provide visitors with great content

For the people at Google, the internet is all about the exchange of information. This means that the Google algorithm places a lot of weight on the quality of the content on your site how often you publish it.  See our article on Content Marketing

Content is a blanket term that refers to the descriptive copy on your webpages, in addition to blog posts, articles, case studies, videos, infographics, slideshows and so on. Anything that provides valuable information and is accessible to search engine crawlers is considered content.

The key to producing great content for SEO purposes is to make it fresh, relevant, and unique.

  1. Publish fresh new content frequently
    This shows Google that your website is still active. Old content quickly goes stale if it’s in a prominent area of your site.
  2. Keep content relevant
    Your content should be related to your website and what your business offers. Don’t stray off-topic. It could confuse search engine crawlers, as well as visitors to your site.
  3. Always be unique
    You should present information that is not available on other websites or at least in a different form than it exists on other websites. Never copy and paste content from other sites onto yours. It will do more harm than good.

The importance of inbound links

Links on other websites that point back to yours are known as ‘inbound links’ and play a huge role in obtaining favorable search engine rankings. If the web is all about exchanging information, then inbound links are essentially other sites endorsing what your site has to say.

Not all inbound links are created equal in the eyes of Google though. A single link from a major website like nytimes.com or bbc.co.uk can provide value equivalent to a dozen links from average websites.

Creating great content and obtaining inbound links go hand and hand. When you write a great blog post or guide, it’s going to influence Google crawlers. It’s also going to impress visitors to your site, who will want to share it on social media and link to it on their own websites.

Be visible to local searchers

If you run a brick-and-mortar business, you want your website to convince people in your community to visit in person. Optimizing your site to appeal to people close to you is known as local SEO.

Be sure to include your location in your main keywords. If you run a seafood restaurant in Boston, you’ll want to be sure that your website is visible to local searchers seeking a seafood restaurant. You’ll want to optimize around the term ‘seafood restaurant Boston’ in order to let Google know where your restaurant is located.

It’s also important to sign up for a Google My Business account. This ensures that your business contact information is consistent across Google search, Maps and Google +. It also gives your business a greater presence in search results. Your customers can leave reviews, which naturally attracts new customers.

SEO will help your website succeed

As you can see, putting in place a strategy is essential if you want your business to succeed online. If you constantly improve your website and publish great content then you will have a better search engine ranking than your competitors. It’s that simple.

 

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Market Research for LGBT Business Startups

Ever thought that market research is just for big businesses? Well, small businesses can benefit from it too. We spoke to Keen as Mustard Marketing to find out how you can learn more about your target markets.

How market research can help small businesses

Knowledge is power. And whether you’re selling coffee, computers or conferences, it pays to know and understand your target market.

Big businesses do this using market research that’s usually quite costly. They have teams dedicated to interviewing customers, carrying out surveys, arranging focus groups and analyzing buying patterns.

While much of that work does require a big budget, it’s still possible for small businesses to carry out lean and effective market research – and there are good reasons for doing so.

When should you use market research?

There are certain times in a company’s life-cycle when market research can be particularly useful. For example:

  • To see whether a new business idea is viable
    You have an idea for a new business. Is there a market for it? Don’t just guess – use market research to find out.
  • When moving into new markets
    This is especially true when selling abroad. Different countries and cultures have different markets. What works in one might not work in another. The research will help you uncover the differences and adapt to them.
  • Before launching a new product or service
    You might think you have the perfect new product or service – your customers may think otherwise. It pays to get feedback before you launch, so you can make any necessary changes quickly.
  • When applying for funding
    Show potential investors that there’s a gap in the market – and that your company is the one to fill it.

Stay focused

If you’re planning to carry out market research, keep it tightly controlled. Concentrate on the key questions that matter to your business, then work out what information you need in order to answer those questions.

With that knowledge, you can decide how best to obtain the answers – with a focus group, online research, or survey.

Don’t be tempted to ask all sorts of additional questions. Stay on topic and you’ll get useful answers that will help you shape your business strategy.

Effective market research for small business – five top tips

If you want to make the best use of market research, here are five key points to bear in mind:

  1. Start researching early
    Whether you’re selling locally, nationally, or globally, it pays to know the potential size of your slice of the pie. Do your research before you start trying to sell in a new market.
  2. Don’t waste money
    Small businesses can’t afford to splash out on expensive research – and luckily they don’t have to. Small focus groups and surveys of your existing customers can be effective and inexpensive.
  3. Use existing research
    Someone may have done the hard work for you already. Check out online reports, field reviews, and magazine articles.
  4. Find out what your customers are saying
    The internet makes it easy to find out what your potential customers think. Read consumers’ blogs, watch their YouTube videos and vlogs (video blogs), and check out discussion forums and social media.
  5. Use the cloud and big data
    Companies such as Google spend vast amounts of money collecting research. Take a look at Google Trends and Google consumer surveys. Google Trends will let you see what people are searching for. For example, if there’s a large volume of people searching for glow-in-the-dark cat collars and no one is selling them, then there may be a gap in the market. Google’s findings are often free so make use of them.

Know the limits of market research

Market research will give you some information about your target market, but it can’t predict the future of your business with perfect accuracy. That’s because:

  • a small sample of your potential customers might not be representative of the whole market.
  • people don’t always say what they truly believe in surveys.
  • the research might not take new trends into account.
  • the way your business acts in the market will change the outcome.

That doesn’t mean market research for small businesses isn’t useful – far from it. But you should take the findings with a grain of salt and consider other factors too.

In particular, trust your gut instincts, because they are often based on the experience you’ve gained working in the field.

Market research is a useful tool

Doing some low-cost market research can really help you learn more about the market demand for your products or services. And while it’s not always a sure-fire way to predict whether your business will succeed, it’s a great way to get new insights and opportunities.

When you have a combined strategy that includes your own intuition and customer feedback, market research can help your business perform better and enter new markets successfully.

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Define Your Target Market as an LGBT Entrepreneur

You can’t go far in business without customers. Make sure you know who yours are, and what they want. Use these tips to help learn more about your target market.

What does it mean to define a target market?

From the moment you came up with your business idea, you probably had a specific customer in mind. When you tweak your service or product, you do it with them in mind. When you write your promos, you highlight the features that will interest them most – and use language that they get.

This is a great way to think. It gives focus to everything you do. But you’re probably making a lot of assumptions about what your target customers really want, and how much they want it. When you define your target market, you’re doing a little research to make sure you’re not misleading yourself about who’s going to spend money with you.

When to do it

It’s a good idea to define your target market before launching your business. The exercise will help you test a lot of assumptions before you sink too much money into the wrong things. It’s a lot less expensive to change direction at this early stage.

But even if you’ve been in business for years, it’s helpful to keep defining your target market to stay in touch with who your customers are.

What will you know at the end?

Defining a target market can give you three important pieces of information.

1. Is there a market? 

Dig around and see if there’s enough demand to sustain your business. Are people (or businesses) buying your category of product? What portion of that market is gettable for you?

2. Who’s in the market?

Once you’ve confirmed there are customers out there, start to get more focused. Who are those people?

What’s their age? Do they have certain types of jobs? Where are they most likely to work or live? Do they have common interests? Are they more likely to be men or women? Do they have a lot of money, or are they on a budget? These are the demographics of your target customer.

Start by going after a specific cross-section of the market. That way you can get to know your target customers even better.

3. How do they think?

Once you’ve identified who your target customers are, you can start to find out what makes them tick.

What do they care about? Use this information to promote the product benefits that are most relevant to them. Where and how do they shop? Try to get your products into those places (and make sure you’re online if that’s how they like to buy). Where do they get information? Run your ads, promos and PR in these places. Who do they take advice from? See if you can enlist those key opinion leaders to give you some profile.

Where to get information about your target market

The internet is a good place to start looking for demographic data. Search for statistics on your target customers. You should be able to find credible research that’s been done by governments, trade and industry groups, universities, marketing institutions or even other companies who serve that same market (check out their annual reports).

Once you’ve got some of this basic information, go talk to your target customers. Nothing beats getting their input, either one-on-one, through focus groups, or by sending surveys.

Example of targeted marketing

Let’s assume you have a video production company offering engagement, wedding, and new baby videos. On a really basic level, your potential customers are all couples who are engaged and/or pregnant. Resist the temptation to stop there. You don’t have a big enough budget to market to them all.

Try targeting a subgroup like unmarried double-income couples, aged 25 to 35, who live within two hours of your studio. They should have money to spend on recording upcoming life events, and they’re nearby so you can easily meet with them.

This is also a group you can get to know. Find out what local 25-35 year olds care about. Where do they shop? Where do they get their information? Who do they take a lead from? Maybe there’s an Instagram account they follow closely – so see if you can get a credited photo posted there, for example.

Defining your target market is just the start

You don’t need to get too carried away with this type of research in the startup phase of your business. You’re just aiming to confirm there’s a market there, and to learn a little about who they are. It’ll slow you down if you do a heap of research now.

As you get underway, however, you’ll want to keep learning more about your target customers. The more you know them, the better you can serve them – and the smarter (and more cost-effective) your marketing can be.

Learn more about how to do market research.

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10 Tips: Email Marketing for LGBT Businesses

Email marketing is often a great way for a business to get high returns. We gathered ten tips for successful email marketing.

Keep your content interesting and fresh, and always relevant. You will build an engaged audience of loyal customers that way.

The top 10 must-have tips for email marketing

Part I of this guide focused on small business marketing on a budget and the tools to do this. There are many different ways of marketing to your customers, ranging from direct mail to telephone calls, online banners to radio ads, Facebook to Twitter. But businesses often see high returns from email marketing.

People regularly check their email and spend a lot of time in front of it. Sending email is cheap, too, but how do you get your message across effectively?

If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.

 

  1. Build relationships with your readers
    Not all of your readers are the same. Some may be lifelong customers, while others will be new to your business, so segmenting your email lists is very important. Have a goal in mind when you send an email, whether it’s attracting new customers to your store, driving traffic to your website or simply raising awareness. That goal should dictate how you craft your message. Take your time to think this through, so your customers feel connected to you.
  2. Start small
    Don’t send your first email newsletter to your entire mailing list. Start small, with perhaps a few dozen or a few hundred recipients. Then watch the response. If it’s good, send it to more people. If it’s not, tweak and test out a new version.
  3. Make it easy to opt-in and opt-out
    Email marketing is permission-based. That means customers have indicated (through a sign-up form on a website or a number of other ways) that they want to receive emails from you. But they might change their mind. As important as it as to make it easy for people to receive your emails, you must also make it easy for them to opt-out or unsubscribe. Be sure to follow their wishes, or risk being labeled a spammer.
  4. Personalize your emails
    If half your customers are middle-aged women then there’s no point sending them emails offering cheap soccer cleats. Or is there? If their children play sports at school, they could be just the customers you’re looking for. This is why business information is so important. Never make assumptions. Use the data to find out what you need to know, then send the right offers to the right customers.
  5. Use good content to keep your readers engaged
    Think of the recipients of your emails as more than customers. Think of them as readers too. Give them a narrative, a story about the products you’re selling. Help them to engage with your products, to find a way to weave them into their own lives. Your emails should not just be used as a sales vehicle but also as an opportunity to foster relationships. Be sure to include helpful hints and best practices that will bring value to your readers. Keep your content interesting and fresh, and always relevant. You will build an engaged audience of loyal customers this way.
  6. Strike a balance with the length
    It’s important to find the sweet spot in terms of the length of your emails. You need to figure out what’s going to be most effective for the majority of people on your list. Keep in mind that a lot of emails are read on mobile devices, so you’re working with less real estate. On the other hand, an email can be too short. If there isn’t sufficient content to grab your readers’ interest, they’ll move on to the next email. It’s all about testing out different options to find a balance that works for you and your readers.
  7. Get the tone right
    There’s a fine line between marketing emails that add value and are welcomed by the recipient, and ‘spam’ or junk mail which will be deleted immediately. Don’t go over the top with exclamation marks and wild claims. Try to use a friendly, authoritative but not arrogant tone. Your goal is to get the customer on your side and keep them there.
  8. Offer something of value
    There’s nothing wrong with simply listing your products and their prices. That’s useful information for people who are already looking to buy. But you can go further, to convert those who are undecided. Offer discounts for people ordering in response to your email. Two-for-one deals, discounts on multiple purchases, free shipping for orders over a certain value – there are plenty of ways to add value and get your customers to spend more.
  9. Track email responses
    With the right software, email marketing lets you track the response of your campaigns, by embedding unique links into each message. Some of the response metrics might include:
    • Who opened your email.
    • Which links in the email were clicked.
    • Who forwarded your email to others.
    • Who shared your email on social media.
    • Which emails led to sales, online reviews, event registrations and other destinations.

    This will provide insight into the type of information your audience is most interested in, and will give you a benchmark to improve upon every time you hit ‘Send’.

  10. Don’t spam!
    Sending out email ‘blasts’ of generic, over-the-top sales text is a waste of time – for you and for your customers. You’ll lose existing subscribers faster than you can sign up new ones. Effective email marketing takes time, thought, and consideration. You must be focused on building relationships.

Email communication is a good way to hone your marketing skills. Once you’ve mastered it, you can move on to other outlets, such as social media and mobile marketing. Although the platforms might be different, many of the skills and tactics required are the same.

Understand what your customers want

The two main goals of marketing are to get repeat business and to win new customers. Even small businesses can do this successfully, with the right attitude and the right software. The key is to understand what your customers want, and then tell them that you can provide it.

Once you get used to analyzing and using business information for marketing purposes, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. “Insight” is the right word for this business knowledge, because without it you are blind to the behavior and needs of your customers.

The best combination of cloud software and marketing strategy will give you hyper-targeted marketing campaigns that hit your customers at the right time, in the right place and with the right information or offer. Marketing for your small business has never been more effective.