Expanding your business and creating a professional network can sometimes be a challenge, it certainly was for me when I started my professional career. These are some of the tactics that have worked wonders for me and that I would recommend considering to boost your business:
1. Business Cards:
Besides being extremely important as a means to identify yourself, sometimes the key is to have a unique card. The design, especially how formal it is, will depend on your industry. Being in Marketing (digital or otherwise) people expect us to be creative, having a distinctive design on a personal card can make the differential point between someone remembering or forgetting you.
It has certainly done it for people in my case, specifically when I was getting cards from people in advertising agencies. I remember a few but one that I will NEVER forget was a coin, I always wondered how much this guy or his agency were investing in those and by association I still remember the person that gave it to me quite well.
2. Ask questions and be interested:
If there’s something people like, is to talk about themselves. USE THAT! Ask questions about their lives, career, background, jobs, opinion, etc. The more you ask, the more they talk. The more you listen, the more they like you. It’s a fact!
3. Remember your conversations to use as a follow up technique:
If you found out that Jon VP of Marketing at –your company of choice- likes to windsurf on his free time, read some about that and instead of calling or emailing him asking for what you need, make it about him: Hi Jon, did you know there’ll be a race this weekend? (He probably does know about it, but that’s not important…). This should get you in his good graces which will lead to a better chance of getting what YOU want.
Now that I think about it networking is like dating! Ask many questions, listen and then remember for later convenience. Who knew?
4. Use MeetUp:
Go to their website or download their mobile app, if you’ve never used it its main purpose is to gather individuals with a common interest offline, first approach is online but all events are live. The meetups include professional gatherings for almost every industry. On these events you can easily extend your reach, do sales and gain knowledge on the market.
Join and experiment, there’s a lot happening there.
5. Have a website:
We can’t stress this enough, it’s surprising how many small businesses don’t have a website in this day and age, when not having a website is missing out on one of the most powerful marketing tools available. The reasons are many but the first is how people are likely to find you.
These days most people will go online and research products and companies before they make a purchase, specially on their smartphones, hence the need to be mobile friendly. Your website also establishes credibility as a business, if you don’t have a website where you can refer potential customers to, they will think that you are a small time company that does not take their business seriously.
With the right SEO parameters there’s no reason that you can’t get your site to rank in Google ahead of a competitor and funnel off some of their traffic.