1. Look PresentableYou only get one shot at making a first impression, so make sure your first is your best! You'll want to be dressed professionally and look well groomed.
2. Be ApproachableBe conscious of the signals your body language is throwing off. For example, standing with your arms crossed with a slight scowl and looking uninterested screams "please don't talk to me". Instead, plaster on a very warm and inviting smile, stand up straight, and look confident and happy to be in attendance.
3. Have an Objective/Game PlanWhen considering the types of events that are right for you, you should ask yourself the following questions: - What do I hope to accomplish from attending this event? - Is this an event that my target market would attend? - Is there a certain person/people that I hope to connect with? - How can I be of assistance? If you don't have an end game in mind, what exactly is your reason for attending? Networking should be looked at as another important strategy in your overall marketing plan, not just another opportunity to schmooze.
4. Focus on Connections, Not SalesThe purpose of networking is NOT to walk in and try to sell your products or services. Instead, you want to focus on building genuine, quality connections. Now is not the time to give your sales pitch to any listening ear in the room. The "sales" aspect will come later. Can you imagine a random person walking up to you and giving you a sales pitch without so much as an introduction? Annoying, right? So don't be that person. Your attitude should be that of "how can I help you?" or "I would love to get to know you better". Successful networkers know that building a business is all about building relationships.
5. Don't Forget Your Business CardsSounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people attend networking events without a business card. Say what?! Your business card is your calling card. How else do you expect people to contact you? If a business owner does not have a business card, I can't take them seriously.
6. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow UpPerhaps the most important aspect of the networking process is the follow up. It is the beginning of forming an essential relationship. Unless you have a razor sharp memory, a really great way to recall details and specifics of the people you meet and the conversations you've had is to jot down brief notes on the back of their business card. That way, when you reach out to them (preferably within a day or two after the event so you're still fresh in their mind), you have a point of reference and your conversation will be more genuine. As a point of reference, you should aim to introduce your business to at least 30 new people per week. Keep this in mind when developing your networking strategy. To Your Prosperity & Success, Nikola Ahaiwe Business Coach, Motivational Speaker, Business Blogger P.S. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more valuable business tips, resources, and tools!
Consistency.Being consistent is a sure fire way to show prospective clients that you are a serious entrepreneur that is here to stay and not just some fly-by-night operation. Sometimes, people will watch/track you for months, sometimes even years before deciding to do business with you. They need to feel a sense of security and be able to trust that you are the right person to do business with before they loosen the purse strings and invest money to buy your product or utilize your services. So, when planning your marketing strategy, you'll want to make sure you are only including tasks that you will be able to keep up with on a regular basis. Blogging? Come up with a content schedule that works for you. Whether you're posting on certain days, or just a certain number of times weekly/monthly, make sure that it is a constant thing that your followers and potential clients can look forward to. (By the way, you absolutely should be blogging more than once per month). The same thing goes for social media. There is nothing like randomly posting every few days, then dropping out of sight for months on end. It simply confuses people. Create a schedule similar to your blogging schedule and follow it closely. Remember, people do business with those that they know, like, and trust. Being consistent in all aspects of your business is the perfect way to gain credibility and build those type of relationships. I'd love to know, how has being consistent lead to the growth of your business? Leave a comment below. To Your Prosperity and Success, Nikola Ahaiwe = Business Coach, Motivational Speaker, Business Blogger P.S. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more valuable business tips, resources, and tools!
If you were to ask most entrepreneurs what was the biggest challenge they face in business, the number one answer, unfortunately, would be money (or lack thereof).
Cash flow problems is often a road block to success when trying to start or grow a business. After all, you need money to market your business and get the word out about your products and/or services, right?
Well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. With a little creativity and out of the box thinking, you can still market your business without a huge marketing budget.
Here are 5 ways to market your business on a shoestring budget:
Video is a great tool for marketing any type of business. Whether you create how-to videos, descriptions of your products/services, testimonials, etc., it is a great way to get exposure. The great thing about video is that it does not have to be a huge, elaborate production to be effective. In fact, quick, simple, and to-the-point videos shot on an inexpensive flip video camera, cell phone, or web cam can do the trick. In most cases, it’s not all about the quality, but more about the message you are getting out there. Now, I’m not saying just throw up any old blurry, crummy video, but don’t spend so much time worrying about perfection that you hesitate to get started. Remember, people do business with those they know, like, and trust. Incorporating video marketing is a great way to gain that trust. Your customers/clients want to know that they are working with a REAL person, so letting them hear your voice and see your face creates a sense of a personal connection, making them more willing to do business with you.
Staying in front of your target market is imperative. The best way to do this: email marketing. You can use email services such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc. to create an opt-in box on your website to capture the email addresses of potential clients (this works best when you share a “free juicy offer” such as a free report, ebook, etc). Email your list on a regular basis to make sure that your business is at the top of mind when it’s time to seek out someone who offers your specific product/service. The key here is to not be “spammy” by bombarding them with constant sales pitches. Instead, offer value with your emails. For example, If you own a clothing boutique, write an article about the most current clothing trends and include a discount code to purchase similar clothing from your shop. This is also a good opportunity to keep potential clients in the know about what’s new with your business, events that you’ll be participating in, special promotions, etc. Use catchy subject lines to make your subscribers want to open your email, and be sure to pack in interesting info to make sure you keep their attention once they do!
While online marketing should definitely be a part of your marketing plan, nothing beats good ol’ face-to-face networking. In a world where practically everyone is using social media, it’s still important to get from behind the comfort of your computer, get out there and shake some hands and network. Networking is an acquired skill, so take time to learn some effective strategies. It’s not about attending as many events as possible and shoving a business card in the hands of anyone who will take it. Your goal should be to make quality connections. Also, focus on what you have to offer others versus going in with a “what can you do for me” mindset. You will find that more people will be willing to work with you and/or speak your praises when you are willing to help them in some way as well. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to speak to at least 30 people per week about your business. Research events in your area using a site such as meetup.com, and plan to attend at least 1-2 events per week.
Hosting Your Own Events
Another great way to spread the word about your business is to host events. Depending on the type of business you are in, you can come up with some creative event ideas to build a buzz about your business, score great press, and meet new and potential customers face-to-face. It is a great way to build personal relationships (remember the know, like, and trust factor). If you are in the beauty industry, why not host a pampering event to get a group of potential clients in one place where they’ll be exposed to your product/service? If you’re a wedding designer, you can host an open house to show samples of your design style and invite engaged couples to see what you have to offer. Really, the possibilities are endless. Get creative and come up with a fun quarterly or twice a year event to steadily gain new clientele.
In my opinion, blogging is one of the most efficient, and inexpensive ways to market your business. Just like with email marketing, it is your opportunity to stay in front of your target market, offer solutions to their problems, as well as keep them informed on the goings-on of your business. As with all forms of marketing, consistency is key. Whether you post daily or weekly, you should come up with a schedule that you can keep up with so that your clients will look forward to what you have to share. You can use a free blog site such as Blogger, but if you want to step your game up, WordPress is where it’s at! You are able to do so much more functionally, not to mention it’s more visually appealing and is better for SEO purposes (I'll go more in depth on that in another post).
Do you have any other creative ideas for marketing a business on a shoestring budget? Please share in the comments below.
To Your Prosperity and Success,
P.S. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more valuable business tips, resources, and tools!
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