Great Local Marketing Starts with Others
We talk a lot here about the technical details of marketing – from SEO to the need for a mobile-responsive site – and on the analog side, such as ways to bring new movers into your business. For this week, though, we’re going way back to the old school, and talking about how networking can grow your small business. Networking – defined by Google as “interact[ing] with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career,” is often seen as a technique for those new to the business world and seeking to make connections, but when used correctly by small business owners, can catapult your business to an even greater level of success. While we here at Welcomemat love the technical details of creating a great SEO strategy or a detailed small business marketing plan, we also believe one very important thing: great local marketing starts with other people.
Here are 5 tips on how to leverage your local network to boost your business!
– Look for relevant groups
No matter what you do, there’s a group for you. Look for networking and business peer groups in your area with a simple Google search! If you live in a large city, you may be surprised at how specific these groups can be – perhaps you can find an entire group of organic bakers, or a gathering of like-minded folks who only work on certain vehicle models. LinkedIn can also be a great resource. LinkedIn groups allows you to find people whose interests and goals align with yours.
– Volunteer positions
While groups can help you connect with folks in the same industry as you, it can also be incredibly beneficial to find people who share your passions and heart for certain causes. Whether you’re volunteering a few hours a month, or sitting on the board for a cause about which you care deeply, you can find deep connections with people who care about the same things. You never know where these connections might lead!
– Be prepared
When you meet with these groups, always be ready to talk about your business if the opportunity should arise. Never try to squeeze your business into a conversation, but as recommended by The Balance, have an elevator pitch ready for when someone asks about your business. “An elevator pitch is a short description of what you do, who you work with and the value you offer to your customers or clients.” Having one in your back pocket will give you the ability to quickly and succinctly sum up the most relevant topics of your business to give your conversation partner the best idea of what you do.
– Make personal connections
No matter where you make the connection, remember that it needs to be personal. A connection that’s solely based on giving out your business info or card is a connection that won’t last. Listen well and focus more on great conversation than on nailing your elevator pitch.
– Follow up quickly
No networking is complete without a timely follow up! Making sure to send off a quick “nice to meet you” email or phone call soon after meeting someone can seal a great networking interaction into a great future business relationship.