Surely you should be a social media influencer and run pay per click and email campaigns, advertise in all your professional publications and local media? Why not nationally too? How about advertising on bus stops and billboards ...
Small business owners can ill afford to chase every marketing opportunity, but business networking really does work!
Of course, using all these options won't be realistic for most small business owners. It might be tempting to try a little of everything in the hope that something might work. Then you might end up like the successful nineteenth-century US department store owner, John Wanamaker, who famously said: ...
""Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half!"
Even in 2021, many large businesses struggle to measure the effectiveness of marketing activities. Did you know that there's one approach to marketing where you will know exactly what you're getting for your investment? It's a solution tailored to your business.
Part of the difficulty with many marketing approaches is that they aim to reach the right people at the right time, but only a small proportion will be interested in your product or service at the moment your marketing touches them.
This means that you must allow for multiple repetitions in the hope of building awareness, attracting attention, and ultimately achieving a sale. This isn't wasteful, it's just the way the process works.
In contrast, business networking gives you an opportunity to make a lot of experienced business owners aware of the exact moment when potential customers will be ready to benefit from what you offer!
As an effective business networker, you will spend time learning about the people you meet and they will learn about you. You will have regular opportunities to tell them what problems your business solves and who will benefit. You will also learn what all these experienced professionals can offer your customers and contacts.
Every day, when your network members meet and work with people, they will know what to look, and listen, for. Then they can simply ask if someone will be interested in receiving some advice from you as an expert. If they agree, they will be happy to speak with you because someone they already know has recommended you.
Three steps to referral networking success:
Explain who your existing customers are, what they're like, and how they have benefitted. Your network members will then be ready to tell similar people about you.
If you have several customer types you can explain how and why they are different. You can talk about where they live or work, what their interests are, or even how much money they can spend.
Ask your customers what they like about working with you. Share testimonials and online reviews with your network. This will give them extra confidence to recommend you to others.
You can also ask your network to give you feedback. If they don't understand what you offer, they won't be able to find new customers for you. This can help to improve your elevator pitch and give better business presentations in the future.
If you have an ideal customer in mind ask for an introduction to someone specific and explain how you can help them. It's surprising how many people a group of 20 or 25 will know between them.
If nobody knows the person you have asked to meet, they might know someone else in a similar business who you would also like to know.
Now, you have a whole team fully engaged in finding people who will want to do business with you.
You're no longer spreading your content far and wide in the hope that someone will see it, remember it, and act on it. Instead, you can focus on telling a compelling story about how your business makes a difference. Once you have this mindset, your audience is much more likely to like, share and comment about your online content.
"Nothing is ever wasted!"
Even better, all your investment in networking is contributing towards your business success. Join a networking group that takes accountability and measurement seriously and you will know exactly what financial return you are achieving. Importantly, you are also building a strong and effective business support network.
If you would like to see how this works, come and visit BNI Sterling.
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about business networking with BNI Sterling and how it really is a great marketing opportunity, why not come along to a BNI Sterling meeting? click here to get in touch or give me a call on 07733 033659 and let's see how I can help you.
I am committed to communications - personally and professionally. I want to hear what you have to say and to help you to be heard. That's why people tell me their life's story on the bus or train. I love it!
At work, I'm respected as a senior leader, strategist and innovator. I am effective, calm under pressure and confident. I revel in everything from strategic analysis of communications objectives and options to copywriting and the detailed planning and delivery of successful projects and integrated campaigns. I'm very fussy too - about creativity, quality, value and consistency - they all make a difference to results.
At play, I'm learning to paint (slowly) and enjoy cooking, photography, travelling and writing (of course). Most of all, I enjoy learning about all the very special people I meet along the way.
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