[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Many small businesses struggle with lead generation and building their email list. In this day and age of social media and email marketing, it’s vital that you start to build your network and your list as soon as you start thinking about going into business. You need to be visible and tell people what you are doing otherwise how are they going to find you?
Networking can be face to face in a formal networking meeting or it can just be chatting to the other mums at the school gates. Networking is really just about talking to people and building a relationship so that when you’re ready, you have someone to tell who might be interested in your product or service.
So many small business owners miss the opportunity to collect data which will help them promote their goods and services. For example, if you have a craft stall, run a competition to win a small gift in return for an email address. If you are online, you could offer a free e-book in exchange for an email address. All this data can then be used to send out a newsletter or details of a special offer. If you let people just browse and not encourage them to stop, you stand little chance of marketing to them later.
This doesn’t mean bombarding them with information and offers! There is nothing worse than being hit with emails on a daily basis, or sometimes several a day, when you’re not really interested. However, if you get a regular monthly newsletter from someone who you’d like to keep in touch with, then you are more likely to read it or subscribe to future mailings.
If you go to a more formal event, the last thing you should do is rush around the room and give your card to everyone! Most will put them in the bin which is not what you want. It’s much better to chat to people and give out your card if asked. People are much more likely to keep your card and connect with you if they’ve had a conversation. You can then find them on LinkedIn and any other social media platform that you use and keep in touch. There may be an opportunity to refer business to each other or even collaborate on a project in the future.
You can network on line too. Start a conversation on your FB or Twitter feed. Engaging with people is the key so have an interesting image or perhaps a short video and ask a question. Once you engage with people, you attract others who join in the conversation. You can follow up on a private message or email if appropriate and secure a sale if the timing is right. If it isn’t, at least add them to your email list for future mailings.
Whichever method you choose for your networking, connect, have a conversation and see where it takes you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]