Firstly, and we thought appropriately, we talked about Networking. The reasons to do it are so that you meet like-minded people, going through the same issues as yourself. Useful information and contacts can be imparted at well run groups. It also stops you from going stir crazy alone in your office. Important things to consider are:
- What group to join? Large or small – General or Industry specific?
- How much time to invest?
- What do you want to get out of it?
Getting recommended or endorsed:
- Ask people to do this for you. It may be useful putting a request on the bottom of an invoice or letter asking them to write a recommendation for your website/Linked- In/Facebook/Twitter accounts.
- Will people be prepared to speak to prospective clients?
- Consider asking for a video endorsement that you can then post on your accounts.
Set up Facebook/Twitter/Linked In
- Keep them updated.
- Spend time letting people know what you are doing,
- Give them interesting facts about your business.
- Use Buffer App/Hoot Suite to write posts in advance instead of having to think of something every day.
Write a Blog, it helps people to understand/appreciate that you are an expert in your field. Ask yourself:
- Who will read it?
- Is it interesting?
- What do I want to say?
Work hard to build a solid and reliable reputation – Go the extra mile!!
E-mailing and posting leaflets/newsletters, think about who you are contacting i.e. Customers v Clients. Remember:
- Make sure it counts and is relevant.
- Don’t annoy potential customers with a constant bombardment of literature/e-mails – nothing gets them to press delete quicker!!!!
Phone Calls – either to new or existing customers/clients, again have respect for those you are phoning, they may be busy, stressed or just not interested. Though it can be beneficial to:
- Let people know about the great offers you have coming up or the services you can provide.
- Or just remind them you are still in business.
- It can be useful to send them something first, this will give you something to talk about.
Face to Face visits can be very beneficial. Take a walk down the high street or round a business park giving out leaflets and let people know what you do.
Advertising in relevant publications. Think about:
- How much you want to spend.
- How much business you think it will generate.
Seminars/trade stands, this is a useful way to show potential customers/clients who you are and what you do.
Merchandising – Umbrellas, Bags, Mugs, Pens. Everyone loves a new mug or a useful pen!!
Giving away business for free, although this may feel counter intuitive, lots of companies do this to get you interested, consider:
- Free gifts/work.
- Sharing your expertise.
- Special offers.
- Stand out from the crowd.
Consider sponsorship for local Schools/sports teams etc.
Getting involved with Community Work i.e. volunteer for careers work with a local school or become a School Governor.
- Develop a sound ability to sell your product, face to face.
- Don’t underestimate your personal presence/power.