By Amy Kinnaird
One of the best things we, as business owners, can do is to build relationships with our current and potential clients. This is a wonderful marketing tool, and allows that person to learn why they should buy from us if, and when, they are ready to buy.
Lucky for you, there are lots of fun and easy things you can do to keep your relationship building going. Here are some ideas that will keep you excited and keep your contacts interested in you.
It goes without saying that you should have your own blog. The “experts” say you should post once a week, at least. Again, that consistency. I know that isn’t always easy to do, but it IS a great tool for raising your SEO ranking. Whether or not you have your own blog, an easy thing to do is to comment on other people’s blogs. Build a relationship by following a handful of people and offering insightful comments. Not just ‘Great idea. I liked your article.” The author loves to hear from people instead of just talking and not knowing if anyone is reading or not. You can get on that key person’s radar quickly by becoming a fan. And, you will get others to your own blog, too, through your signature and link on their comments.
Shout Out in Facebook.
Everyone wants to be recognized and acknowledged. Especially on Facebook. You should “like” your clients’ pages and become a fan of other pages by business owners you know. Then, give them a little exposure by tagging them on your personal or business page. This makes them feel wonderful, and increases your visibility and your influence on THEIR page. Do this when you see someone at an event, or just for the heck of it when you see something they might like. Share and tag!
Write Articles for Other Websites.
If you have done your homework and understand who your target client is, you can volunteer to write articles for someone else’s website (like I am doing here!) There may be oodles of sites that cater to your same prospective client, and by showcasing your work on one more website, you may attract some of those same people to you. Plus, the site owner can be a great JV partner or referral source.
Build a Referral Network of People You Can Send Business To.
For instance, I do primarily marketing and social media consulting. But as I work with a client, I usually discover a need for a new or updated website, someone to create graphics, and possibly to do some VA (virtual assistant) work. Therefore, I have created a little group of people that I can sub work to. In turn, they can potentially send business my way. For me, the end game is to broaden my offerings to my clients and build a bigger business. For my subs, they don’t have to do the marketing and searching for clients. For my clients, they get more of a one-stop shopping experience. Win-win-win.
Talk to People Everywhere.
I’m guessing that I’m not the only person that loves to talk to others. In this world of online marketing and working from home, I suspect that you might also be happy to meet and greet interesting adults in person occasionally. In addition to keeping the conversation going on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, join or visit a local Rotary meeting or other local networking event. Show up consistently, talk, meet people, and follow up with them. You just never know what might come of your new connections. If nothing else, you had fun for an hour, had some lunch or a drink, and got out of the house.
Have an Email Marketing Program in Place.
Just do it. It’s not expensive for even the smallest or newest business. $15-$20/month. You don’t have to do the hard sale, weekly emails. In fact, you probably don’t want to do that. But just provide some valuable or helpful information at least once a month. Consistency is the name of the game here.
Thank You Notes.
When you get a new client, write a thank you note. When you meet someone you want to keep in touch with, send a note. It’s not required that you have personalized stationery or branded note cards. It would be NICE to have that, but not required. For a few years I have sent notes that I bought at discount and big box stores, and also written them on blank, fancy card stock from the local stationery store. When you can afford it, have some great custom note cards designed and printed. I am excited to have connected with a brilliant graphic designer who is doing that for me as I write this. Don’t we all love to open our mailboxes and find a hand written note? It makes a great first or second impression. It only takes a few minutes each week to do this, and will make the recipient think of you, and think of you in a new light.
Hold a Class or Speak to a Group.
I’m going to call this the “try before you buy” option. For me, speaking to groups is my passion. Give me a microphone and a stage, and I am in heaven. The end game in marketing is to get in front of lots of potential clients, and the best way to do that is NOT one on one. Guess what? There are so many groups in your town that meet weekly or monthly and that have speakers at each event. Put your name in the ring as a potential speaker and start building those relationships.
Throw a Party.
Consider having an appreciation event at least once a year. It could be during the holidays, or right after the first of the year. Maybe on your company anniversary. Make it a nice event in your office, or rent a space somewhere else. Get a few snacks, have some music, invite all your clients and colleagues and have a blast. Make it a memorable and fun time. Make it something they will want to be invited to year after year. This is on my to-do list this year, and I can’t wait!
Pick one thing from this list and make it happen in the next 30 days. You will be surprised how having a new tool in place can make your marketing fun!
Amy Kinnaird has over three decades of experience in Marketing with half of that time spent working from her home office. While working at IBM for 15 years, Amy discovered a techie inside herself, a trait she continues to use and cultivate in her own business – UnCommon Sense Marketing. Amy is a Social Media Evangelist, a Marketing Consultant, and a popular speaker based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Clients find that Amy makes the technical world simple to understand and can find her where Southern Hospitality meets the World of IT, and at just about every local networking event in between! For more information on Amy, visit http://uncommonsensemarketing.com.