With all the attention on websites, SEO, email, and social media, it’s easy to get caught up in digital and online marketing efforts. It seems pretty easy and convenient, because you can work on digital marketing whenever you have the time and schedule posts or emails to happen at the right time for your customers.
But not all marketing happens online. Unless you’re strictly an online business (and very few are), you have to think about what happens offline too.
Networking to drive word of mouth
Ever heard the saying that people do business with people they know, like, and trust? It’s true. As a small business owner, you have to get out and network. It’s the best way to build relationships, connect with people, help people, and let people get to know you so they can trust you in a business setting.
You don’t want to be the person that shows up and dives straight into a sales pitch. You want to be the person who is learning about other people, asking questions, and forming that personal connection with others.
In some cases, the people you connect with might not need your services (or vice versa), but you might be able to connect each other to people who do. Those sorts of connections usually come back full circle to help your business grow over time.
Almost every community has groups that host networking happy hours, whether it’s a local chamber of commerce or a professional association. Find the groups in your area and get some networking events on your calendar!
Stand out from the crowd
Can you remember the last time you received a handwritten card in the mail thanking you for your business?
While some people and businesses do it, it’s pretty rare these days. And that makes it even more meaningful when it happens. If you follow a client’s blog or keep an eye on the business page of your local paper, you’re likely to hear about promotions or awards or other things worthy of a quick note of congratulations. In some cases, birthday cards are appropriate notes a business owner could send too. And, of course, it’s always a good idea to write someone a note of thanks for taking the time to meet with you.
Many companies send holiday gifts but think about other times of the year you can make an impression. Maybe they finished a huge project or had a milestone anniversary for their business. Sending flowers or a goody basket of some kind can make a big statement.
Ultimately, marketing (and networking) is about relationships. Take the time to think about how you can build relationships with others and make them feel special. That can go a long way in helping grow your business.