3 Ways to Drive New Opportunities
If you’re like most business owners there have been times when you’ve been frustrated with not having enough customers or revenue. You do great work, you offer great products – shouldn’t there be a line out the door looking to buy from you?
Sadly it just doesn’t work that way. There’s too much noise and too many distractions for customers to even know where your door is – much less beat a path to it.
But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck – it just means that you need to do some basic marketing activities that will help people find you and make it easy for them to raise their hand and ask for more information.
You should have a great website and other effective marketing materials that make sense for your industry (brochures, one sheets, white papers, videos, business cards, articles, podcasts… the list goes on and on). But more importantly than those passive tools, you should also have some active, consistent tactics that will help you get in front of the right people.
Here are 3 ideas that might help you.
3 Marketing Tactics you should be consistently using
Networking – It’s kind of old-school and you might feel like it’s a waste of time, but the reality is that people do business with people, even in today’s online, social media world. That means relationships matter and a great way for you to get in front of your best opportunities is via networking or introductions that come out of networking.
There are a lot of different ways to network – and although there is value and a reason to go to large networking social events, perhaps the most effective networking is done on a much smaller scale. Here are two recommendations for effective networking that you can do consistently.
Meet 1 on 1 with connectors or people who are likely to have contact with your best clients. Reach out to people you already know (use LinkedIn or just ask some friends) and set up a coffee or a lunch at least a couple of times a week with the express intent of learning how you can help that other person… and letting them know how they can help you.
One great resource you should check out is the book Coffee, Lunch, Coffee by Alana Muller. She does a great job of breaking this idea down (it’s how she built up her business).
The other networking approach that you should be using is being part of 1 (or more) small groups of professionals who tend to work with the same kinds of clients you work with. This should be a group of 8 to 15 or so people who get together at least once a month and actively find ways to help each other succeed. It may take you awhile to find the right group (or create one) but it can have a huge impact on your efforts once you do.
Have something to invite people to – This is a simple idea that anyone can do. You should have an ongoing regular event that you can invite networking partners and/or potential prospects to. It could be monthly, quarterly or even something in between – as long as it’s consistent and ongoing.
The event could be educational or it can be fun. It could be free to attendees or you could charge something for it. But whatever you do, it should be something that gives you a chance to interact with people in a positive way.
As an example, I host a monthly Business Book Review where attendees can network and learn and talk about the big ideas from a great business book. A friend of mine hosts a happy hour event every couple of months and will often have a topic of discussion to go along with the social aspects. There are lots of things you can do – try something and see what might work for you.
Add Value to Everyone You Meet – This last one might be more of a mindset than a tactic, but it’s still important. As you start networking consistently and hosting people to your regular event, the approach behind all of those things is to add as much value as you can.
I’m not suggesting that you give away the farm or offer up your products or services for free – don’t do that. But what you can (and should do) is find simple ways to help people out. That could be making an introduction that will help them (or even a referral if it makes sense).
It could also mean finding an easy way to educate them or sharing a resource that answers a question or challenge they might have i.e. you could share this blog post. 😉
The important thing is that you go into all of these interactions with a focus on helping others. This works because it takes to pressure off of you (you’re not selling or trying to sell) but it also positions you as someone they can trust…. and they’ll appreciate your efforts and they’re likely to do something good for you in return. Plus it’s just a more fun way of doing things.
What do you think? Are you consistently doing these 3 things? Are they helping you grow your business? If not – why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them below.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach