Low Cost Networking Tips for Small Business Owners
As small business owners, we make major investments in marketing through our websites, conferences, and collateral materials. To augment these more expensive efforts, here are some low-cost, easy ways to stay in touch with clients. They work, and only take a short amount of time. Commit to several each week, and watch your business grow.
- Use the 49 cent investment plan. The post office is alive and well—and even though the price of a stamp goes up, I believe it is worth it to make the impression you leave when you drop a note in the mail. Mail personal handwritten notes to your clients to say thank you for their business every time. It is a pleasant way to show your appreciation, and it keeps your name in front of them.
- Eye the news.Go through all news journals on and off line with a “marketing” eye. Create Google alerts for all key people in your universe. Send articles to clients and prospects that would be interesting to them. Attach a note saying, “Thought you might enjoy this.” It shows people that you are thinking of them and you stay on their radar screen.
- Call with a tip.When you have interesting news and information or any thoughts or suggestions, connect with a few select clients and share the news. Even leaving a voice mail says to others, “I’m thinking of you and want to keep you informed.” It also shows that you care about their businesses and want to help them grow.
- Seek advice.Everyone likes to feel needed. When you connect with a client or prospect and say, “Help me out. I’d like your advice on something,” you’re giving that person a very high compliment, which will be remembered.
- Keep the door open.Even when you lose an order or a bid, take the time to send sincere follow-up notes to let clients know that you appreciate the time and consideration they gave you.
These tips take very little time and yet have a big pay-off over time.
Networking is a life-long process. Every contact you meet offers you the chance to learn something new. These contacts enrich your life and lead you to relationships that can help you achieve your goals.