Effective and low cost marketing tips for freelancers
Want to make your business networking more effective? Use these networking tips to build relationships that help bring in business.
Business networking is an effective low-cost marketing method for developing sales opportunities and contacts, based on referrals and introductions. Business networking involves making connections not only with likely customers or clients, but also with other individuals who might refer business to you, or mention your name in some positive way to people they know.
Here are few of the most important principles for effective business networking:
Make sure your website is fully polished
You’re representing your best work and your marketing story through your website. There’s no point in generating leads and then having them land on a half-finished, ill-conceived website, is there? No one likes getting on an escalator to nowhere.
The reason it’s called an elevator pitch is that it should be short enough to present during a brief elevator ride. Done right, this short speech helps you introduce yourself to career and business connections in a compelling way. It can help you build your network, land a job, or connect with new colleagues on your first day of work. Your elevator speech shouldn’t be more than 5 minutes.
You should be comfortable with your elevator pitch which is a 1–5 minute bull’s eye explanation of your core services and value proposition. The best practice is to rehearse both a one-minute and a five-minute version of your pitch. You shouldn’t deliver your pitch in one go as a presentation.
More Effective and low cost marketing tips for freelancers
Always remember to trust yourself and the quality of your business and product; otherwise, no one else will. There’s no difference between trying to get investment capital or to pitch your new business services to a potential client at a networking event. You have to believe that your product is worth buying and can add value to your client. If you don’t believe in the quality and value of your product, no one else will. On the other hand, if you do know that you can add value to potential clients’ businesses, then it won’t be difficult to develop your elevator pitch.
Update your LinkedIn profile
One great way to network is to join professional groups online, including those on LinkedIn. It’s important to focus on groups where potential buyers of services hang out. Write your personal statement and include key phrases and keywords related to your business. Set up your company page on LinkedIn and claim your custom LinkedIn URL. Once you’ve established who is/isn’t helpful in your network, focus your efforts on encouraging the helpful folks, but don’t be pushy and don’t be spammy.
Where do you find offline networking opportunities? Try some of these places to find leads:
- Your professional body’s (e.g., the professional association that represents people who do what you do’s) website – they will hold conferences, trade shows or at least be involved with those that do.
- Your local Chamber of Commerce (or if you’re overseas, your embassy’s Business/Trade group) – local networking events through these channels may or may not require membership of the group; so, you should weigh this cost up against the potential business to be gained.
- Google – you can always search for trade fairs, networking meetings, etc., too.
Find a Reason to Follow Up
There are two main reasons for the importance of following up:
- Networking only produces good results when it is followed up.
- Following up with contacts builds trust, reputation, and relationships.
Making connections is only half the battle; you also have to take steps to keep the relationship going. Even if you aren’t currently job hunting, strive to reach out to your contacts a few times a year to follow up. You could forward a relevant article, invite them to a seminar or conference, or even just send a friendly note during the holidays. If you find that you are not wanting to follow up meetings and referrals because of lack of relevance then you can re-examine your group targeting strategy. You might be chasing the wrong groups and connections, and could need to redefine these issues.
Speak at Networking Events
Focus on your marketing story while showing how your services can solve problems for your customers. Don’t deliver an advert; deliver useful, valuable information – tailored to your audience. Give away helpful advice. Don’t hide the important stuff. By educating your audience, you demonstrate expertise which gives those, who are going to outsource, confidence in your abilities.
Ensure that you leave time for audience interaction. If the time slot is 30 minutes, speak for 20 and keep 10 for questions. Most of the value in presentations comes from the Q&A sessions at the end. Try and keep things light-hearted and uptempo. These sessions can become tedious if you don’t.