Marketing "Leave-Behinds" That Keep You From Getting Left Behind
Networking encounters are notorious for making minimal impact unless they're properly cultivated. You might come from from any given event with a stack of business cards that made sense at the time you collected them -- but not a few days later, when they all go into the circular file. Rest assured (?) that most of the cards you handed out await a similar fate. Even in a one-to-one meeting, the wealth of information you obtain from a new connection may fade from your brain more quickly than you would expect. But what if you're holding an eye-catching onesheet or brochure chock full of exciting content? Now you have a quick, handy, compelling reminder of that connection's value. Make sure your own printed "leave-behinds" make this kind of impression.
A Ready-for Prime-Time Web Presence
How do you handle that questions inevitably asked at networking events: "Do you have a website?" If you don't, you've got some explaining to do. If you do, you may feel more like apologizing for it than sending people to it. Is your web content up to date? Does it represent your current brand image, values and vision? Are your most important products and services given the proper promotion? Seriously, don't even put that next big networking event on your calendar until you've gotten these very big ducks in a row. Interested connections will most likely check out your site before they follow up with you -- not only to learn more about what you've told them, but also to get a sense of your legitimacy and professionalism. Don't let your virtual storefront let them down.
Keeping in Touch Through Content Marketing
If you've been in sales for any length of time (and let's face it, we're all in sales), then you know that it takes a minimum of seven "touches" to take a connection from initial awareness to an actual purchase. This degree of thoroughness can wear you out if you try to accomplish it entirely through old-fashioned calls -- but modern content marketing practices make it a breeze. You can create a drip email campaign, for instance, that sends out specific marketing mini-articles, special offers, and other enticements based on your connections' current positions in you sales funnel. You can also keep populating your blog (and therefore your website) with fresh, useful news, tips, and trending information as a means of turning your first-time visitors into regular guests.
Make no mistake, networking does work -- but only if you support it with effective content marketing strategies. Hire a freelance copywriter to help you generate that content, and you'll find that your getting greater value out of every in-person connection you make!