Your brand has an Instagram, a Twitter, a Pinterest, and of course a Facebook page. You are blogging and liking, and really making a name for your business on the web. But are you spending too much time online? Don’t forget that there is a world of networking away from the computer screen! Real-life networking is of paramount importance, especially for small businesses.
Studies find that the large majority of small business owners still find that in-person interactions are the most effective way to build a customer base.
Here are just a few ways to meet new potential clients and increase awareness in your community.
Yes, the dreaded trade show events. But trust me, they don’t have to be boring! In fact, they can be a lot of fun. I know too many business leaders who don’t want to go to these events because they expect them to be long hours and boring. In reality, they are one of the best ways to meet your peers and build new relationships. Shaking hands and having conversations with clients and potential clients is a simple and effective way to promote your brand’s name in your field. Trade events and conventions are a great way to tell the story of your business and generate referrals. They are packed full of people with the same interests as you, so why not go and start a conversation?
A great way to get your brand’s name out there is getting involved with what is happening in your neighborhood. For some businesses, sponsorships and partnerships with events and initiatives increase exposure and show that your brand is an active member of the community.
This can be as simple as sponsoring a summer festival or partnering with a charity event. It’s an easy and fun way to get involved and increase awareness. Having a representative of your team present shows that you care about the community and will give the community someone they can speak to and ask questions.
Sponsorship programs can also include logos on sports jerseys, high school events, and parades. Being an active and engaged member of your community builds trust and demonstrates positive and responsible leadership.
Send a thank you note
We are so used to email and Facebook messages these days that actually receiving something personal in the mail really grabs our attention. Simply sending a quick thank you note in the mail will grab a lot more attention. It shows that your brand cares and demonstrates a willingness to do something that requires a bit more thought.
Join a business network
Do you partner with other businesses in your community? You aren’t in competition with everyone, so why not leverage your relations with customers and your knowledge for shared benefits? Local business networks are great ways to support your partners and generate new business. If you don’t have a local business network, why not create one? That’s good leadership!
Yes, social media has changed the way we think about marketing in a lot of ways, but for small businesses, there is still no substitute for shaking hands and meeting new clients face-to-face. Social media is just one tool in your marketing toolbox. So put the cell phone on silent and make some new connections in your community!
For more advice on marketing and PR for small businesses, calls SRJ Marketing Communications at 214-528-577 to schedule a consultation. SRJ offers full-service marketing and communications strategies, including customer service training, web design, and advertising.