The internet offers no shortage of advice for networking, finding new business and building your follower base on social media. But rarely do we read an article or hear a bit of advice that we haven’t read before, or even tried (with less than stellar results).
One thing I’ve learned from 20 years in the marketing industry is that finding new business is not something you can ignore while your funnel is full. I’ve seen it several times: an agency or freelancer is so busy with existing clients and work that they don’t make time for selling. And then they’re shocked when the void hits – their largest client gets bought out by a competitor, or a new leader is brought in who wants to use a different agency – and just like that the well is dry and they’re scrambling to stay afloat.
You have the tools to avoid that same fate. Take 15 minutes each day to focus on new business. What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll be so overwhelmed with business that you’ll need to begin hiring a staff… and that’s a problem no one minds having. With that in mind, here are three old-school ways of drumming up new business, along with a revised tip you probably haven’t heard before, much less tried for yourself.
- Your LinkedIn profile is critical to your success as a small business.
Something Old: Pay attention to users who look at your profile. Shoot each a quick note introducing yourself and hoping to stay in touch.
Something New: When you publish a blog post on LinkedIn, pay attention to who “likes” and/or comments on the post. This offers another perfect opening to connect. Send a short note saying that you’re glad they found the article useful (customize this as appropriate) and asking to add them to your connections.
- Twitter is an ideal platform for the first stage of social selling.
Something Old: Along with your regularly scheduled tweets, look for the ones that received the most activity and promote them. This may or may not work to your advantage. Try a test first, and pay attention to the followers you gain. Are they in your audience segment? Could they represent a new audience you haven’t thought of yet?
Something New: Look for industry-relevant Twitter Chats and jump into the conversation. Twitter chats provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded people and showcase your knowledge and personality. You’re more apt to gain followers in your key audience demographic, you can showcase first-hand knowledge of your background and expertise and, best of all, you get to have conversations with people that fit your key demographic
- Social media works best when you focus on the social aspect.
Something Old: Don’t let your local LinkedIn connections gather dust. Take advantage of being in the same city and invite one local connection out for coffee each week.
Something New: Traveling to another city? Open up your LinkedIn connections and search by that city. Invite each of them (separately) to meet you for coffee while you’re in town. Use Twitter to let your followers know what city you’ll be in and invite them to meet f2f. Search beyond your connections as a way to make new LinkedIn connections in that city and grow your reach.
The one-two punch: If you don’t already, try using the Twitter-LinkedIn method for new business success. Take a closer look at your Twitter followers. Invite those that are most active with you to connect on LinkedIn. From there, invite local connections to meet f2f over coffee. Keep in touch with those outside of your location and find ways to reach out to them and strengthen the relationship.