Expanding your contact list is a surefire way to drum up new business. It’s simple: the more people that know about you and your business, the more money you’re going to make. There many strategies you can use for effective networking like joining an industry club, going to conventions and simply just meeting new people and telling them about your business.
For smaller businesses the best marketing tool you have is your handshake and a smile. Consumers like to give their money to people they know, even if it costs them a little bit more. When someone knows you personally they trust you more, and they will trust that you are providing them with a solid product.
Networking is all about getting your name out there, participating in your community and becoming known for being trustworthy, easy to get a hold of, and someone who will get the job done. By setting a good example and holding yourself up to a higher standard, you’re letting others know that you’re willing to work hard and make smart decisions.
Essentially any time you are participating in a group event, you have the opportunity to expand your business contacts. However, there are activities that you can participate in that will get you in front of people who are in a position to take advantage of the goods or services your business has to offer.
Trade exhibitions, conferences and conventions are obvious network havens, but they can be expensive affairs and you’re probably going to only attend a few a year. For small businesses the cost of admission to many conferences are beyond their means. There are a ton of other ways you can network in your town for little or no cost.
- After work networking events
- Fundraising events
- Joining an industry club or society
There are some things you can do to make it easier for people to remember you. Using the right print marketing materials can make sure that people keep you and your business in mind.
Not matter what kind of networking event, meetup or social gather your attending, exchanging contact information with your new contacts is pivotal. The easiest way to give someone your information is by handing them a business card. It’s fast, portable and pretty much everyone has one. As we always say, when someone asks you for a business card the worst answer is “I don’t have one.”
Business cards are extremely affordable so they are accessible for organizations with very small budgets. Placing a few in your wallet or bag may seem like a small thing, but when you carry cards with you, you’ll be astonished at how many you’ll give out, and how many call backs you’ll get as a result!
Putting a QR code on the back of your business card can also make it easier for people to put your contact information into their phone. There are several different services that will generate a QR code for you like qrickit.com or QR-Code-Generator.com. The QR code will help you bridge the divide between the analog and digital worlds and make saving your information quick and easy for anyone with a smart phone.
If you’re attending a conference, or trade expo, having a few brochures on you is helpful when explaining your business to others. When you're making your rounds on the floor it’s especially nice to have brochures to trade with other attendees and exhibitors. When you visit another businesses table, take one of their brochures and give them one of yours. This is common practices and often the first step to doing business with each other.
The fact is, people are going to ask for your brochure, and if you don’t have one, you’re missing out on an opportunity and leaving money on the table for no reason. there is no excuse for not having some brochures with you. The best part is that brochures are very affordable and, like business cards, they are accessible to the smallest of businesses.
As we discussed in our post, how to design an effective sell sheet, providing potential customers with with a well thought out and detailed sell sheet can help them make the best buying decision for themselves. Sell sheets are essentially a kind of flyer and are very affordable. Keeping a few in your briefcase, backpack, or even the trunk of your car will prove to be very handy. You never know when you’ll come across someone who may be in need of the products and services you offer.
If you are exhibiting or attending a trade expo, you may have a variety of marketing materials that you are presenting to others. Instead of handing them an unorganized stack, putting everything together neatly into a low-profile pocket folder will ensure that they don’t lose what you give them. Also, putting your materials in a folder means that your potential client may hold on to them longer. Even if it is just two or three marketing pieces, putting them in a neat folder boosts your company's credibility and professionalism.
Conquest Graphics offers affordable high quality single pocket folders that are perfect for every small business. Our Quick-Ship pocket folders arrive flat and require no glue, saving both time and money on assembly cost. Simply fold and tab the single pocket folder together and place your marketing documents, along with a business card, in them for a clean and tidy presentation folder.
Networking is one of the best ways to get your name out there when starting your small business, or attracting new customers to an already established business. Getting you and your team out into the community in any capacity boosts your visibility and in turn helps your business. Make sure that when you step out into the world that everyone knows what you do, that you're the best at it, and you're ready to help them when the time comes.
Putting together the above marketing materials and keeping them handy will help you achieve greater success in your community and boost your word of mouth.