Back in 2002, I was at Knitting Factory watching a friend from high school perform. After the show, I started talking to one of his friends, who asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a copywriter, and he held out his hand and said, “Give me your card. My company is looking for writers”
I worked steadily for his company for several years, all because I reached out and talked to someone.
There’s no denying that online marketing is powerful, but it hasn’t completely eliminated the need to network in-person – nor should it. Despite the push to virtual marketing, we still have to leave the house once in a while, so make the most of it and incorporate your business into your everyday chitchat. Here are some good places to start.
You probably know at least one couple that met at a party. Maybe a mutual friend introduced them, or they saw each other across a crowded room and one of them had the guts to make a move. You could do the same thing and make a match with a new customerr.
Personally, I’ve never been to a party where I wasn’t asked about my job, because it’s a great icebreaker. But it’s also effective for finding new leads and referrals. Think about it – everyone is there to have fun, so there’s no pressure to buy or sell. Plus, the people you’re talking to probably know the same people you do, so you already have a ready-made reference and referral.
Whether we’re buying milk at the supermarket or shopping for back-to-school clothes for the kids, we all have to run errands sometimes – and maybe wait in line to do it. Turn that wait into a way to drum up more business.
Big chain stores usually have long lines at the register. Maybe you eavesdrop on the people around you. Listen for something that points to a new potential customer or business opportunity. But remember that smaller stores could become customers themselves. For instance, if you make greeting cards or jewelry, stop by your local gift shop or mom-and-pop store and ask about selling your wares.
Your Social Circles
Maybe you have kids in school, or you’re active in your church. Or perhaps you’re part of a book club or some other fun group. Don’t be shy about using these social circles as sources of referrals and marketing leads.
Place flyers or postcards with your business name and website in your school or church (just make sure they’re appropriate for your audiences – you don’t want to offend anyone.) Talk freely about your business with friends and colleagues, especially if things are going really well. You’d be surprised how much more interested people are in working with a company that’s on the upswing.
Talk may be cheap, but it can still be profitable for your business. Make your business a part of your casual conversations, and you just may catch the ear of your next customer