HOW NETWORKING HELPS YOUR BUSINESS
No man is an island, and no business is either. As your company goes from idea to full-fledged product and brand, networking is essential to keep your business in the public view. We’ve broken down the different relationships any business ought to foster in order to reach its full potential.
Of course, the most important networking you can do is with the clients you already have. Your clients are the reason your company stays afloat – you wouldn’t have a business if they weren’t invested in your product or service. Maintaining these relationships are essential.
Clients will be more likely to remain faithful to your company if you continue to offer them incentives. Offering deals for future products, maintaining a friendly social media presence, upholding your brand and the story behind it, and putting out an informative blog or newsletter are all ways to keep your clientele engaged and interested. This engagement can lead to a broader web presence as well as company referrals from your clients, both of which can increase traffic to your business. Ensuring your clients stay with your business and recommend your product to new members is the foundation of your company’s relationships.
A referral partner is a person or organization that is committed to directing relevant traffic to your website or business. Referral partnerships are a two-way street: they provide you with potential clients, and you provide them with a need of their own, whether that’s resources, ideas, funding, etc.
Referral partners are great sources of business. Since they are not associated with the company itself, potential clients are more likely to trust them and their opinion of your product or service. Moreover, referral partners are usually associated with your industry, so they are marketing your business to the right people. Fostering these relationships through social media campaigns and networking events are a great way to boost public interest in your business through a 1-on-1 basis.
As a company moves from idea to full-fledged product, the company often makes the mistake of staying in isolation from other organizations, both within the industry and outside it.
Networking with other businesses opens up new avenues for marketing, relationships, and business ideas. Businesses with similar goals can: host cross-promotional events; publish joint marketing material; partner up for volunteer events, etc. Joining a small business organization or attending meet and greets with other businesses can also help spark relationships and provide useful advice. Finally, taking these ideas to meet businesses outside of your industry can also introduce clients you wouldn’t normally encounter to what you and your company do!
The importance of the media cannot be understated. And, with more and more media options available today than ever before – the internet, TV, print, local advertising, small business flyers, etc. – you have the option to fine tune your marketing strategy to the right medium. But first you need that relationship.
First, make sure you are marketing yourself to the right media – different demographics rely on different news sources. When it comes to actually fostering relationships, you want to make sure that you have isolated reporters who are interested in what you do, keep your media lists up to date, and keep in regular contact with journalists. This way, the media will not only push out your brand to the right audience, but they’ll say exactly what you want them to.
What’s the most important aspect of maintaining these relationships? Keep in contact! We cannot stress this enough – the key to networking is to always follow up. Keep offering services and reaching out to your clients, maintain a regular two-way relationship with your referral partners, schedule regular meetings and events with organizations, and always keep the press updated on what you and your business are doing. As a business, you are in the public eye of the consumer, and while the work to maintain these relationships may be exhausting, the payout can be tremendous.