Marketing is the combined activities that encompass multiple tactics and strategies to give exposure to your brand, business, products and services. Networking, attending events and getting yourself out there is a very powerful way to get exposure for your brand. Here are 3 tips for maximizing your connections the next time you go out and press the flesh.
1. Have a cohesive image. You must represent your brand in all areas of business. Do you have the following:
- A website
- An email address linked to your business domain
- A professional business card
- A LinkedIn profile
- Appropriate business social media profiles
It always surprises me when I meet someone who claims to have a business and yet they haven’t taken the time or invested in creating the most basic connection points with a website, email address and professional tools. If you hand me a business card (yay, you) and it has .gmail, .yahoo or .aol then I immediately think that you are not serious about your business. Your domain and email address are legitimizers in this world of noise. Stop being lazy and make the very small investment and become legitimate.
2. Extend your connection IMMEDIATELY by connecting with your new contact on LinkedIn.
It’s simple really, just install the app on your smart phone and you can add your new contacts as a connection with a simple search. By connecting on LinkedIn, you will see your common connection points and circles of influence. It also makes it much easier to find their contact information when you are searching for them. There are also several apps that will import the data on the business card and link it directly to LinkedIn. I don’t have any to endorse because quite honestly, it doesn’t take much time to make the connection the old-fashioned tap and click kind of way.
3. If you have multiple businesses, you can only lead with ONE.
Stop trying to be the CEO of all things You and a master chef and website designer! [Insert Rant — seriously, stop announcing that you are a scattered mess.] I get it, sometimes people have multiple steams of income. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that you only get 2.5 seconds to get me interested and I’m not interested in doing business with someone who isn’t committed to their brand. When you announce that you save pigmy elephants in Africa and you make wedding cakes as a business, I immediately turn you off as a valid business person.
You only get ONE title, ONE business and ONE chance so don’t blow it. Choose what you will make the greatest connection with and stick with it. You can’t be all things to all people so stop. If you aren’t sure what you do, then stop networking until you are clear. There are too many fly by night people cluttering the meeting rooms.
Remember — networking is marketing. A successful marketing strategy clarifies your objectives for getting leads and nurturing them. Give your business the best opportunity possible by being prepared to network. Don’t wing it.