Be proactive. That’s my message to Virtual Assistants and small business owners who want to attract new business and make more money. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 10 years. I knew from the first day I launched my public relations and communications training company that I had to “market, market, market.” Crowds of people with money weren’t going to magically appear at my door. We have to actually DO something (translation=work hard) to build visibility, name recognition and relationships.
Here are 7 subtle things you can do to be proactive in your marketing efforts and build key relationships—with clients and prospects.
1. Know their challenges. What keeps these folks up at night? How can you help make their lives easier? Keep these two questions in mind when you are surfing the Net or reading. You’re bound to find an article, resource, video or link that you can share with them. Of course you’ll include a very brief e-mail note to let them know you are thinking of them.
2. Share information. Create a new e-mail distribution, such as a “Tip of the Week” or motivational quote that ties into your expertise (productivity, delegating, time management, success). You can easily produce a short monthly e-zine or electronic newsletter that shares resources and articles. You don’t have to be a great writer. There are plenty of tip sheets and articles online that apply to your customers. Pull a short paragraph or two, and be sure to credit the author.
3. Know their interests. When you focus on building relationships, you’ll know a client or prospects’ favorite sports team, birthday, company anniversary, favorite restaurant and more. Add these nuggets to your database. Send a handwritten note or card on important days.
4. Invite them. You may have some local clients or prospects that you rarely see. If you’re attending a business networking meeting that may be beneficial to others, ask them to join you. Build a relationship.
5. Call them—for no reason. While technology can be a beautiful thing, the sound of a human voice is oh so sweet. If you haven’t heard your client’s voice in seven days, pick up the phone for a quick “catch-up” call.
6. Send them something. Last year my accountant knew my family was struggling with a major personal issue. They mailed my husband and I a $25 gift card to Starbucks and a handwritten note saying we should take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee.
7. Refer them. Whether they are paying clients or prospects, offer referrals that can help them build their own success. They will be grateful.
Being proactive in our businesses helps avoid complacency and mediocrity. It forces us to keep moving, learning, contributing and growing. Invest the time you need to get started with these activities. Even if you begin with one hour a week, the results can be priceless.
Susan Young works with businesses and nonprofits who want to use publicity to increase their visibility, credibility and revenues. She’s the President of Get in Front Communications, Inc., a public relations and communications training company. Coaching is available. Visit www.getinfrontcommunications.com. Follow Susan on Twitter @sueyoungmedia.