Marketing has taken on a new level of complexity these days. Between social media, SEO, and email, we often forget that it's not always about selling (at least not constantly). Many of us, myself included, market during face-to-face opportunities. It's important to not let those connections fall through the cracks. We never know where that next big project is going to come from.
I've built my entire company through networking and active involvement in the Tempe Chamber and I recently added the Chandler Chamber and HIMSS to my professional organization memberships, as well. I maintain my Web site, dutifully creating new content each week which is emailed out as part of a weekly blast. The information receives some response, but my best clients have come from opportunities I cultivated at a variety of networking events, many organized by the Tempe Chamber.
These relationships are important to maintain and can require time, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Think about it like someone who is gardening at home. A little time here, a little more there, and soon you have a bed of brilliant and brightly colored flowers or prize-winning vegetables. Entrepreneur Magazine recently posted a great article about how you keep in touch with that network. The most important take-away is that you need to market and communicate where those people are - whether that's social media, email, phone call, or even (*gasp*) a handwritten note.
There are ways to make this maintenance easier. Like a good gardener, you just need to put a little effort in each day, each week, to cultivate the perfect garden. SendOut Cards is a great option for that all-too-forgotten option of handwritten notes - whether it's a thank-you note, a birthday wish, or just a card to say hi.
Tools like Hootsuite make social media marketing a breeze and can even continue to post helpful links to reach your customers while you stay busy with other tasks. The platform allows you to schedule (or auto-schedule) posts to multiple social networks, so you can queue up the posts in 20-30 minutes and go on about your day.
These tools and automation are great, but never forget that business is about connecting with people and customers. Even if you're shy, make the effort to get out to a networking event (or two) every month and meet someone new. Chambers are a great way to do that, but find events your customers are going to and you'll be successful.