Establishing and growing your business these days can seem like it’s all down to the web and modern marketing techniques, but is it?
People do business with people.
The gurus who explain the skills, tricks and techniques of modern, on-line marketing are keen to get you to display the personality of you and your business through the power of the web.
They would have you write blog posts and share your thoughts via social media. They would encourage you to take snaps on Instagram and tweet away to your hearts content on Twitter.
And, of course, they are right.
It all helps customers and potential customers to get a feeling of what you are like and whether they would like to do business with you. But while you are spending all this time and effort spreading the word in the digital world, don’t forget to get around and meet people in the real world as well.
If people ‘like’ your business Facebook page, they are probably going to really like you in real life.
Your community is where you live. The best place to be social is in the pub.
Of course there are some wet leisure businesses who do business all over the country. There are some that simply couldn’t exist without the Internet.
But most pool, spa and sauna businesses are built up from customers who live within 50 miles of them.
Facebook is all about building up your community of friends and engaging and interacting with them by sharing thoughts, pictures and ideas that they find useful or entertaining. Well, the lack of a pint of bitter aside, that does sound like an evening in the ‘local’.
Getting out and being ‘social’ every now and again can do wonders for your business. In the same way that you should avoid the ‘hard sell’ on Facebook, you aren’t going to walk into your local pub with a stack of brochures under one arm. But you might be surprised at just what can come from a few hours socialising; meeting old friends and reminding them what you do, being introduced to their friends, hearing the gossip and keeping your face familiar.
It’s all about staying in touch.
Engaging with your local community outside the pub is going to be of benefit too. Donating some prizes for a raffle. Sponsoring a page in the program for a classical music concert. Helping the local school keep it’s swimming pool in top condition.
It’s all helping the local community. It’s all helping to market your business.
Perhaps you should ‘tweet’ about it?
What’s ‘trending’ on your doorstep?
Twitter was launched in 2006. The name was picked because of its dictionary definition; ‘a short burst of inconsequential information’.
So, ‘gossip’ then.
Well, gossip is powerful stuff in any community. Who has just bought the big house down the road and are they having a pool built? Are the couple who own the health club thinking of renovating their spa? Did you know John who owns the holiday cottage was thinking about installing a sauna?
Good salesmen are often good talkers and they are almost always good listeners. The more you talk to people, the more you find out about them and the more they find out about you.
Communities like ‘characters’; people who are out-going. People who get involved.
The better known you are, the more likely you are to find out about possible work and the more likely you are to be recommended to someone who is looking for work to be done.
The ‘linked in’ club.
If you are looking for a business-orientated networking service, your local community is probably full of them.
There will be business networking events and groups such as the BNI but don’t forget the ‘old guard’ either.
Local Chambers of Commerce are great places to meet other business people who can provide contacts or might be potential new customers themselves.
You might also consider looking at the Rotary Club, the Lions Club or, if its appropriate, the W.I.
It’s good to meet people, make new friends and new contacts. And sometimes it’s just good to turn the computer off.