Exactly one year ago I began writing blogs and over the course of the year I’ve really gained a lot of knowledge about the process of blogging. The early blogs were easy to write as I had a lot of topics pent up inside me just waiting to be expressed. As the weeks went by and I began to run out of pre-established topics I needed to find a source for inspiration. Current events became my source as there was always something or somebody that I felt was “blog worthy”. The biggest challenge in writing my blog was making the current event relevant to business and expressing it in such a way that the blog was an interesting read. However, not matter how interesting the blog, I learned that if the headline wasn’t interesting or provocative people wouldn’t read it. I also discovered that the people who read my blog weren’t all that interested in commenting on it. In fact, other than a couple of friends who commented out of courtesy the only comments I’ve received are from automated responders that seek out blogs and make comments that are unrelated to the blog. In essence, blogger spam.
Spam, the curse of the Internet has migrated from email to blogs and even to some extent twitter. While I understand the motive for promoting through spam I really don’t understand why anyone would purchase a product from a spammer. Aren’t they afraid of giving their credit card information to someone who will use it for their own personal gain? Evidently there are enough people who are not afraid as there seems to be an increasing number of spam messages.
Okay, here’s the kicker … how this relates to business. In my firm, as in most real estate firms, there has been a strong reliance on “farm mailings” up until the last few years. The “farm” was a geographic area that we were interested in concentrating on in hopes of cultivating new clients and maintain relationships with existing clients. These mailings informed the recipient of services offered or properties that were listed. The success rate was low but with persistence
we were always able to get enough business to make it profitable. “Farm mailings” were in essence the spam of the time. Realizing that my mailings were being just as well received as email spam I’ve slowly started to move away from this form of marketing and concentrate more on networking. Networking is less costly than “Farming” but more time consuming, however over time it does prove to be a more effective way to obtain new business and retain existing business.
There are several ways that a business owner can start a networking marketing plan. The easiest is establishing a list of the people you already know and do business with. This is a natural place to start because there will be much less stress as you practice and hone your skills on an audience that is receptive to you. It is during these one-on-one meetings that you can develop your network further by requesting the names of people who may be interested in hearing about your
firm and its offerings. After working through this list you are now ready for a big leap into the world of networking. With your “Elevator Speech” honed you are now prepared to join networking groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce. If you really want to take a giant leap into networking visit LinkedIn.com and sign up for an account. I don’t have enough room in this blog to do LinkedIn justice, but suffice it to say LinkedIn has done for business entrepreneurs what FaceBook has done for family and friends … connect.
If your still not sure how to go about networking seek some help from one of the many marketing companies that specialize in this area, or better yet contact me and I’ll be glad to share what I know. Isn’t it amazing what a difference a year