If you are looking to grow your business, you will want to consider widening your circle of influence online. You have certainly heard how important ‘word of mouth’ marketing is. That is because almost half of all Americans will ask their friends and family for advice when they shop for services.
Online networks are very powerful resources. Establishing relationships with people you meet online can certainly help you grow your business.
You will want to do a little market research in the beginning. Think about what type of business you are in and where your target market will congregate online. You can choose to explore business-to-business networking by joining a site such as http://www.linkedin.com. John Kerry and Bill Gates both belong to this site, for instance. With this site, you can network with other business people and have the opportunity of forming partnerships and sharing clients.
You can also approach people that you want to do business with directly. Send them an email and let them know you visited their site. Let them know what your intentions are, such as teaming up together on a joint project, sharing leads, referrals, etc.
An alternative to that would be to go directly to your target market. If you have a website that is focused on pet care, find other websites that have a similar theme. Some of them may have a message board or forum. By participating in the forum posts, you can get to know other pet lovers who may be interested in the products on your website.
When visiting a message board, go there with the intentions of helping people, not yourself. If someone posts a question and you have some feedback for them, post back. You can put some information in your signature line about your business. If people who view your posts find your information helpful, they may click on your signature link to learn more about your business. You will not gain any clients by simply spamming boards with ads about your business.
A blog will also help you expand your circle of influence online. A blog will help establish trust between yourself and your website visitors. They will get to know you and look at you as an expert. When they, or someone they know, are in need of your service, they will turn to you.
You may want to ask a question and let your readers respond. They will enjoy the interaction and can also give you some great feedback for future projects you are considering.
As you build your circle of influence, you will have people coming to you, asking if they can hire you. You will be able to maintain a growing client base and will save money on advertising.
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.