Marketing means creating community — building your Village. Building your village of people who know who you are, who know what you do, and who are interested in you and your offerings, some of whom will buy from you now or in the future. Some will leave, and some will be your raving fans forever.
The best way to do this is to give first, and ask later. This is what I call the service model of marketing, or the Village Model of Marketing. Provide value and service in order to connect with your people, express your message, help them get what they want and need, and help get them to know, like and trust you.
The computers, software, and internet have made this so much easier than it ever was before. I remember when I was building my network marketing business 15 years ago, I was using index cards, a physical tickler file, my paper calendar and a phone. Now all of that can go on-line, and there are incredible ways of providing value to people through the internet. In this day and age you are really hurting yourself if you ignore or under-use the web.
But let me say this up front: the internet is a LONG-TERM strategy, rather than an immediate strategy for getting clients. You need to use it in order to build your community. Particularly to keep track of and build rapport with people who are interested in you and what you do, but who are not ready or willing to enroll with you right now. Using the internet is a foundational piece of your business and you want to use it ALONGSIDE your in-person outreach. Too many people focus on using the internet and don’t develop their ability to meet and speak to people directly and in person. This is a huge mistake that will sink your business. You cannot stay behind your computer and build your business if you are in a service-based profession. That’s just an unconscious strategy to stay invisible!
Everyone needs an in-person outreach strategy and an on-line outreach strategy. Let me explain how this works best. This is it in its simplest form:
1. Let’s say you go to an event (social, networking, women’s, sports, holistic health, entrepreneurial, Goddess, art — wherever your people hang out).
2. You connect with people, find out about them, listen, and meet one or two people who you think are potential clients of yours.
3. You ask them for their contact information (phone and email).
4. You follow up by sending them an email, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them, and sending them a link to your free gift.
5. They go to that link and opt-in by giving their name and email address, get your free gift, and now they are in your Village (ie. database). You now have their permission to communicate with them (build the relationship).
6. You call them to (1) see if they’ve gotten the gift, and (2) explore your connection and then, if it’s appropriate, ask them to schedule a complementary session with you.
7. If they say yes, you schedule the complementary session, meet them for that, and if it’s a fit, ask them to work with you. If they say yes, then you have a new client. if they say no, they are still in your Village and you build the relationship as out-lined below.
8. If they are not ready to do a complementary session, but they have opted in, you send them valuable content on a regular basis (like I do with this ezine), and apprise them of ways they can learn more from you through teleseminars and workshops you are offering. This way they are in your Village, and they are learning about you.
9. Follow up with them later (a couple of weeks or a month or two, depending on their level of interest), to see if now they’d like to do that complementary session.
10. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
If you don’t meet with people in person, your contacts with people through social media and the internet will be relatively cold, and will take more time to develop. You can do it, but it will take focus, intention, and time.
If you don’t use the internet, then building your relationship with people takes much more effort and more time. You have to call them or email them directly, invite them to work with you or to your next workshop. It puts more pressure on them to make a decision immediately without knowing that much about you.
Using the two together creates a synergistic and dynamic outreach strategy that gets you in front of your people now, and provides ways for those who want to move forward to do so immediately, and those who are not ready to get to know, like, and trust you over time.
And that, my friends, is how you build your business by creating community , by giving service and value, staying in touch without being pushy, and keeping track of people so that you can be there to serve them when they are ready.