How you’re marketing your business should always be at the forefront of your operations. The hardest part is often deciding what methods to use, and what’s going to work best for your business. The options today are endless, with everything from public relations to social media and to the more traditional options that have been around awhile. But have you considered using your business relationships as an option? Below we’ve got our top tips for how your network can help bring in new business.
Expanding your network
The first thing you’ll want to do is sit down think about who you know in your market. Who are the people that you work with regularly? Who are the people you haven’t yet worked with but would like to? That should give you a good starting place of who to start reaching out to and getting to know a little better. If you’re someone who is new to the market, then take this opportunity to start networking at local events and get your name circulating.
Develop the relationship
Once you’ve established contact, don’t take it for granted. The last thing you want is for your efforts to have been for nothing. Introduce a system into your workflow to develop and maintain those relationships. Stay in touch on a regular basis with things like birthday and holiday cards, connect on social media and engage with them on any big and exciting news they may have. Use the art of surprise and delight by going above and beyond with a small but memorable gift. Think free coffee or a funny notepad. Anything that is going to keep your name in the back of their minds.
Refer the competition
This may seem illogical, but believe it nor not, your competitors can be an important part of your marketing and sales team. We all know that there are never enough days in the year or hours in a day, and making accommodations for every prospective client just isn’t possible. By sending the ones that you can’t book over to a trusted competitor that produces events at the same level you do, it will speak volumes to them, and hopefully they will return the favor to you at some point. Having a referral system, even with a competitor, can only benefit you and strengthen your business.
Referrals are such a big part of the events industry, and the stronger your network is in the community, the more likely you are to get them in droves. Invest the time in your relationships, you won’t be sorry.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.
See Meghan Ely at #Catersource 2018
Click here to view Meghan’s session (and others) at Catersource 2018 in Las Vegas, February 18–21.