Why You Should Attend Networking Events

The next article in our series of blog posts looking into the best marketing practices for small businesses is attending networking events.

Networking events are special events which are held with the intention of letting business owners meet other business owners and to encourage dialogue and the formation of new working partnerships between these people. These events can be great for small businesses with low budgets to form new partnerships and relationships.

The ability to successfully network is a crucial skill for any business owner, it is one of the main methods of gaining and meeting contacts and clients. Some of the advantages of networking are as follows:

  • Raising Your Profile

The ability to raise your profile and become more visible is a great benefit of networking events. Especially for small businesses who may have less disposable income available to spend on large scale marketing activities. Regularly attending and being active at networking events ca really help to raise the profile of your brand as you will be top of mind within a particular industry. If you get your brand and message regularly in front of the right people then it can help to raise awareness and visibility of your brand which can help to increase leads and referrals.

  • It’s About Who You Know

Another benefit of networking events harks back to the age old saying ‘it’s not what you know, its who you know’. If you want to have a really successful business, then you must have a solid foundation of relevant business contacts which you can call upon to help your business thrive. Attending networking events provides a great opportunity to connect and form strong relationships with people that you could potentially help you in your business ventures. These people that you have relationships will also have lists of contacts themselves who they can put you in contact with. These will often be people that you would not have had the chance to connect with otherwise.

  • To Stay on Trend

Attending networking events that are hosted or attended by multiple people who are in the same industry as you are or people who fit into your target market is a great way to get to know the current trends that are affecting the industry or the target market. The valuable information that you can gain at these events can give you a considerable advantage over your competition.

  • Recruitment

If you are looking for new employees, then business networking events can be a great place to search the marketplace. Often these networking events will be held exclusively for one industry and so there is a high chance that relevant potential employee will be in attendance. You will be able to strike up conversations with these people and make clear your need and understand their needs. There is a good chance that you may find the person you were looking for, if you don’t then you have gained one more business contact.

If you are looking to find a networking event that may be relevant for your business then this page is a great place to start.

 

 

Why YOU should be sending company newsletters

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Talk to people!

Quite simply, it’s all about communication!  A newsletter, like talking or emailing, is a simple way to stay in touch with your customers. It is all about building relationships with people.

As Seth Godin says in Buy Permission Marketing – it’s about “turning strangers into friends and friends into customers”.  A newsletter is a great way for companies to build relationships and begin to turn strangers into friends.

In this super-technical age newsletters might be seen as old-school! And whether it is printed and sent via post (how intriguing!), whether it is digitised and added to your website for people to download or whether it is  sent as a emailer, please don’t underestimate the power of a simple well-written news item.

There are many benefits to using newsletters. Its an opportunity to remind your customers that you are still there! It’s a non-salesy way of  offering a round-up of news and new products and services.  In an ideal world, they will see the news item on your product or service and head to your website to investigate.

Topics which can be included in your newsletter include:

  • Testimonials
  • New Products and Services added
  • Sales & special offers
  • Your updated Portfolio

Writing your newsletter

Firstly think about what you want to say (see the Topics above). Remember:  You’re busy, other people are busy, so get to the point and don’t waffle too much! You make you may feel you have no skills at writing, but there are ways to make it interesting.

  • Include a photograph
  • Keep sentences short
  • If you need to give more explanation don’t feel you have to write it all in the newsletter. Simply point people to your website where you can put up a longer article or snippet, or highlight your product so that people can have more information quickly.

How your newsletter should look

I’ve missed out the bit about the layout and design of your newsletter! This is because it largely depends on whether you get it printed or send out an emailer.  With Microsoft Publisher, you can follow the pre-set templates which give pleasing layouts. If you need help or advice in designing  and printing a newsletter, then feel free to get in touch, we can give you a price for the design, print and delivery of any printed publications you might need.

Your news as an Emailer

There are various methods of distributing a company newsletter. Nowadays, the most popular, and probably one of the cheapest, is through the use of email. You may decide to create a mailing list and then simply email each person the newsletter. However there are many online platforms which can help with the email process and will help you come across as far more professional. One of the most popular platforms is MailChimp. MailChimp lets you create templates for various emails, send them in bulk and track responses and views and this is currently FREE for up to 2000 email addresses.

Another popular platform is GetResponse, which currently has a free 30 day trial. This platform is similar to MailChimp and allows you to create audience segments to manage lists, it also lets you personalise each email rather than sending everyone a general email. There are many other emailing platforms and this article, even though it is from 2010, provides a really useful breakdown of each.

Beware about emailing your newsletter to people who have not opted in. There are rules in place for this and you must give recipients the option to opt out of receiving them which is why using an online solution makes sure you remain within the email marketing guidelines.

You may, however, choose to embed your newsletter on your website rather than emailing it out, this has the benefit that it is visible to everybody and not just people who have subscribed to receive it. It also has an advantage over emails in that some newsletters may get filtered into the spam folders of recipients so they will not see it, this cannot happen with this method. 

The Riverside Foods Company is a great example of a company who effectively use newsletters to engage and inform its audience. Riverside Foods includes a lot of the usual things you would find in a company newsletter such as product announcements, offers and company updates. It also goes further by adding things such as weekly recipe ideas using ingredients stocked by the company. This is a great example of an effective weekly newsletter offering added value to its customer base. 

You can sign up HERE (and type ‘newsletter’ into the contact box) to hear about all the latest news and goings on from the We Build Websites HQ.

4 Reasons Businesses Should Use Social Media

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Over the last decade or so, social media has grown into an important aspect of many peoples every day lives. Facebook has grown so fast that it now has a user base comprising one seventh of the global population and Twitter has become the number one platform for people to vent 140 characters of pent up emotions.

But social media has also become increasingly important for business. For example, a report by Social Media Examiner found that social media marketing is now a priority for many businesses. 86% of marketers place a high level of importance on Social Media and 89% say that the increase in exposure was the top benefit of using social media.

1. Improved Search Rankings

Studies have shown that the top result on search engine results pages gain 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, with traffic decreasing from there. 

Employing tactics with the specific intention if getting your website higher up the Google search rankings is a practice known as Search Engine Optimisation. How high up your website is listed on search engines is a huge issue for marketers.

The report by Social Media Examiner stated that 58% reported a rise after using social media for one year or longer and 60% of those using social media for 6 or more hours a week saw a rise in their search ranking.

Social media can help to improve a website’s search engine ranking in many ways. For example, the number of followers that a company has can significantly affect its search engine ranking. A company that has a mere 200 likes on Facebook will not gain anywhere near the ranking of a large company with millions of Facebook likes. However, social media likes and followers must be gained organically as Google and other search engines can tell if they have been bought and thus will not improve your overall search ranking.

2. Cheap to Set up & Maintain

Using social media for business is a great tool in that if you do it yourself, it is free and even if you outsource it, it is generally very cheap.

With this in mind, social media is a great, cost effective tool to use for business. Not only can you interact with your customer base but it is a great advertising medium.  For example, this enables you to promote events, services and products free of charge. Some social media platforms also give you the option of employing paid advertising tactics which are relatively cheap and let you control your budget and how much you spend on advertisements.

3. Enables Conversation with your Customers

One of the main benefits of social media or business is that it enables companies to interact with their customer and for their customers to reply. This obviously has many benefits not least that it makes the company appear much more human as they are having active dialogue with their customer base.

This two-way platform also allows the customer to have a voice and express their views in relation to the company. This can be a good thing for the company because, even if the customers are unhappy then you are able to deal with it in a timely and friendly manner and these negative perceptions of the company can turn into positive ones.

4. Increased Brand Recognition

The Social Media Examiner report tells us that 95% of marketers agreed that the use of social media increased exposure for their business. A further 93% said that using social media for over one year report that. So it makes sense that this increased brand exposure will lead to a higher level of brand recognition which is a big reason many marketers employ the use of social media for business.

Because social media allows businesses to engage and interact with their customer base it helps customers recognise your brand more easily.  If businesses are active and engaging on social media then they eventually become a household name and become top of mind for the majority of target customers.