As a digital marketing strategist, it may come as a surprise to you when I tell you that online marketing strategies are not enough anymore. You can post on your social media channels every day, send out weekly emails/blogs, record consistent videos and more. But in today’s crowded digital world, it is not enough. Getting back to the basics and building relationships is the key to rounding out your entire sales and marketing plan.
Last month, I was visiting my older son in Chicago. He is an enterprise sales executive for Upwork and a die-hard sales professional. Quite the opposite of his mother. We were discussing business, as we often do, and I was complaining about how hard it was to build my business. He said to me, “Mother, you need to start prospecting. Send out emails, get on the phone and start calling people.” It felt like he was cussing at me. Definitely the last bit of advice I wanted to hear.
But deep down, I knew he was right. There are thousands of digital marketing professionals and just as many coaches. So this advice applies to you as well. In order to experience the business growth you desire, you have to return to the techniques that worked so well before digital marketing was even born.
If you’re anything like me, you have bought into all the hype about digital marketing. All around you, business owners are screaming from the rooftops about how their business has exploded from IG reels, FB lives and groups, videos on LinkedIn, well-crafted social media posts, online courses or any other shiny new digital marketing strategy. I’m not arguing that digital marketing doesn’t work. I’m merely saying that building relationships is equally important for growing your biz.
Building Relationships Through Networking
Want to know one of my pet peeves? People on LinkedIn who refuse to network and build relationships. I thought the purpose of LinkedIn is to network and grow our businesses. However, it seems to have moved more to a place of entertainment. People are deeply offended if you try to talk with them in direct messages.
If you view LinkedIn as a giant networking room, wouldn’t it make sense to approach someone to learn more about them and their business. That is what we do at a networking event, right? Yes, I realize that many people are using LinkedIn to immediately start selling. This has poisoned this social platform for those of us that truly want to network and meet new people.
Whether you use LinkedIn, networking groups on Facebook, live or virtual networking events, the point is that networking is necessary to increase your visibility and start building professional relationships. The more people you know, the more you can support one another in your business growth.
Building Relationships Through Joint Partnerships
Many business owners are afraid of their “competition” (i.e. other business owners in their own or different space). In my opinion, there is no competition. If you are a business coach, you have the opportunity to build relationships with other business coaches, and you should. Just because you share the same occupation, it doesn’t mean you work with the exact same clientele. It’s also entirely possible that one client who is not a good fit for you could be a perfect fit for one of your colleagues.
As an OBM and marketing strategist, I regularly network with other business professionals who do the same thing as me. Because everyone has their own unique angle, personality, specializations, etc. For example, I partner with another marketing agency that does many of the same things as we do. However, one area they specialize in that we don’t is FB/IG and Google Ads. Some people would view us as competitors. But I see us as partners.
Another great way to form joint partnerships is by finding businesses that complement your own. For instance, because my clients are coaches and course creators, great strategic partners for me would be coaches who coach coaches, brand strategy experts, or businesses that help coaches create their own courses. None of these business owners typically provide done-for-you marketing services but they work with clients who need that. So think about your own niche and ask yourself who you could strategically align with to form a joint partnership.
Building Relationships Through Referrals
One of the best ways to build great relationships in business is by doing a great job for your current clients. There is nothing more powerful than providing high-touch and white glove service for your clients. If your clients are happy with your services, they will not hesitate to recommend you if the opportunity arises.
If you have been networking and building joint partnerships, referrals will also come from these business owners. The key to building relationships through referrals is to take good care of them. Entrepreneur magazine gives some great tips for nurturing referral relationships in this article.
Building Relationships Through Social Media
As a digital marketing strategy, social media is another great way to build relationships. If you have a social media plan in place, posting regular content is not the end all be all. It doesn’t stop there. You have to interact with your audience and build real, authentic relationships with your followers.
All too often, I see business owners post content and think the content alone will grow their business. Nothing is further than the truth. It is “social” media. Socializing and engaging in conversations on social media is absolutely necessary. Talk to your audience. Respond to their comments. Ask them questions and have a sincere conversation when they answer.
Drop into their direct messages and get to know your followers on a deeper level. So often, your followers have been reading and liking your content for a while. They need to know there is a real person on the other side eager to engage and build a deeper connection. It’s only through meaningful relationships that you will convert them to clients.
Building Relationships Through Prospecting
Just like with digital marketing, building relationships through prospecting requires us to embrace visibility. There are mindset shifts we need to explore before we can fully benefit from this strategy. When my son suggested I start prospecting, he politely handed me a book by Jeb Blount called “Fanatical Prospecting.”
Admittedly reluctant to start reading it, I actually am quite enjoying the book now. One of the best chapters in this book is Seven Mindsets of Fanatical Prospectors. Blount outlines the seven qualities needed to be great at prospecting.
- Fanatical prospectors have a winning, optimistic attitude.
- Fanatical prospectors are competitive. They are hardwired to win.
- Fanatical prospectors approach prospecting with confidence.
- Fanatical prospectors are relentless and have a high need for achievement.
- Fanatical prospectors are thirsty for knowledge – they welcome feedback and coaching.
- Fanatical prospectors are systematic and efficient – they execute on their plan.
- Fanatical prospectors are adaptive and flexible. They have acute situational awareness.
There will come a time in your business where you will have to prospect to continue to grow. Digital marketing, referrals, joint partnerships, and networking will only carry you so far. That is why every growing organization eventually builds a sales team. Prospecting is the only way to start building relationships with potential customers you’ve never met, and know nothing about you and your business.
I will never, in a million years, tell you that you don’t need a digital marketing strategy if you are growing a business. But I will also recommend that your approach to sales and marketing is well-rounded. It’s important to get back to the basics and start building relationships.
Looking for a digital marketing agency that provides high-touch done-for-you marketing services? Specializing in content marketing, launch support services, and funnel building, we’d be happy to partner with you on your growth strategies. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.
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