There are three things that are certain in this crazy world.
Death, taxes and technology.
Wait a second. Technology?
Since the beginning of time, our cavemen and women ancestors have been finding all kinds of clever ways to make life easier. The wheel was a good idea. So were electricity, running water and medicine.
Trains, planes and automobiles made us mobile long before our phones did and duct tape has stuck around.
And where would we be without GPS? I, for one, would be driving in circles. Just ask my wife.
And let’s not forget about the single most impactful communication tool on the planet – the Internet. With the help of social media and our always-connected (and beeping) smartphones, we’re more connected now than ever before.
But is that good or bad?
It’s bad because the world feels like it’s spinning faster and faster. It’s hard to keep up.
However, it’s good since we can connect with virtually anyone on the planet within a few seconds, and that’s great for business.
Imagine a world
What if people came to you when thinking about what you do?
What if you could find and connect with your perfect prospect right now?
What if you could nurture thousands of relationships all at the same time?
Punch line. You can. Really.
And, with the help of the social web, it’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds.
All it takes is some knowhow and a little time.
Only so much time in the day
Of course, for most of us, our single biggest challenge is time, or, more specifically, the lack thereof. There are only so many hours in the day to handle all of our time-robbing emails, tasks, clients, employee issues and other general business stuff. In addition to that, there’s the personal side of life – which is why most of us work to begin with.
And, while technology can absolutely help us do more with less and reach more people, it also moves very quickly.
In fact, as I type this sentence, something’s changing. It’s the world in which we live.
But that doesn’t mean that we should sit around thinking about the “good old days” when the Yellow Pages and cold calls made up the entire marketing plan.
It’s time to think differently.
So, to get us moving in the right direction, here are a few ideas to position you and your business for the weeks, months and years ahead.
All roads lead home
First things first. Take a look at your website. It’s often the first impression people have of you and the business. What does it say about you? When was the last time it was updated? Can people tell what sets you apart from the company down the street that does the same thing? Does it work on smartphones? Are you showing “credibility indicators” such as testimonials, membership associations and customer logos?
It’s no longer good enough to be good enough. Back in the day (just 5 – 10 years ago), simply having a website was good enough. These days, it’s your most critical public-facing business asset. Even if you don’t actively use the website to generate leads, be sure to treat it with the love and attention it deserves. If you do, you’ll immediately be different than most other businesses stuck in the past.
More than connection requests
Quick story. A few years ago, I needed to get into a very large, well-known consumer brand company. There was just one little problem. I didn’t know anyone there.
So, how was it that I was sitting down with them at the boardroom table the following week?
Using LinkedIn’s free search, you can find just about anyone. You can even narrow your results to those prospects within a specified distance from your business and see who you have in common to make the initial connection that much easier.
The untapped power of LinkedIn is quite amazing. It should absolutely be a tool in your business development toolbox.
Find the needle in the haystack
Do you know that you can get in front of your perfect target audience immediately – such as people living in and around your town looking for the exact product or service you provide? Yes, you can get that specific. With paid ads on social media, not only is it possible, but also very effective.
And the best part is that you only pay (usually cents, not dollars) when something happens (usually a click to your website). In short, it’s cost effective and it works. You can even set a daily budget (perhaps $10) and see what’s working using simple reports.
So, even when you’re sleeping, it’s working for you. Now that’s smart!
Lead with education
How much time do you spend educating people about what you do?
Sharing knowledge is a great way to build trust, showcase what you know and highlight what makes your product or service truly different.
There are many ways to do this, such as blogging, writing articles for other publications (preferably in an industry you’re targeting), posting information on social media and even sending short, interesting emails to prospects and clients on an ongoing basis (not just randomly when you feel like it).
So, think bigger with your education. You have the knowledge. Share it!
Business as usual, except when it’s not
Sure, technology is confusing at times. It’s hard to know what to use and what’s a passing fad.
But it’s refreshing to think that, at its core, business is still about relationships. We just have some amazing tools today that we didn’t have yesterday. That’s the difference.
And while this breakneck pace of change can be dizzying, it also represents an opportunity that we haven’t seen since the California Gold Rush.
It’s just up to us to take advantage of it, before it’s too late.