When you start a new business it can be difficult to know where to get started with marketing. Or maybe you’ve been at this a while but your sales have stalled and you’re looking for a new way to get things moving.
Either way you’re far from alone. Despite all the hype around dropshipping at the moment, selling online still takes work. So if you’re not making 1 million dollars a month yet, that doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you normal.
Like Barbara Corcoran says, “The minute someone starts feeling sorry for themselves, they’re not an entrepreneur because you don’t have that luxury in life.”
With that said, let’s talk about how to leverage and build your network to boost your marketing and sales.
Networking and Business Growth
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “no man is an island” before right? Well it’s true, so don’t try to be one! When you’re building a business your network can be one of your greatest strengths or greatest weaknesses.
No one wants to look at friends and family as “assets,” so don’t! Good networking (real networking) is all about forming relationships and providing value to each other. It’s not about just using another person to further your business.
Networking is the lifeblood of business because it can help you learn, grow and meet new people who you can help and who can help you create buzz about your business. It’s all about making valuable connections. If you’re new to networking it might feel uncomfortable at first but getting your name and business out there is how you’re going to grow your business.
And if you don’t think applies to you as an online supplement seller, you’re wrong! Collaborating with other businesses online is a great way to build your network and your business. From Youtube to Instagram, when brands collaborate, they win.
Think of it this way, if you don’t tell people that you’re an entrepreneur trying to grow your online supplement business, how will they know? How can they help if they don’t know?
And guess what, you probably have way more people that would love to root for you than you think.
Here are few ways to leverage and build your network in order to boost your marketing.
Single Out Your Inner Circle
First things first, you need to single out your inner circle. As you look through your contacts on your phone, email or social media, etc., pinpoint which of these people are closest to you. Look for people that you know personally. People that you think would naturally be willing to help you because they like you and want to see you succeed. Reach out to them and tell them about your new business endeavor. Let them know about your new supplement business and tell them about your goals.
Mike Kafka, CEO of Roo Outdoor, said, “While building a marketing campaign for my Roo Inferno’s Kickstarter launch, I personally contacted 30 of my closest friends and family to help me build buzz around the project. I asked them to forward emails, post pictures and tweet until their fingers fell off. It worked!”
It’s up to you how much you want to ask of your inner circle but first ask yourself if you would willing to do the same for that person. Don’t ask someone else to do for you what you wouldn’t be willing to do for them. It’s a great rule of thumb to follow if you’re worried about coming off too strong.
Build New Relationships
Once you’ve identified your inner circle, it’s time to start making new connections and building new relationships. This doesn’t just mean starting from scratch either. Rekindling old connections counts too. Someone you met at a conference a while back or old co-workers/classmates work for this too. Having the connection opens the door it your job to actually build a relationship with that person. If you’re nervous about going in cold this is a great way to practice as you have some common ground to break the ice.
Another way to make new connections is by reaching out to any networking groups that you might have access to. Be that alumni networks or small business organizations in your local town. Again just because you’re an online business doesn’t mean you can’t start local with your network.
Lastly you could always join new organizations or attend networking events. This would be the most “cold-calling” option available. At the same time you know that everyone there wants to make new connections. You can count on the fact that they’re in a similar boat to you.
Use Your Personal Social Media
Posting about your business on social media is ok as long as you’re not being obnoxious about it. Multiple hard sales posts a day isn’t what people want to see. Instead share what you’re doing with you business. Document what’s going on and maybe share a few sales posts here and there.
Posting on your own personal social media accounts can feel nerve wracking because it’s so public in your own day-to-day life but building a business is about putting it all out there. You can also create a Facebook page for your business and invite your Facebook friends to like and follow it too.
Sharing your business with your social media network can not only help to create buzz but keep you accountable as well. When your own friends and family can see what your posting for your business you definitely want to make it good!
Bring Value to Others
The number one thing to keep in mind as you’re trying to build your network is to bring value to the table. No one wants to feel used or abused. Networking should be a two-way street of give and take. Before you even think about asking someone for a favor, ask them what they need and how you can help.
This could be putting them in touch with someone you know that can help them reach their goals, helping them yourself or even sending them an article or information you think might be helpful.
Just remember that if you ask someone what they need or how you can help, they might not know right off the bat. Instead, ask them what they’re working on right now and find out what they’re struggling with or where they’re stuck. They might be too polite to actually ask for your help but most people love to talk about themselves.
If you can prove you’re an ally up front and not just someone looking to get something for nothing, your connections will be much more likely to want to help you in return.
Just like in any other area of business building your network takes time! Don’t try to rush things if you can help it. That’s an easy way to lose a connection and damage your reputation and the reputation of your business.
If you’re launching a product in a week, now isn’t the time to reach out to someone and ask for their help. You wouldn’t ask a new friend to help you move a week after you met, would you? Hopefully not because that is not new friend protocol.
If you are feeling impatient with the process just remember these wise words,“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Networking is an important part of building any company even an online supplement business. If you’re struggling with knowing where to start marketing your supplements start with your network. Your network can help you grow your marketing and overcome struggles with your business. Just don’t forget to give back too!
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