I once went to a networking event and made the mistake of asking the guy sitting next to me, “so, what do you do?” There followed, a really intense 30 second elevator pitch where the only words I caught were “inbound marketing”.  Busy trying to escape, I didn’t hear the rest of what he’d obviously practised so hard at in front of the mirror.

I wish him well, but won’t go near him again – he’s scary.

Let’s face it, there’s a fine line between explaining how you can help a customer and HOW YOU CAN HELP a customer.

Personally, I like to take a long term approach in which prospective customers get to meet me (virtually) and – way more fun – I get to meet them, through shared interests. This approach works very well if, like me, you’re an introvert and have a horror of standing up in class telling everyone your name and  business.

To this end, I’ve hitched my wagon to the copyblogger.com view of the business world i.e. write an interesting, useful blog before you hit the client over the head with GIMME MONEY or GIMME EMAIL ADDRESS.

Don’t know about you, but I like to be wooed.

This is where you can gently try and make a connection with your audience through blogs, a newsletter, website and social media:

Blogs
We need to write enough words to tell a story (300 – 500 words). Not so boring that the audience falls asleep after the first 25 (if you’re rubbish at this sort of thing, just ask me for help). Any longer than 1000 and you will fall asleep – keep it snappy and informative. With blogs, prospective customers can also be invited to sign up for your latest ebook/newsletter/teaching course etc. AND you can ask for their email address at the same time.

Website
People will only look at your website to see if you look professional. So, answer that question first, and they will (hopefully) pick up the phone. Remember, your clearly written website should tell them exactly what you sell, and how to get in contact. No fluff.

Social Media
Do make your facebook/twitter/linkedin updates more interesting than, “Look at us, we’re great”. Everyone does that – how are you different?  You’ll get more engagement from your audience if you can show how your your product can help them, how your site can be used to link to other, useful websites and social media accounts (obviously AFTER you’ve pointed out why your product/service is better than your competitors’).

This is where your blogs and social media updates can really help with business engagement. Prospective customers look at your website to see, not only how clearly written it is, but how often new posts are added – showing that your company is still current. Out of date posts are a warning sign that, no matter how well written, your company has moved on to pastures new.

Take the time to say “hello” to new followers on social media and reply to email queries. Keep them hooked by being interesting and relevant before you can build a business relationship. So, to recap:

  1. Write Blog/Newsletter – check.
  2. Unfussy Website – check.
  3. Social Media updated at least once a day – check.

And for the love of God, please make it interesting!

Sam Horsey is a journalist and copywriter. To get in contact: Phone 07549 031533 or Email sam.h@gmx.com

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