Business development is a necessary and ongoing part of growing a business, whether that business is online or offline. It’s about creating long-term value for your clients and industry, value which ultimately is the lifeblood of a successful business. How you create that value and get it to your ideal market is key to growing your business. Identifying opportunities to reach your market is a crucial step in business development plan. You have to know your ideal market and you need to know how to connect with that market. This is where strategic partnerships, social media engagement, networking, and referrals come into play. Notice I did not say social media. I said social media engagement – there’s a huge difference. Anyone can create a social media post, but actively commenting on others posts or following up with those whom have commented on your posts is important and a quick way to expand your reach.
Quality not quantity – key business development tactic
Business development relies on strong relationships. In the offline world of marketing creating those valuable relationships may be through referrals or attending networking events or traditional prospecting. In the online world those relationships are built through blogging and social media. Blogging allows you to share your personality and your expertise with your market. Social media offers the opportunity to connect with your market. However, you’ll never build a relationship with your followers if you don’t take the time to engage with them. You don’t need to have tens of thousands of followers, nor do you need to cover all social media platforms. Pick what works for your business. If your clients are on Instagram, then spend your efforts building your Instagram account. If they’re on LinkedIn, great, work the linkedIn groups that make the most sense for your business. Comment on other people’s articles or posts and manage it until you truly have a handle on it.
You cannot be be in all places – even in the online world – so don’t kill yourself trying to do what everyone else may be doing. There’s something about the fact that social media is online, that seems to give people the misconception that they can be everywhere at once. Yes, you can quickly add posts to multiple platofrms, heck you can schedule and automate your posts, but business development is about quality not quantity. Similarly, I could attend several networking events a week, but if I’m not building relationships with my ideal clients, then I’m wasting my time.
Business development tactics that open a world of opportunities
In order to truly grow your business you must have a plan, and work that plan consistently. We are living in an age that’s made it easier than ever before to reach a wider audience in a shorter amount of time simply through technology. Whether you have an offline or a web-based business, you will need a plan to grow your business. One that puts you in front of your ideal clients regularly and builds solid relationships with those clients. The fastest ways to do that is through networking, which may begin offline at events or mixers but can quickly be expanded through social media, leading to strategic partnerships, multiple business opportunities along with additional prospects. Know which platform(s) your clients are on, take the time to learn that social media channel, look into the groups on the channel, post value based, helpful content (not sales pitches), ask for feedback and always take the time to reply to those people who have bothered to leave a comment.
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