We all know that if we want our businesses to expand and be profitable, we need to create an annual marketing calendar. A key component of your marketing calendar is how to attract and engage potential clients both online and off. The trick for busy mom entrepreneurs is how to get the most of our time and money when it comes to marketing.
Aside from creating a business based on your passions and gifts, one of the most enticing things about building a lifestyle business is that you can do it from anywhere, any time. In-person networking is one of the most effective ways to build partnerships and expand brand awareness, but it means time away from the family. For local events, that means hiring a babysitter and for broader reaching events like conferences and trade shows, it means travel and extended absences. The truth is, this type of marketing is time consuming and potentially disruptive to your family life.
Why Online Communities are a Marketing Goldmine
The most important part of networking is establishing and building a relationship with your audience. Fortunately, we live in a time when social media is one of the most powerful and accessible ways to engage in conversations with people around the globe. That includes niche online communities that allow you to maximize your efforts in reaching your core audience and expand your network even more.
Online communities and membership sites that engage your target audience are great places to connect with potential clients, advertisers and joint venture partners. Simply start the conversation by saying hello and asking how you can help. That’s all people will need to begin a conversation that could turn into many more opportunities for your business – something that traditional advertising will never be able to do.
Membership sites are typically built around a common interest, group support and growth in a specialized area. What makes niche communities so special is they give you the opportunity to share your message and your expertise in an environment that encourages supporting you as a business owner and as a person.
On top of that, these communities offer opportunities to expand your online presence, boost SEO and increase brand visibility. If nothing else, joining online communities elevates your visibility by simply becoming a member and getting additional links and traffic to your site. Plus many online communities offer additional training and support by skilled experts so you can grow your audience while learning new skills.
Joining online communities does not mean you can skip attending live networking events. It just gives you an additional source for meeting and connecting with people who can help you grow both personally and professionally.
Online networking challenge: When you are ready to take your online contacts to the next level, start by scheduling 1 to 3 phone calls per week with people who you have connected with online, either through social media or community sites.
If you do this, you will have connected with between 50 and 150 people by the end of the year and your potential for sales, joint ventures, partnerships and cross promotion will have grown significantly.
How does that sound for an ROI?
Are you a member of an online community that you love? How has it helped you to grow your business? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.