When you’re trying to promote your own business, people often say that it’s all about connections.
Unfortunately, the advice tends to stop there. How do you meet people? More importantly, how do you keep track of everyone? Networking opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, from the workshop to the convention, but the most frustrating part can be remembering who you talk to and what those people do.
This is precisely the problem with which Jill Singer, founder of Jill Singer Graphics, recently wrestled.
“I’m involved with so much networking, and many people I meet are also networking all the time,” she explains. “It’s a continuous challenge to stay on top of it all. Meeting and staying connected with people can be tough, too.”
Her graphic design firm, based out of White Plains, N.Y., has been helping clients to create professional-looking promotional materials for almost 30 years. And, as a one-woman show, she has had to mostly rely on networking and self-promotion to get the word out about her services.
At the end of a hard day of networking, Jill would always have business cards scattered in the bureau, a few in her wallet, and some contact information in her iPhone. It was overwhelming to remember who was interested in her business. This past August, that all changed when a client asked her to help with his Constant Contact Email Marketing campaign.
“He was really tricking me,” she laughs, “because he knew that it would be a great tool for me to use, too. And he was right.”
Following Up Through Email
Once Jill started using Constant Contact (and getting permission to send messages to those people she had met), she suddenly found that she had one safe place to put all of the information she exchanged at networking events — and even better, a way to stay in touch with those people.
“Emails gave me a great way to highlight pieces from my portfolio. So now if someone asks to see a sample of my work at a seminar, I can just tell him that I’ll send him an email,” she explains. “Email marketing is an easy way to stay organized and stay in touch."
As a graphic designer, Jill found that she was most successful when she displayed the work she had done for previous clients. That means most of Jill's emails include testimonials and marketing materials she has designed, along with a great subject line.
For example, October’s subject line read: “Moved to Action by a Good Story.” The email explained how important it is for small businesses and organizations to tell the stories of their customers and members to spice up white papers, reports, and other documents to encourage people to read, then showcased an example of Jill’s work that touched on the same subject.
Jill's emails always have very economic copy and one central theme & image.
Jill gets a lot of return emails, too, whether people are complimenting the work or are interested in her services.
In fact, Jill says that she gets at least one new client per newsletter — a pretty remarkable return considering she has only been using email marketing for the past six months.
Getting the Word Out
To really promote her emails, Jill often uses Constant Contact's Simple Share feature, so she can share the advice with fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and contacts on LinkedIn. For example, “Ask for what you want!” email, which was sent in December, was shared through all three networks.
In this case, Jill’s email newsletters are creating an online network that can do something she had never been able to do in person: meet contacts one-on-one. “People get to see my work, which is great, and these are often people who I never get to meet with one-on-one. The timing of each newsletter is going to be right for somebody, and having the opportunity to show people what I’m doing has just been a great way to grow my business and my reach,” Jill says.
So, while Jill still looks forward to conferences, conventions, and workshops, she knows that meeting the people there is now just the beginning of her relationship with them. Because with Constant Contact, she can provide loyal clients and prospects with helpful marketing emails that hold both inspiration and opportunity.
How do you reach out to contacts beyond traditional networking events? Let us know here or on our Facebook Page.