If you’ve worked with me, you know I always say, “People buy from other people.” To take that a bit further, “people buy from people they know, like and trust.” This is an important point because there are two types of people you’ll encounter as an entrepreneur:
- People who already know, trust and love you
- People who don’t know you exist (just yet)
Your primary job in marketing is to keep those who already love you … well loving you. Next, you need to tell those people who don’t know you exactly how you will change their worlds.
Turning the people in the second group into raving fans is a bit more difficult, but connecting or reconnecting with the people in group #1 … now that’s the easiest marketing tactic ever! It costs absolutely nothing and often times, yields excellent results. So let’s take a closer look at just how to reach out.
Step #1: Reach Out to Evvvrryyyybody You Know
Contact everybody you know and let them know you’re looking for new clients. Yes, this includes family, friends and everybody else in your list of 500+ Facebook fans. Don’t just assume because they don’t need your services that they can’t help you. Who knows who will hear someone complaining that their hairstyle sucks? Or who is looking for a nice, romantic local getaway for Valentine’s Day?
This list should include existing clients, friends, family, current and past co-workers, friends of friends … you get the point.
So how exactly should you go about reaching out? You can send emails, share the news at your family dinner, and so on. Using social media is the easiest way to get your message out fast and to a bunch of people. Look below for a quick Facebook status post you can send to your “peeps” right after you read this email from me:
Hi Facebook Family! Over these past [X] years, the one thing I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is the importance of relationships and I’m so glad that we’re connected! I am truly enjoying this wild and crazy ride as a [life coach, hairstylist, accountant … insert your title or a brief description of what you do] and am reaching out to let you know that I am here if you need my services. Also, if you hear of anyone looking for a [insert your job title or brief explanation of what you do], I’d appreciate your referral. Thanks a bunch!!
Step #2: Connect with Past Employers
Was your last boss your best friend? Or did you two just “vibe” on a business level? Whatever the relationship, it’s important that you stay connected to each and every one of your past employers (unless of course you two absolutely hated each other).
Why? Past employers are usually a pretty good source of referrals. They hired you, so most likely they know and like you. If you left on good terms, they most likely trust your work. Bingo!!! This is the perfect person to refer you. And referrals are like marketing on autopilot. You just sit back and watch the phone ring. So how should you connect with your past employers?
I have one word for you: LinkedIn.
It’s the meeting place for employers and the easiest way for you to reconnect. It’s much less awkward (if you haven’t seen or spoken to the person in a while) and intimidating than a phone call. Some entrepreneurs have told me they feel uncomfortable reaching out to past employers. I do it all of the time and have landed quite a few projects because of it. Your main focus is to check in, catch up and ease into the news that you’re looking for new clients.
Here’s a sample inMail message:
(Subject line options: Long time no talk!, Congrats on your new job, Would love to catch up)
Hi (Employer name)!
I just noticed you’re on LinkedIn and would like to stay connected with you on here. I see (you’re still at ____ OR you’re now at ____). I’d love to catch up sometime and hear about what you’ve been doing.
Me? (I’ve been working as a [insert your title/work description] for X years now)(I just left/got laid off and started my own business in _____)(Stay upbeat here, include general facts and keep it moving – no employer bashing or sob stories.)
I specialize in (give a little more detail about what you do – your “specialness” sentence). (Try to also share something recent about your business that would be relevant to your past employer – if you can’t think of anything, just skip this sentence.)
(Optional: if you had a great relationship with your employer, add this line: If you hear of anyone looking for a [insert title], I’d appreciate a referral. However, it may be best to hold off on requesting referrals until after your brief phone call – you’ll need to decide what’s best here for you.)
Let me know if you have time for a quick phone chat!
Now, that’s pretty easy, hmm?
Step #3: Be Patient
Connecting and reconnecting with people who already know you is the easiest marketing tactic, but it doesn’t create overnight success. However, it can open up opportunities for your business.
I remember reaching out to one past employer who called me for a project a year later. But guess what, she wouldn’t have been able to do that if she didn’t know I was freelancing or have my contact info. And last year, I made over $10,000 by helping her company with freelance writing projects.
You didn’t really think I’d end this email without giving you homework? Are you in touch with your previous employers? If not, get over to LinkedIn and reach out. If you’re already in touch, be sure to let them know you’d appreciate their referrals. Here’s a few tips for connecting on LinkedIn:
- It’s important that you personalize your message, so be sure to delete the sample language LinkedIn provides to connect.
- Avoid putting links in your email – simply refer them to your LinkedIn profile for more information.
- Open up the possibility of taking the conversation off of LinkedIn by setting your message so that the recipient can see your email address.
Trust me, connecting/reconnecting with people who already know you is the easiest, most efficient marketing you’ll ever do. So get out there and start connecting!
P.S. Have you had any success with social media marketing? If so, go ahead and spill the beans in the comments below. As always, sharing and caring and we so appreciate your thoughtfulness!