Networking 101 for Small Businesses

My neighbor Robbin Steif, whose LunaMetrics got a nice plug in this morning's P-G, sent me a thoughtful description of how she's networking to build her business:

Everyone keeps asking me the same question: How does a small company like mine get customers? In the beginning, I was able to answer quickly and glibly, “With great difficulty.” But now I may actually need an answer to that question, so this is as good a place as any to start. (Plus, the moderator of this blog asked me the same business acquisition question, and it turns out that he is my neighbor, so I had better stay on his good side… As we all know, it’s a pretty small city.)

My field is Internet marketing – sending more traffic to a website, and converting more visitors into customers once they get there. Most of us still are trying to make our sites into profit centers, so educational opportunities are abundant. Fortunately, my secret passion is public speaking, so I look for opportunities to speak in public about Internet marketing. It’s an awesome way to establish expertise without taking out a big (expensive) ad that brags, “Hey, we’re the experts!! Listen to us!!” Every engagement eventually brings with it a new customer. The best part is that just today, the Carnegie Library called me and said, “We see you’re doing this seminar at the Riverside Innovation Center on Dec. 12, we’d like you to do speak at the Library in February.” And I will.

I love virtuous circles (good things that bring more good things), so I extended the concept to the Internet. (And what better way to reach a national audience?) I started my own blog. I published a paper on response rate vs. conversion rate to the Web Analytics Association website (I’m a member as well as an analytic geek), and I saw the link to my website show up the next day. After I signed a new customer last Friday, I created a press release that was optimized for “web analytic consulting”, and on Sunday I sent it out on a free press release service that mostly serves blogs. Four sites picked it up, and soon other sites will pick it up from them. Eventually, the blogs will make my little press release into news, and CNN will have to pick me up. (Hey, if it could happen to Dan Rather and John Kerry, then why not to my little press release?) Alright, so I won’t be on CNN this time, but you get the idea.

Twenty years ago, marketing to a local audience was difficult (I know that one for a fact, because this is my second business in Pittsburgh.) Marketing to a national audience was incredibly expensive. Now, it happens overnight for free – it just takes a little bit of thought and a few great search terms.

Robbin Steif, CEO
Turning Browsers into Buyers


1 Response to "Networking 101 for Small Businesses"

fester said... 12/19/2005 11:02 PM

What is the free press release service that mainly serves blogs?

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