When growing your business, it's easy to fall into the "bigger is better" mentality with sales and even your relationships. But when you focus too closely on expanding your network, your current connections can slip through the cracks. And in marketing, fewer high-quality relationships are always more valuable than a long list of acquaintances.
By constantly checking in with your current network, you will not only remind them that you exist, but also become the go-to resource when they need your product or service.
To capitalize on your existing relationships, incorporate these six practices into your routine:
1. Regularly Publish Thought Leadership Content
It's time-consuming--and often unrealistic--to regularly interact with everyone in your network. But one of the most natural ways to reach out to your connections is through your expertise. Regularly publishing educational content is an efficient way to stay on their radar while positioning yourself and your company as a trusted source for information.
2. Stay Active on Social Media
Every time you tweet or update your LinkedIn status, you're subconsciously reminding your audience that you exist. Those brief moments can add up, but only if they happen regularly. Sporadic exposure just won't cut it. Consistently comment on others' updates, post insightful articles, and publish your own content. These types of meaningful contributions will encourage the viral sharing that keeps you front and center with your audience.
3. Create On-Site Media
As you draw people to your site with tools like social media and content, you also need a net to capture their information. Make sure your site has a blog that visitors can subscribe to or a downloadable whitepaper so you can gather their information and send relevant content periodically.
4. Ask for Small Favors
Asking for something simple like an introduction is a great way to be remembered. Earlier this year, I had the chance to speak to a Young Presidents' Organization chapter and an Entrepreneurs' Organization chapter. Afterward, I reached out to some of my LinkedIn connections in the chapters and asked for an introduction to their learning chair.
It turned out that many of the people I reached out to were interested in using my company's service. Although some might have contacted me regardless, the extra touchpoint allowed me to solidify the relationship and expedite the sales process.
5. Make Thoughtful Gestures Whenever Possible
By making a habit of helping others, you avoid developing a "taker" mentality. It can be as simple as retweeting something they're trying to draw attention to, mentioning them in an article you're writing, or introducing them to a valuable connection.
After meeting Dorie Clark, her graciousness really stood out to me. When Techweek asked me for a speaker recommendation, I immediately said Dorie. Now, she has become associated with some of the most influential names in tech.
Even the smallest actions--like sending thank-you notes and small gifts--can go a long way in being remembered. John Ruhlin, an expert in meaningful corporate gift giving, is a master at this. Every couple of months, he sends me a small personalized gift that's always a refreshing reminder of our relationship.
6. Provide Honest Feedback
The next time someone you know launches a new product or service, be honest with your feedback. Helpful, timely input can help drive people to the right result, and that's not something they easily forget. When one of my LinkedIn connections announced his new website, many of his connections commented with suggestions. The LinkedIn discussion helped his team finalize the new site, and several of the ideas vastly improved it.
Your connections are an invaluable resource for expanding your business--but only if they remember you. Keep up with your connections by publishing insightful content, and don't be afraid to ask for favors as long as you're willing to return them. Then, you'll become the first one your network recommends when the right opportunity comes along.