Networking at Christmas – Effective?

Yes, you did read that correctly. Let’s just repeat that to make sure. Networking at Christmas. It isn’t as crazy as it may sound.

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!

You don’t have to do anything special. All you have to do is be prepared. We know that the temptation is to forget all about work, break the world record for mince-pie consumption and slump on the sofa in front of the Downton Abbey Christmas special (if sufficiently fortified by sweet British sherry) – but we’d all do well to remember that this time of the year is stuffed full of opportunities to build lasting business relationships. Stuffed like the turkey!

The season for giving…

Christmas is a wonderful time to send out cards and gifts to your clients to let them know how much you value them – and possibly to rekindle fading relationships, exactly the same as with your family and friends. Make the most of it.

It’s party time…

Think of all those invitations you receive to Christmas events from companies, clients, professional organisations, chambers of commerce, networking groups…just go to them.
Of course, socialising is the main thing. Nobody very much wants your slick sixty-second elevator pitch rammed down their throats on these occasions – but socialising is building relationships, and building relationships is how your business will grow. Getting to know people on a personal level as well as a professional level adds a whole new dimension to mutual business connections. How dull life would be if all we ever talked about was the economic climate or sales figures?!

Eat, drink and be merry…

But not too merry. You want to be remembered for the right reasons – ‘This is someone I’d like to do business with’ – rather than, ‘That’s the person who drank too much and danced on the table wearing only a party hat.’

Keep in touch…

The important thing is having the means to stay in touch after the event. Take your business cards, or at least a pen and notebook to jot down numbers. Finish your conversation with a cheery, ‘It would be great to have a chat in the New Year!’ then don’t forget to follow up.
Send your party host a thank you note – that’s a tradition which seems to have died out in recent years. You’ll be appreciated and remembered with warm feelings.
Don’t forget to let clients and business associates know if you’re planning to close the office over the Christmas break. You could also provide suppliers and contacts with details of how to reach someone in case of emergency.

And finally…

Have fun! Use those networking opportunities but also allow yourself time to relax, regroup and revitalise ready for whatever 2016 will bring.


Complement Traditional Marketing Using Social Media

We’re called Mailing Expert, but we know about other things too — anything to do with your company getting its message out to a target audience, most of all to potential customers.

Enhancing not replacing

Social media and online marketing is all shiny and exciting, perceived as today’s way to reach out to customers. After all, half the population is glued to computers, tablets or smartphones – that’s right, isn’t it? If you’re not taking advantage of the power of the internet, if you haven’t an online presence, then that could be a grave error, damaging to your business bottom line.
However, it must be part of an integrated strategy. It could be just as detrimental to neglect offline marketing and throw all your time and money into all-singing-all-dancing online material.

One size does NOT fit all

Think about your market — a statement that’s almost too obvious to mention. If you’re selling alcopops then it’s pretty certain your customers will be social media savvy 20-somethings so it’s worth investing time and money in an online campaign to engage interest – emails included.

On the other hand, perhaps you’re offering chiropody services or advertising stair-lifts? While online promotion is not to be ignored, it may be a secondary channel and resources should be allocated accordingly. Letters and leaflets through the post probably work best for older customer segments at the moment, though that may change.

Word of Mouse

So – you’ve decided to go for it online. Many people fall into the trap of an ad-hoc approach which starts with a bang and fizzles out after a few weeks. Your strategy requires as much planning and consistency as any other marketing initiative.

Your website is the place for detailed information about your company, products and services, and maybe an online shop. Facebook and Twitter are NOT great selling platforms. They ARE a way of communicating with your clients and customers in an informal and interactive way, developing relationships which will lead to brand loyalty if you do it right – and pointing people in the direction of places where they can buy your products or services.

Words to the wise

Here are a few tips to get you thinking about social media:
• Be entertaining but don’t go off-message completely – highlight USPs, strengthen your brand, talk about issues relevant to your business – but NO SALES PITCHES
• If you write a blog, post news or press releases on Facebook – keep doing it at regular intervals. If your last update was in May 2013, what message does that convey about your business?
• Answer questions, gather feedback and respond appropriately to criticisms
• Make use of analytics and monitoring tools

And finally…

Mailing Expert practices what it preaches! Join us on Facebook: follow us on Twitter. Discover the personalities behind our ever-efficient services.

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