Most business owners never really think about the fact that you network every day – not just when you attend a ‘networking event’.
Networking opportunities are all around us…recognizing them is the way to make them work for you and your business. Services-based businesses tend to get a lot of new clients and business from referrals. This is why networking is a priority, in every shape and form. The more people know about you and what you do, the more lines you open up for someone to refer a potential client – or call you directly.
What are some less thought of networking opportunities out there?
- Family events
- Community events
- Your online activity on Facebook or Twitter
….and the most often missed space for networking opportunities?
- Your Email Signature!
The first four make sense to most people – under-used, but it makes sense. You should never be shy about telling people what you do for a living – no matter where you meet them and what event you are at. You don’t want to be over salesy but don’t want be shy about it either. Speak with pride when you tell people you own a business and what you do. Always be prepared with a short elevator speech that can answer the question and one that helps identify your ‘ideal client’. If the contact you talked with can visualize your ideal client, they will remember how you can help their friends and contacts or even themselves.
Now the email signature…
I know it might seem redundant to you but, in fact, your email signature can do a lot to help people understand more about what your business is all about. HOWEVER, it has to be presented in a proper way and in all emails sent.
Yes I said ALL! Every email you send is an opportunity to share your business – even if it is with other parents on your kid’s basketball team or contacts from your church organization or other volunteer groups of people you communicate with – and yes, even your family!
The trick is having an effective signature line AND using it on every email you send. No editing of signature just because you are emailing your sister or best friend or your Dad. Unless you hide your business from people in real life, there is no need to hide it online either.
The more people see and hear about your business, the more it sticks in their mind. This makes them into a good referral source even though they may not know it.
What makes an effective signature line?
Incorporating the following basics into every signature is vital to making it ‘work’ for you on all the emails you send.
- Phone Number
- Website OR if you have a free report or opt-in for your email list, add this – describe the free gift and then make it a link to your sign-up or opt-in page
- Limit images – use links
These are the ones I recommend clients include without getting them too, too long. If they are too long, they are ineffective, as people may not read them.
Here is my signature as an example:
You can see that I have my name, title and even two positions I hold – one is a volunteer one but it is a very important one for me and for my reputation, so I added it.
I have my tagline, which tells people a little about what I do and who I help. My contact phone/fax number.
Then I have my free opt-in – but notice it is more than a simple link – it is a Call to Action.
Want to Learn this? Click here… – I am clearly letting people know if you want this, do this.
BIGGEST MISTAKE People Make with Email Signatures?
Adding your email address. Why? Ummm….you emailed me, I can see your email address, and, if I hit reply, I have your email address. No need to point it out in the signature line. A waste of space in a great place you can use to market yourself.
Your homework for today? Go check out your email address, fix it up and follow the steps above to add an effective signature line. People do read them so don’t overlook it as an opportunity to network with people.