Top Ten Tips for Building Your Marketing Network

  1. Develop your database. Using your existing contacts, business card collections, LinkedIn contacts, and current and former client lists, develop a simple access or excel database that after initial set-up, can be used to easily conduct regular mailings, email communications, or other outreach to your network.

  2. Organize your list by target audience. Consider separating your contact database into several categories, such as location, organization type, specific interest, and referral sources.

  3. Think beyond the Holiday Card list. Current and former clients are great places to start networking, but work to build networking lists of people with whom you may not yet have a relationship, but should. Target leaders from Chambers of Commerce, leaders of the “Future 50” growth businesses in your area, Venture Capital firms in the state, or other logical contacts that could benefit your business or organization.

  4. Maintain your contacts. Work with staff to review your lists regularly, or develop a system to track notes about new addresses, career changes or other updates, that can be entered into the system quarterly or semi-annually. When a contact moves on to a new company, update his contact information and find out who replaced him at his former employer.

  5. Don’t underestimate the value of a hand-written note. If you’ve seen or heard about the success of a member of your network, have a tip for them, or just bumped into them on the street, drop them a two-line note. In today’s day and age of email and “tweets,” taking a little time to write a personal note can go a long way.

  6. Take advantage of corporate events to communicate with your contacts. Consider extending personal invites to community events, or networking opportunities, or even holding your own targeted seminar or “lunch and learn” to brief potential clients in your network on an upcoming change in legislation, or forthcoming opportunities.

  7. Work with your marketing and PR teams. Internal PR departments and agencies like Mueller Communications are here as resources to you and can help develop targeted marketing programs for you and your business or organization, both locally and nationally. Traditional news articles, newsletter columns and electronic links to webinars or interviews, along with a personal letter or communication, can be compelling to client prospects.

  8. To the extent that you’re comfortable, engage in social media. There has been a measurable increase in the use of social media among media, business leaders, and even corporate communications departments to reach their employees, and potential clients located all over the country.

  9. Keep a running list of topical issues that would be of interest to your network. Your skills and knowledge of your business or organization can benefit your network, but it is up to you to tell them how and why. If you come across an issue in the news, or hear of a new perspective on a specific issue of interest, jot it down and save it as the topic of a regular email or communication with your network.

  10. Coordinate an annual plan. To keep yourself top-of-mind with a larger network of client prospects and referral sources, develop a simple annual networking plan that identifies a monthly or quarterly communication with your network.