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You probably heard that Social Networking is the next great thing (among others), so I’d really be surprised if you never heard of Facebook, but Linkedin is probably one of those hidden-gem online resources you may not be so informed about.
While Facebook started as a students-only networking site which in the last 2 years has become the place to be online for anyone, including businesses – and big businesses as well – Linkedin started as a closely-knit professional networking site, and remains true to its origins to this day.
Today Linkedin has over 36 million users world-wide. That’s a great place to hang around if you’re looking to grow your business: either by finding clients or customers to hire you as a consultant, or buy your products. But Linkedin works for you on another level, too: it can provide contacts to help you grow your practise or business by supplying services and/or products you need to grow.
For example, if you’re a product designer, you can link up with a local speciality print shop owner to supply 3-D decals for your products. The printer can in turn hook you up with engineers she may have in her network to hire you as a consultant – and the circle continues – you get the idea…
I use Linkedin for both of these purposes I outlined above, but also for one more, not so apparent one: to grow my email marketing list! You see, the way Linkedin is structured, you cannot easily send mass emails to your whole list of contacts, so if you have several hundred, or even several thousand connections, it would be close to impossible, and certainly not very practical to send each one a personalized email.
That’s why you need to find a way to selectively “move” your Linkedin connections to your own email list (hosted by your Email Service Provider of choice), so that you can reach out to them with information and special offers targeted to their particular needs.
One way that’s been working for me is: I create events, such as my free tele-seminars, and then use Linkedin’s application called “Events” to create a page where I can describe the event and in effect advertise it. From there I go on to send an invitation to my Linkedin contacts – I can send it to 50 recipients at a time. I only send one invitation and leave it to them to take action: if they are interested they follow up by registering on my web site – outside of Linkedin – in effect adding their name to a special list I create for each event.
If you’d like to learn more about using Linkedin to generate qualified leads, sign up for my free tele-seminar. Even if you can’t attend the live event, register anyway because you will receive a free audio recording 2-3 days later. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 1 pm ET. Register here.
I must admit I was a reluctant blogger. I knew if I started a blog I would have to publish on it regularly, and being already busy with publishing my award-winning ezine and working with clients, I thought I’d never be able to keep up.
Good thing I found the time!
Now I not only love it, but I recommend it to all my business contacts and especially my clients. As an Email Marketing Coach I love email marketing, which still delivers a great rate of return on investment, but I’m the first to say: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! If you’re a solo professional, or small business owner, you must publish an email newsletter, have an auto-responder, write on your blog, have a Facebook profile, do live business networking, etc.
Here are just three reasons why I love blogging:
1. It allows me to reach a much wider audience than by just publishing an email newsletter. Blogs have built-in features that basically “push” my content to search engines and blog directories. This would be hard, if not impossible, to accomplish by a “web 1.0″ web site. My blog site now allows me to reach out to my audience in 3 different ways: using RSS, RSS feed delivered by email, and via ezine subscription. This enables my audience to get my articles the way they prefer.
2. Deciding to build my new web site using WordPress, enabled me to create what I call a blog site: a combination of a static, web 1.0 web site, with the power and versatility of the Web 2.0 blog. My blog site is now search engine optimized, and every time I hit “Publish”, soon after, Google, Yahoo! and dozens of other services get “pinged” and my content gets indexed immediately.
3. Having a blog has also enabled me to attract the right type of prospects. Before starting a blog, my whole web presence was a 1-page “squeeze page.” It served its purpose well — it created a lot of subscribers to my e-newsletter — but after a while I realized that I wanted to attract a different type of prospect, one who’d like to get to know me a little bit before considering hiring me. A visitor to my blog site can now read my articles which build my credibility, so I don’t have to “sell” my self, my content does it for me.
Finally, blogging makes it really easy and fun to connect with other great professionals in the wider blogosphere.
Here are five people I’d like to see write a quick blog post on this topic:
I invite YOU, the reader, too, to share here by commenting or on your own blog! Please send me the link if you post on your own blog. BTW, this whole thing started on TypePad.com – get the “official” guidelines.
Thank you Patsi Krakoff, for inspiring me to write this entry.
The word “blog” itself comes from “web log”, so “blog” for short. Ever since Google acquired Blogger in 2003, this medium has been on the rise. Today even companies such as General Motors run blogs. Here are five reasons why you should have a blog for your small business or professional practice:
Some years ago personal development guru Mark Victor Hansen said “Your net-work determines your net-worth.” You’ve probably also heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and that’s actually better said “it’s who knows you.”
In the previous issue of Contacts2Clients, I mentioned some online networking sites and how to use them to build your business. It sparked a number of inquires from subscribers of this newsletter, but also from clients and colleagues.
Although I created my LinkedIn profile years ago, I’ve never actually used it until recently. Within about a month my network is now over 1.5 million strong – yes, that’s six figures, baby. And all that from only 60 or so connections.
Mind you, the point is not to have a large number of contacts, but to participate. Be active. If you just put up a profile, but never participate, it’s like having a blog to which you never post.
Some people say you should be active on 25 different networks. I don’t think that’s realistic, unless you delegate the work to a virtual assistant, but you should pick at least 3 that you will visit fairly regularly and make an effort to participate.
Are you Networking? I don’t mean business networking in person, you know, at your local chamber of commerce or BNI. I mean, are you networking online?
Are you using LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Ryze? I just recently started exploring this area. It seems everyone and his uncle is on at least one of these networks. For example, Facebook now has over 65 million users and adding 1/4 million every day!
Here’s a great article on why you should join LinkedIn.