Everybody talks about networking for offline businesses. But when it comes to marketing a website, nobody talks about networking.
Online networking is more important than offline networking. If you go to a networking function at your local Chamber of Commerce, you may leave with a couple leads, and a few business owners who may mention your business to a couple of their customers.
But online, the right contact can send 10,000 potential customers straight to your website in one day simply by posting about you on their blog, or e-mailing their subscriber list about your business. Online networking is the most underestimated Internet marketing weapon there is.
5 Internet Marketing Networking Strategies:
#1) Blog Participation
Follow 10 blogs owned by people you want to meet. Post a comment on every new blog post they write. Ask them questions or compliment them on a great post.
In a month, they will recognize your name, and you can move towards contacting them in a more personal manner such as e-mail or a chat program such as ICQ or MSN Messenger.
Following people in your industry on Facebook is a really great strategy because not only will you see what they are doing, they’ll see what you are doing, and something you post on your account may catch their eye.
I’m not talking about following their groups or pages, but their actual accounts. They won’t get your status updates if you are following a page or group. That’s a one way conversation, and you want a two-way conversation.
The best Twitter marketing strategy is to follow people in your industry. When you do, they often follow you back. In addition, people who follow that person can see you, and often follow you as well.
#4) Participate in Small Forums
Most people are a member of at least one giant forum. I’m not talking about giant forums here. I’m talking about joining small forums in the 5,000 to 20,000 member range.
Participating in giant forums is a traffic building strategy, and it’s really great for that. Participating in smaller forums is a networking strategy. There is less clutter in smaller forums, and you are more likely to make contacts using a smaller forum than a larger one.
Use the private message tool as much as you can. Rather than just answering a person’s thread, answer them and then send them a follow private message with a couple more tips.
When you ask a question in the forum, private message the people who responded with advice you enjoyed with a thank you, and possibly a follow-up question to get a conversation going.
#5) Your Website
The posts you write on your website can be powerful networking tools.
Let’s talk for a second about Google Alerts. Almost every blogger has Google Alerts set up for their name, their websites name, and keywords related to their industry. That means, if you talk about somebody, there is a good chance they’ll see it.
Write regular blog posts that follow-up on posts made by other bloggers in your industry. Agree with their thoughts while expanding on them with your own, and they may very well contact you directly about your post, or may silently begin to follow you which sets the stage for a future relationship.
You can also use the people you want to network with as a profile of your ideal target market. You then write posts that will appeal to those people, and over time they will start following your website, commenting in the comments section, and e-mailing you questions and partnership opportunities.
It’s also important to provide comment boards on your blog to get discussions going with other website owners. You should also place a way to contact you at the bottom of every forum post whether it be your Twitter account, Facebook page, e-mail, live chat, or your instant messaging username (or maybe even all of the above!) It helps to also include reasons to contact you, or asking people to e-mail you with their thoughts on the article you posted.