Marketing Kuel Category Expert: Lori Lyons
Unless you’ve been living on a deserted Caribbean island with just your dog Lucky for company these past few months, you’ve probably been thinking of creative ways to virtually grow your business.
“My secret? Virtual Events.”
Most of us have now become Zoommasters and have perfected the art of the perfect upper body half: makeup, hair done, professional blouse and shorts with flip flops. It’s a look…
We’ve networked and we’ve “webinared” and we’ve social “mediaed” and it’s worked – but not as much as you’d like. So, let’s get creative. There are some amazing ways to network, make connections, and build relationships that are outside of the new normal. My secret? Virtual Events.
One of my favorite ways to build relationships and connections is to attend a boat load of virtual events. Don’t get me wrong – I’m an eye to eye, toes to toes, person. I love the connection of a hug and leaning in to hear someone. And, I really didn’t like virtual events – at all. I was one of those that kept my video off the entire time and ignored the breakout rooms. But, I’ve realized that was not serving my time spent and – quite frankly – I was a little sulky about it.
But then I decided I was tired of being the Zoom party pooper and so the past few events I showed up. Hair done, makeup on, lighting. I showed up as my best self. I participated. And, I watched for connections as people were talking or chatting! I made note of the people I could connect with – I looked up their names, included a note and connected on LinkedIn. During the event, I looked for commonalities to build a relationship with. I worked the room.
Make The Most Of Our Virtual Business World:
Every event I’ve been to has had a Facebook group. JOIN THE GROUP! Introduce yourself and tell the group the problems you solve and how you can serve. Reply and get to know fellow attendees ahead of time. This is a great way to start scheduling virtual coffees or conversations ahead of time.
Announce Your Attendance:
By letting others know on social media or on your website where you’ll be – you’ll encourage attendance to the event. Tweet about it – connections may be made by other business owners reaching out to ask about the event. Post on LinkedIn about it. This post could be about what you hope to accomplish at the event.
“Stalk” The People You Want To Meet:
By using the available group pages, it’s easy to find relationships you’d like to make. Just as in an in person event, by researching attendees ahead of time, you can make a point to introduce yourself to “whoever.” You just want to do it in a non-creepy way! Again, this is where LinkedIn and social media come in handy
Add People You Meet To Your CRM Immediately:
One thing I’ve found is that by running two monitors or having my iPad handy, I can enter information into my CRM (Customer Relationship Manager such as Sales Force or Less Annoying CRM) just as soon as I chat or FB messenger someone.
This is something you really can’t do when networking in person! I make sure to note the event where we “met” as well as any information I glean about them. I also ask them permission to add them to my email list. If the conversation goes in that direction, I may offer my lead magnet to them. I have an automation that is just the download, not the entire sales funnel. If they are very receptive, I’ll put them in the automation – which guides them to a complimentary website audit. I play it by ear and gut.
Invite To Connect:
I immediately send an invite to LinkedIn and Facebook if appropriate. I may follow them on Instagram or Twitter depending on how active they are. Connection and engagement is key here!
“if you don’t have a calendar – get one! Greatest time saver EVER!”
Final Follow Up:
Finally, if the connection can really lead somewhere – either as a referral partner or potential client, I suggest a virtual coffee or conversation after the event and I send my calendar link or, ask for theirs. (Hint – if you don’t have a calendar – get one! Greatest time saver EVER!)
Virtual coffees (or virtual wines, virtual margarita’s, etc) are terrific ways to start building a relationship. I block out 30 – 45 minutes of just “getting to know you time.” Not selling time, relationship building.
Virtual Meetings –
Love them or hate them – are the new norm – at least for a while. Make the most of our virtual business world. Learn how to work the new room and the benefits will far outweigh the drawbacks. It’s all in how we approach them and prepare for them. AND – meeting this way saves loads of time by not having to travel to and from. It expands the possibilities because you can now network anywhere! And how cool is that?
About the Author:
Lori is America’s Midlife Marketing Maven helping GenXBoomers take the frustration and mystery out of marketing their businesses. She owns a digital marketing agency, Igniting Your Business and specializes in website design, branding and marketing strategy. She loves teaching Encore Entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses so they can concentrate on following THEIR passions and THEIR clients. Lori thinks there is nothing better than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they “get it” and then they take it and make money, easily and simply and without the stress they had before.
Lori will be launching her podcast, The Encore Entrepreneur Podcast this summer where she will be interviewing entrepreneurs and talking about how they market their businesses and the tools and techniques they use. She lives in Atlanta with her husband of almost 30 years and helps her 22 year old entrepreneur son with his marketing. She is a sports fanatic and loves her Atlanta Braves baseball!