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I tend to back down from face-to-face gatherings and cold calling as networking and marketing tools. Instead, I rely on social networks. I’m not shy nor do I have anything significant about appearance (I would hope that people see a person beyond looks, anyway). However, my profound deafness leads people to judge me the minute I open my mouth, spilling my deaf accent, or when I ask people to repeat themselves. The looks on their faces often show they think I’m not bright.
When I participate in a scheduled Twitter chat, it neatly sidesteps those barriers. I feel like I’m in the know and a real part of the conversation. Twitter chats reflect what I’ve always thought face-to-face conversations should be like. While online conversation means missing out on the personal connection of seeing others and their personalities, it’s worth shattering the barriers that come with it.
How Quiet Marketing Led to a New Career
I never considered having my own business because I feared the marketing aspect; knowing it needs to be a regular part of the job. I fell into freelance writing as a side dish to the entree that was my corporate job. Since I had the corporate job, I felt no pressure to do marketing or keep my client list full. Over time, I discovered that I could keep the clients coming.
In 2005, I made the leap to full-time freelancing. In four years, I’ve been lucky enough to keep roping in new clients and staying busy even when the economy fell in the dirt. So what worked for me? Referrals and social networking — even before people started called it social networking. I call it “Quiet Marketing,” because it doesn’t involve using my voice. It began with starting a blog in 2000, before most people had heard the term. I was interacting in online forums before the Twitters, LinkedIns and Facebooks moseyed onto the web.
How to Hit a Bonanza with Quiet Marketing
The key is to mix it up and cross-reference (link from one site to others.) If you’re still uncomfortable with social media, break out of your shell first. If you read WebWorkerDaily on a regular basis, you’ll be familiar with most of the tasks that make up Quiet Marketing:
- Create a social networking plan, identifying your goals and strategies.
- Respond on at least three different social networks per day, or a set number per week. Blogs count.
- Share other people’s stuff. Karma pays.
- Duck the hard sell, so you don’t scare your prospects away.
- Change up your the type of content you post: share links, original thoughts, comments on other people’s thoughts.
- Reference your own stuff seldomly.
- Read up on what people consider social networking spam.
- Remember to reference your email newsletter, blog, Twitter and other social network accounts. Mix! Mix!
- Accompany links with short commentary to make them more meaningful. Stand-alone links don’t entice people to click.
- Join chats and live conversations. Keep your name out there.
- Avoid dominating chats and live conversations. Listening matters.
- Respect rules and other people’s opinions. It’s okay to debate — just play nice.
- Connect with people in your industry, not just your ideal customers. Competitors, too!
- Keep a mindset of “building relationships” and ensure your constantly communicating valuable information. Prepare for no instant gratification.
- Use snail mail. I hand write (complete with a pen and stationery) notes to my clients every year.
- Send emails to clients to show you thinking of them or to check in with them. Stay “top of mind.”
- Think before you post anything online. Even if you’re just having fun, do you want your future clients to see it?
I’ve been interviewed, invited as a guest expert, quoted in books and connected with editors, all thanks to my Quiet Marketing techniques. This by no means skipping face-to-face meetings and phone calls entirely. Quiet Marketing just offers options, especially for those who are shy or don’t like phone conversations.
What’s in your Quiet Marketing toolbox?
Photo credit: wawal