Searching for New Business

Feeling challenged finding new business and opportunities in this economic climate? I’ve got two ideas you might like.

First try this great website, www.googlealert.com. It tracks the Internet for your topics/searches and sends you a daily (or weekly) update of them by email. The beauty of this is you never have to go back and troll through material you’ve read online before which is mixed in with the new. Please don’t think “what’s the big deal.” Put this free service to work for you. Here are several ideas to get you started.

New business
Do you respond to RFP’s? Do you look for business activity that you can fit into, such as what construction is occurring? Have Googlealert send the search to you, then decide if you want to investigate. I use it to help look for speaking opportunities. One of my alerts is to search for words “conference 2009” in a website ending in  .com.au and the word scientific does not appear.

Help your clients
In this economy great customer service will shine brightly. Don’t you agree? Let Googlealert help you to help your clients. If you know their interests, their industry problems, what their roles and responsibilities are, you can sift through the alerts for relevant material and then via email send the information to them. One of my very clever clients, Leisa Donlan the CEO of the Rotational Moulders Association Australasia has been doing this for years. In her words “Our customers (members) operate in a constantly changing market. Information is vital. We use Google Alerts for daily updates on new articles on the internet relative to our customers’ interests. That’s great on its own, but often not all is pertinent. We personally sort out the stories that are specifically relevant to our members interest (Eg Water Tanks) and then send a weekly “Media Update” tailored to suit them, which includes just a few sentences on the story and the hyperlink to the rest. If they want to continue reading, it’s just a click. Our members love it!”

Check Your Competition
Why not keep an eye on what your competition is doing? Set an alert with an individuals name, the company name or a product as the search term. You might want to hone it to exclude their website to ascertain what is happening outside of their company.

Second, consider setting up a profile and connecting with others on the social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. LinkedIn is skewed towards business, jobs, opportunities, networking. Facebook has a different complexion than LinkedIn, it’s more aligned with building relationships, friendships. Don’t dismiss Facebook entirely for business though. Christina Force Managing Director of The Collective Force (marketing agent for New Zealand photographers) primary recommendation is to know exactly what you want to use the social networking sites for before you begin.

“I buckled under pressure and signed up for a Facebook page early this year. All my clients in Asia are on it, and I’ve managed to track down and rebuild relationships with clients who have become highly successful decision makers in countries with much bigger accounts such as USA and Europe. It’s been brilliant. I purposely refuse access to any family members and friends unless they’re in the right industry or have the right attitude to be exposed to all my clients. I have of course explained to my family that it is a work tool only. I hide my list of ‘friends’ (which on Facebook is exposed to all and sundry unless you block it) until they have been accepted as a friend on my page. This keeps my client list away from competitors prying eyes. I refuse access to any photographers other than those I represent for the same reason- even if they’re really good friends. I use the picture gallery to display my photographers work such as exhibitions and specific series’ of work not on our website. I also have a link to the website. When I travel overseas to meet clients I put general travel announcements on Facebook so my clients know I’m in town. Many of my clients freelance so they respond very positively to these postings as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to reach them. Facebook is set as my homepage so I can easily update it daily. When on holiday, I post notes of where I am, even though not working my clients are still exposed to my news. Every day I’m amazed at the amount of clients and old clients who ask to be on my page. This is also because they want to know what other creative’s in their industry are doing- potential networking for them too!”

I am sure you’ll agree that when you consider that both these Internet tools are free; GoogleAlert brings you opportunities from outside your sphere of influence and the Social networking sites work from within, you shouldn’t go past trying them to your advantage.

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