With stay-at-home orders in place for most states across the country due to COVID-19, in-person networking is either ill-advised or not an option. However, according to Park University alumnus James Boyer, co-founder and marketing director of Boyer Web Studios, and founder of Northland Young Professionals Network, finding new leads and sustaining business remains possible—even now.
He offers three tips:
1 – Get online!
According to research, web traffic is currently breaking all-time records due to the pandemic, so now is the optimal time to build or enhance your digital marketing strategy. Additionally, social media is teeming with community resources; leverage free community promotion with pages and groups offering to support locally. Your customers aren’t gone; you just need to know where to reach them. Right now, they’re likely online.
2 – Do what you can to help others
One of the best ways to stay connected is by showcasing discounts and special deals that your network is offering in these challenging times. In the Kansas City area alone, there are dozens of locally-run restaurants, services and businesses running promotions to adapt and survive. One shout out on LinkedIn or Facebook can help local business while widening your sphere of influence.
3 – Use your current network to find new business leads
Through one-on-one video calls, check on individuals in your network to see how they are being impacted by COVID-19. During that conversation, ask the person to provide for you a profile of their ideal client and referral partner. Next, introduce at least three people from your network who fit the profile they’ve described, and once you have made your introductions, ask the person to return the favor.
This is an efficient community-building process because it:
- Adds value for the individual you are meeting with, as well as for those you recommend
- Positions you as a thought leader and community builder, opening up your potential opportunities
- Generates at least three qualified leads for you with warm introductions to each.
As you engage in conversation with your network, there are simple but effective ways to impact a wider circle by creating and sharing relevant content. Consider recording your COVID-19 impact discussions for social content, similar to an industry podcast format. Don’t forget to get everyone’s consent before hitting record!