Core Habits For Internet Marketing – Networking
Core Habits For Internet Marketing – Networking
In this article, we’re going to discuss how to develop critical habits for people who want to make a career by marketing online. The topic is networking, which is a habit and a skill that business people of every class should value and develop.
As a networker, you’ll essentially be building and managing two different types of relationships, which I’ll describe below:
Relationships with people who have a higher level of skill or recognizability than you do. These people could possibly offer mentorship or wise advice that you could benefit from, or they may be more widely recognized than you are, and aligning yourself with them would increase your personal visibility.
Relationships with people who may hope to benefit by absorbing your knowledge or increasing their visibility by associating with you. These people constitute your network of followers, regular readers, partners, or competitors who may perceive your level of skill or visibility to be higher than theirs.
By understanding your role in each of these relationships, you can almost picture yourself extending one hand up to a mentor, in hopes that they will lend you help, while extending a hand down at the same time and offering your assistance to the benefit of those who might look up to you and appreciate your help.
Networking is about building valuable relationships
By itself, networking is an incredibly broad and sweeping topic. Entire books are devoted to the subject, so I’m going to do my best to keep this section focused on developing the habit of networking for internet professionals, and not turn it into a dissertation on networking in general that you could read at any bookstore.
That being said, there is one standout thing to remember about networking… it’s about relationships. Relationships are built upon trust and value. Business people are traditionally very busy, so they develop a WIIFM attitude… what’s in it for me?
The best way to accelerate and solidify your relationships with other business people is to be perceived as a valuable and beneficial contact. I don’t mean to say that you’re simply managing someone’s perception about your value, but it’s unfortunate when you do have some value to offer and the other person simply doesn’t get a chance to realize it!
Adding value to your relationships requires you to be very aware of the needs, wants, or desires of the person you’re connecting with. We talked about identifying needs, wants, or desires when I discussed the core habit of listening. After determining someone’s need, want, or desire, the next step is to do something to fulfill it. Your hope at this stage is to try and leverage the relationship to a point where it can potentially fulfill a need, want, or desire of your own. This is the point that I like to refer to as WIIFBOU… where both people realize what’s in it for both of us. Value has been achieved for both parties. This is a solid foundation for a relationship, and it’s where trust-building takes place.
Use social networks and tools for community building
The internet is a powerful tool for networkers… it makes building relationships and communities a snap! Social networks allow people to communicate, investigate one another, create indirect referrals, and share resources. When you spend time developing a solid social network, it can act as a powerful form of social proof… the more quality people you’re connected with in your network, the more valuable you appear as a contact to someone who doesn’t know you.
I like to share my instant messenger names, email address, and Skype telephone information with friends in my social networks… this encourages people to reach out and contact me if they wish. After connecting initially with people through social networks, you can use tools like instant messengers or Skype to begin to get to know them and further build the relationship.
Network offline, too!
The power of face-to-face marketing is too strong to be ignored… it would be easy to fall victim to the routine of conducting all of your networking on the web using social networks and other tools, but you can potentially accelerate your networking by getting up from the keyboard and going out to meet people from your industry in person.
Networking events, business socials, and industry conferences are all great opportunities to meet people from your industry face to face.
Industry events are fantastic opportunities to make potential connections with A-listers in the internet marketing industry. Here is a short list of high profile events and conferences where you can expect to encounter other professional bloggers and marketers:
PubCon (Publishers Conference)
SMX (Search Marketing Expo)
SES (Search Engine Strategies)
A few of these conferences, like SES and PubCon, are held in major cities across the world… however, the majority of them are American based events. The ticket prices for some industry events are very high. I’d testify, though, not to let expensive tickets be a barrier to your attendance… I applied and qualified for a press pass to my first industry conference, Affiliate Summit. That ticket would have cost nearly $ 1500 if I had paid for it in cash.
Develop the habit of networking
Knowing the right people in the internet marketing industry can be a tremendous advantage. Remember to allow everyone you deal with to perceive your value… you may generate recommendations and referrals based on it. Make time every day to develop your communities on social networks such as StumbleUpon or MySpace, and use tools on the internet like instant messengers, email, and Skype to build and maintain those relationships.
Think about whether it would benefit you to network offline. I recommend visiting the websites I referred to for the major conferences and see if there’s one that will be held near you… try not to be deterred by ticket prices or expenses, because you might find that the value of the connections you can potentially make may far exceed the cost of your attendance.