biz ladiesLife & Business

biz ladies: how to get your business attention by giving it to others

by Stephanie

Today’s Biz Ladies post is from Meagan Visser, a creative business owner and coach who inspires moms to follow their creative business dreams. She offers marketing, time management and basic strategies for building successful creative businesses while having a family on her site, MeaganVisser.com. She is also the author of Creative Business Marketing 101, a seven-day e-course designed to get your creative business marketing on the right track. Today she shares some great tips to building key business-growing relationships. Thank you, Meagan, for this wonderful post! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Would you like to be associated with some of the top experts in your niche?

Would you like those associations to further your business by bringing you more customers, more sales and more opportunities?

It can happen. It all comes down to using attention, and today I’m going to show you how you can get your business attention by giving attention to others.

The Gist of Relationship Marketing

I’m sure you’ve heard of relationship marketing.

Relationship marketing is a newer method of marketing your business that involves developing relationships with your connections instead of doing things the old-school way (aka the cold call).

It’s where you invest your time in getting to know your connection, and eventually forming a relationship that will benefit the two of you.

Compare this to knowing nothing about a connection and blindly pitching an offer, hoping they will take you up on it.

Which do you think will give you better results?

The Importance & Benefits of Building Relationships

Developing relationships with connections is critical to growing a successful business. Not only does it open doors for you that may not have opened otherwise, but it also establishes you and your business as reachable, friendly and easy to connect with, qualities that are very important in today’s online business world. It can also give you a head start or boost when it comes to growing your business, and you won’t have to work as hard to get ahead.

Taking It One Step Further

Let me challenge you today to take your relationship marketing one step further by focusing on “attention.”

Everyone wants attention, but to draw attention to your business, you must give attention to others, be it a potential customer or other beneficial business connection.

Relationship Levels

As you know, there are many relationship levels that you can have, starting with acquaintances and moving into deep friendships and even on up into intimate relationships.

Remember that I said relationship marketing is investing your time by getting to know someone and eventually forming a relationship that will benefit you both? That’s true, but with relationship marketing alone, you may never move past the contact- or acquaintance-type relationships, and those alone aren’t going to provide much benefit to your business.

Sure you may get some new customers and maybe score some guest posts on some niche blogs, but there’s so much more that you can have. That’s where this attention concept comes in. It will move you into deeper relationship levels that will benefit your business in ways you don’t even expect.

Embracing “Attention Marketing”

By adopting “attention” into your marketing strategy, you’re giving yourself an extra boost that will move you into higher levels of relationships with your connections.

It’s like climbing a ladder. You must start at the bottom and work your way up one rung at a time. The bottom rung may include introducing yourself and your business to someone, therefore developing a contact-type relationship. The next rung up may include commenting on their blog or promoting their latest product. They may start to recognize your name over time and thank you for promoting them, but you’re still just an acquaintance.

Once you start showing them more attention than just a “Hey there, I loved your latest post” type comment or re-tweeting something they said, you’re moving on up that ladder and into deeper relationship levels with them.

Eventually you may move into a friendship-type relationship and then on up into a collaborative-type relationship. The higher you go, the more benefits you will see.

You and your business are associated with your connections on these levels. They may start referring you to people they know who need your business. They may interview you or feature your products on their blog or in their magazine. You may have the opportunity to collaborate on a project together. You never know where these deeper-level relationships may lead to, all because you showed them some attention.

Making It Count

Now let me add here that if you’re only trying to develop a relationship with your customer or connection to get results for yourself, you’re going about this the wrong way. This is a two-way street named “Sincere St.”

People can smell manipulation a mile away, so make sure that the attention you’re giving your connection isn’t fake. The attention you should be giving at first should have nothing to do with you. It should be all about them. Yes, in the end, this good karma is going to come back to you and your business, giving you attention and great opportunities but only if you go about this the correct way.

Sincerity and generosity will take you far.

An Example

Let’s say you’d like to get a product of yours featured in a top-notch magazine in your niche. This is a big goal of yours, but in order to reach this goal, you’re going to have to develop a relationship with the magazine editor first. Not just any low-level relationship either, but a higher-level relationship that has the potential to reward you both over and over.

The first step is to follow the magazine editor on social media sites where she networks and introduce yourself to her by not only saying “hello” but also telling her why you like her magazine so much and how it benefits your business. You don’t ask for anything. You only connect with her.

Over time you continue to share articles that really spoke to you and features that you liked, you answer any questions she may ask, you provide her with helpful insights as a reader of her magazine or send helpful recommendations you think she would value. You promote her and her magazine to others who would benefit from it, and eventually you can even ask her for an interview or for advice on something related to your business. By this point she knows who you are, and she’s probably checked into your business a bit. You’re on her radar, and she knows you’re sincere.

Eventually, the perfect opportunity is going to arrive at your door. Either you’ll see that the magazine is looking for new products to feature or she may come to you directly and ask to feature a specific product of yours. You’ve reached a level of friendship and collaboration.

Now your hard work and generous attention-giving has paid off. You’ve reached your goal, you’ve developed a great connection that will last and the benefits you’re seeing in the form of new customers and a huge increase in sales are unbelievable!

In Conclusion

Relationship marketing is definitely something to take advantage of in your business, but don’t settle for a shallow, low-level relationship only. Strive for something deeper, more meaningful and more beneficial. Use attention to take your marketing up a notch and reap the rewards of a sincere, generous spirit.

Leave a comment below & share your thoughts on how you plan to use attention to boost your developing relationships!

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  • Yes! I definitely agree with all of this. Collaboration, even if it’s not directly related to your business, can open so many doors. I’ve only been in the photography business for a short time, but some of my leads have come from the most seemingly random interactions. It pays to invest a lot in relationships, even when there’s no clear gain.

  • Yes yes yes! A rising tide raises all ships. Being nice & genuinely interested + supportive of others will bring opportunities and friendships galore. Collaboration and community are so important for success (and happiness!) – especially when we’re all working in our own little online caves. Everyone is humming away behind laptops and IPads, in home offices and small-shops; isolated, in a sense. Now more than ever, though, we have the ability to reach out and connect via social media, email, etc. (And there’s always the post, for making someone’s day extra special!) At the end of the day, the memorable folks are the ones not just making cool stuff, or looking pretty, but the ones who reach out and share a hug.

  • Love this info! I am over 60 and launching my ceramics again after years of raising kids an caring for ailing parents. The methods we have now a big learning curve for me. I appreciate this article so much!

  • Great Article, Meagan ! We live in the comforts of our home and the internet and we almost expect it to be easy. What did people do before the internet was around ? They did all the things you talk in your post- but face to face. It does take time to get notice and form relationships , just like it does in real life marketing .
    We do have to go the extra mile to get noticed and be more patient – when its all online. It is a newer way of marketing and people are still learning. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you for this article and for all the Biz ladies posts! A friend and I have recently launched an architecture and interiors firm and this series has been an incredible resource. So, thanks again!

  • wow, it’s a fantastic advice to work on. i do believe in all forms of businesses, online or brick and mortar, sincerity would go a long way to building long term relationships with customers, suppliers, editors etc..

    thank you once again for an awesome read!

  • As ever, these Biz Ladies articles are fantastic. Whenever I need a boost of inspiration or some advice I have been able to find it here. Connections are the key to success… build your network and be sincere with those you meet! Karma!

  • I couldn’t agree more, great great piece and so true! I have made some of my closest business relationships and friendships in business by giving and sharing contacts/info/ideas whenever I can, you end up with this amazing, like-minded tribe that is so interesting and fun, and somehow, you all end up pushing each other to do better.

  • Thanks for this article. I am about to embark on a bigger effort to promote my new small business and will definitely use your information. As a new person to the arts/crafts world here in Portland, I have been inspired and amazed at the sisterhood of so many creative, generous, supportive and kind women in this community. So glad I found your work!

  • I’d add a little note to this, since I am a magazine editor and you used reaching out to someone like me. I’d use less of a targeted approach. Don’t have a visualization party of what the end result will be–i.e. an article about your product. And don’t target a single person, editor, or possibility. Throw out a net like a tribal fisherman. Reach out to lots of people on all rungs of ladders–today’s editorial assistants are tomorrow’s editors. Everyone is married to someone or has friends to whom you might be mentioned. Fishermen don’t know what will be their nets when they haul them in. You might be surprised what you find, and it will probably not be what you were expecting. Think of it as a local journey, with many interesting stops–not a non-stop flight to a dream destination. Any one of those interesting stops can pay off somewhere down that interesting road but you might enrich your life as much as your business.

  • Really loved the post/advice. Im a fashion designer in Scotland and I find it really encouraging that other people (lots of people by the sounds of it) share my philosophy about being genuine, even in business. It can be harsh when cruel people take advantage of a nice nature, but it’s encouraging to read how you can use you’re nature to develop relationships and help your business grow.

  • @Fran – Thanks so much for your input & what you’re saying rings so true! In all reality, building relationships with others can be beneficial on so many different levels. I loved how you linked it to being a fisherman. You just cast your net out there & bring in all kinds of fish. Each one will feed you. The targeted approach is a balance of sorts. You need to be reaching out to your target market, but like you said, not just them. There are many people that creating relationships with will eventually benefit you both. Thanks for your advice!

    @Christina – I agree & the saying, “What goes around, comes around” can be so true in these situations. A genuine, sincere attitude toward others will take you further in the end than taking advantage of others will.

  • Great article! very helpful, even the comments are insightful! I was instinctively trying to do this already, connect with like minds, compliment other bloggers because I liked their work and wanted to encourage them. I am continually amazed at the creativity and talent I see “in blogland”, but more important to me is the genuine support and uplifting I see and feel happening! we all need each other!
    Thank you for your pointers in relationship marketing!

  • Awesome advice, especially the “ladder” analogy. As an introvert, I have struggled to get the hang of networking in general, and it helps me to think of it in terms of friendship and lasting connections rather than just schmoozing. Friendship is a two-way street, so professional relationships should be too!

  • i love the biz ladies column! it is SO encouraging. truly. i am starting a line on etsy and find this to be so helpful. i have always tried to be supportive of other people’s endeavors and when you focus less on yourself, things do always come back to you. great reminder. thanks meagan!

  • Ya’ll are so welcome! @Barbara – I think a lot of people share your struggle with putting themselves “out there” & connecting with people due to being an introvert, but that’s one of the great things about social media. You can start connecting with other by saying “Hi! I loved your latest post” or “Your products are so nice. I’m putting such & such on my wish list” & that’s usually a comfortable place to start. Then over time you can work your way up to being more open & friendships will develop from there. Glad the post was helpful!

  • That was a really good read and quite an inspiration, lots to think about for future relationships.

  • What a fantastic post Meagan! I’m in the beginning stages of launching my new product/career/life! It’s so refreshing to find that sharing & collaborating with like minded entrepreneurs is where it’s at , unlike in the past people would hang on tight to their ideas, business strategies, afraid to share with competitors. I love that the old ideas are gone. I can’t wait to start blabbing away on my favorite blogs & to people I admire.
    Thank you Meagan! And thank you Design Sponge, my FAV & go to blog on a daily basis, everything is so fresh and inspiring!

  • I have been saying these things (not as detailed) to my boss (business owner) for weeks now. The relationship, personalization may seem tedious and takes a bit longer but it surpasses all those analytics and business strategies and lets small businesses support each other on a much deeper level. I am sharing this article with him. Thanks so much for this! Your blog is wonderful

  • Thank you Jennifer! I agree. It is nice to know that people are opening up more these days. For me, it’s made a huge difference just knowing that there are people who’ve done what I’m doing before me & if I have a question, they’re there willing to help answer it or direct me if I need it. It’s great not to have to learn everything on your own. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you so much Tanya! And you are definitely right that it does take time to build relationships & really give others quality attention. It’s not a one time & your done kind of thing. Good luck with your boss! The benefits will far outweigh the time. Thanks for sharing!

  • Greatest article I have read yet on business relationship building – doing the steps you suggested is how I got my first interview with an A-lister. It certainly works well – and is rewarding – Thank you for reinforcing these points in an extremely interesting manner.

  • Thank you so much Donna! I’m glad you liked it and I’m so glad that you’ve implemented these same principles before and seen success from them. Way to go!

  • Excellent information. I so appreciate your advise. I normally come to your website but this is a post I missed. I am pinning this as well! Thanks so much.

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