The Five-Step Guide to Network Marketing for New Zealand B2B Businesses
The world may be on a lifelong technological ride – with digital our forever fuel – but the adage of old holds fast: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” People still have the most pulling power. Word of mouth still sits in the driver’s seat.
of people trust recommendations from people they know, more than traditional marketing.
– Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages, Nielsen Report
Reaching the right ears is something many Kiwi companies know all too well – 97% of New Zealand businesses are SMEs. So, to grow forward, you’ve got to engage with people – clients, colleagues, customers – who resonate with your ideas, principles, your ethos.
It can be all too easy to get caught up in complex marketing strategies – algorithms that are ‘destined’ to serve us, end up confusing us. The result? Business fundamentals lost in translation and stagnant growth. Keeping things simple and succinct when sharing your business to the world via network marketing strategies is key – communicate to meaningfully connect.
What is Network Marketing?
Essentially, network marketing is about connecting, engaging, and building relationships with people. Business speaks, it’s about reaching out to ‘ideal customers’ – those who then follow you and go on to introduce you to other ideal customers – and people who might become your ideal customers later on.
The keywords to take home are ‘building relationships’ not ‘dollar signs.’ Fundamentally business success relies on business growth. And, network marketing envelopes a ‘growth mindset’, affording businesses the opportunity to utilise key digital channels and communication tools to zero in on exact industries, companies, groups of people, that they know will benefit from their product or service.
LinkedIn has allowed us to connect with people we would never normally be able to run in to, engage with them and start building relationships.; email, chat and video has amplified the ability to ‘meet’ with people; CRM’s have replaced old school notebooks, reminding us when we need to talk to ‘Sarah’; marketing automation system tracking tools tell us exactly when ‘Rebecca’ opened the business proposal we emailed her.
Steps to Network Marketing
Know your audience
First up, have an open, honest and specific conversation with yourself and team about which type of customer – or groups – you are reaching out to. Question . . .
Do you know who your ideal customer/s are?
What do you know about them?
What interests them?
What puts them off?
How can you add value to their day?
Helpful Hint: Ask us about our useful Audience Planning Template.
Build your digital network
Before you start connecting with your audience (for businesses LinkedIn is your first port of call) make sure you can add value off the bat. This might be a great article you’ve read, something specific to their industry, or a guide/article you’ve written.
Next, engage your audience. Based upon what you’ve put down for point #1, start developing your own content – social posts, infographics, videos, articles and thought leadership pieces, guides – like this one!
Helpful Hint: Plan out your content on LinkedIn, website, email etc within a content calendar.
Network marketing and great content go hand in hand. Content that adds value gets attention. We work on this acronym – WIFFM: What’s in it for Me. Why would the reader take time out of their busy day to read your article? What will they get out of it?
Build your traditional network
We refer to this as the ‘Four Coffees, Two Lunches’ method. It literally means, you have to book in four coffees and two lunches every month.
Why? Because lunches feed a need, allow us to communicate more clearly and satisfy those cravings we all have for personal relationships and interactions because we are still human, with five senses in total – not two.
Who should lunch with? Ideally those clients and customers you’ve outlined in point #1 first and foremost. But you never know who might refer you though, so keep your net wide.
Breaking bread together breaks down barriers. When someone’s in front of you, you can read them better. If someone’s telling you about a good deal and their face doesn’t match their eyes, you can intuit that better than on ZOOM.
Get the coffee ball rolling . . . Ask the question.
Don’t be afraid to ask people questions, the worst they can say is no. Make sure your timing and tone is right though.
You: Want to catch up for a coffee and a chat?
Them: Sure – that sounds great!
You: Want to catch up for a coffee and a chat?
Them: No thanks – I’m busy.
You: No worries – hope you get on top of that workload.
The same principles apply when asking for an introduction, referral, testimonial, endorsement etc. Business is done by people, and people like doing business with people they like – and who make the effort to meaningfully communicate with them. They also don’t mind doing favours or recommending people they like.
Test, measure, learn
Make sure you’re constantly testing new approaches, measuring the results, and improving your approach to stay moving forward.
Don’t be afraid to test the waters. Try changing what you say when you send your connection request on LinkedIn. Then gauge if there’s a topic that got heaps of attention or engagement – then try writing more about that topic.
You can also get some pretty in-depth analytics from digital platforms so make sure you’re reviewing the results.
Give back and reward
Don’t expect other people to recommend you if you’re not willing to recommend others. So, get involved, pay it forward, pay it back – just pay it.
And, remember to thank those that do take the time to refer or introduce you. A nice bottle of wine, flowers or gift basket for the effort goes a long way and people will be more willing to help out again in the future if they know their efforts were appreciated.
The more extensive the reciprocal altruism born of social connection . . . the greater the advance toward health, wealth, and happiness.
– Professor John Cacioppo, Author
Systems that help
Networking marketing benefits your business the most when you engage the right tools – digital, phone, face-to-face – so equipping yourself with the skillset, measures and means to make the most out of digital platforms and communication the old school way, is a must-do.
In our guide, ‘The Essential Tools to Network Marketing’ we cover all valuable bases. From robust LinkedIn profile guidance, to email etiquette, to CRM and marketing automation software WHYs and HOWs, to the importance of coffee dates – our guide ticks all the boxes you need answered.
Next steps …
The best time to start your networking marketing journey is – always!
So, if you’re set on upping the ante and tuning better networking pathways forward, reach out to us – right here, right now.
We are a tight-knit team centred on delivering performance-focused solutions to businesses. Our strategic senior marketing managers are centrally supported by skilled digital marketing, media, copy and design experts. We provide outsourced marketing strategies and resources that action positive growth for our customers. We work across marketing channels, uncovering data, bettering processes and engaging meaningful digital strategies that align with a business’ brand, it’s values, it’s people.
Marketing isn’t ‘just a thing’ it’s ‘our thing’. We know that above all else marketing is about human connections, so we value the open communication and honesty we have with our clients and ourselves – it keeps things real. With the right mix of creativity, passion and determination, you can action positive growth – true that.
Written by: Cory Gordon
Cory is your key contact for developing a strategy that helps B2B businesses grow.
With 20 years of marketing experience in businesses of all sizes, industries and segments (we’re talking SME, large global organisations, B2C, B2B, retail, education, automotive, and fashion), he has the ability to add real value across all levels of an organisation.
More than just a senior marketer, Cory is your general nice guy, he is a father and a husband, and a lover of all things Star Wars.
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