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Want to Earn a Thousand Bucks for Giving a Referral?

referral marketing
We’ve come across a great new referral marketing website that will pay you a grand for referring a colleague.

We’ve published numerous posts about referral marketing, which is an invaluable and cost effective way of marketing your business. In particular, we talked about LinkedIn. This is something that I, Steve Slisar, CEO of EzyLearn, am a big believer in — and so is small business marketing guru, Michael Griffiths. (You can learn more about using LinkedIn for referral marketing by attending one of Michael’s Sydney workshops.)

Peerbrief – One Grand up for Grabs

Recently I came across another great tool independent contractors can use to find work, and it’s based on referral marketing. It’s a new crowdsourcing recruitment and candidate referral website called Peerbrief, which was founded by Rob Fanshawe, a recruitment expert with 15 years industry experience, and who previously founded and directed 33 Talent in Sydney.

Peerbrief offers two services. The first is free for referrers – that is independent contractors, consultants, remote workers, and so on – to join and you’ll receive job alerts matched to your professional experience from potential employers. If, however, you know someone who is better matched to that job, you can refer the job to them – if they’re hired, the employer pays you $1,000 for your trouble.

The other service offered by Peerbrief is a subscription-based software service, which allows companies to set up closed referrals so their employees can refer candidates for jobs.

Referring the People in Your Sphere of Influence

If you’ve ever worked in a large company before, then you’re probably aware of the incentives they give employees for referring friends or colleagues for positions going vacant. Peerbrief works off same principal, and rewards people for referring their contacts for work.

At the moment, Peerbrief is working with three industries – tech, media, and marketing and advertising – so if you have previous experience in any of these industries, I recommend you (and your colleagues) join today and get referring!

All of that being said, I would caution not to put your eggs all in one basket. As these types of services gain more popularity, the work tends to become harder to come by as employers have a greater pick of potential hires. This is why I still recommend LinkedIn and face-to-face networking events as a way to grow and develop your business.

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As always, I think it’s best if you have a number of marketing strategies on the go at once, as often, it takes a while for them to gain traction. If you have many plates spinning at once, so to speak, you’re less likely to find yourself in the midst a dry spell. If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively market your business, there are two marketing modules in our Small Business Management Course. Visit our website to enrol or learn more today.

 

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Referral Marketing: LinkedIn is a Free Website and Resume

Michael Griffiths is holding a series of referral marketing workshops in Sydney.
Michael Griffiths is holding a series of referral marketing workshops in Sydney.

When you start a new business, it’s incredibly important that you consider how you’re going to market your business to gain new customers. We cover the more traditional marketing strategies in our Small Business Management course, such as print advertising and even Google Adwords, but you shouldn’t only focus on these methods of marketing, as there are other, more powerful ways to market your business to customers.

I’ve written about referral marketing on this blog before, where I said that having a blog was a very effective way of getting people to talk about your business. If you frequently publish blog posts that your readers find valuable, they’re more likely to refer you on to their contacts. This is a form of referral marketing.

Have LinkedIn?, Need a Website?

Some people use their blog as a way to drive traffic to their website, but if you have a LinkedIn profile, I would say you don’t even need a website, since LinkedIn already gathers your professional information and then recommends you to other LinkedIn users with similar interests and professional experience.

I used to have my own personal website at the domain www.slisar.com.au, where I used to write and publish blog posts. I wrote a couple of blogs on it and tried to make myself seem amazing. After all, I had this domain and I thought, what on earth will I do with it if I don’t fill it up with stuff about me?

Sometime later I discovered the benefits of a LinkedIn profile, and I did away with my personal website. Now if you type in my domain name it directs to my LinkedIn profile (feel free to try it and connect with me, if you’d like) where you can see my online resume.

For many independent contractors – home-based bookkeepers, virtual assistants, etc – this is all you need to get started working in the digital age. You can still keep a blog, just as I do with the EzyLearn blog, which is connected to my LinkedIn profile so that when I write something, my LinkedIn connections can read it, like it, and start a conversation about it.

However, I probably don’t use LinkedIn as much as I should, but someone who does is Michael Griffiths, a small business marketing guru. He has helped companies with their online marketing for several years, and with a background in sports coaching, it’s little wonder he started teaching people about online marketing.

He now mostly focuses on referral marketing, and LinkedIn is a powerful tool he uses a lot. In fact, he’s created a training workshop that’s being held this coming Tuesday, August 19 in Milsons Point (in Sydney). That only leaves you with a few days to register, but if you’re serious about finding new ways to market and grow your business, it’s worth it.

Otherwise, if you don’t think you can make it on Tuesday, he’s holding another workshop in November. To register or find out more about Michael Griffiths’ referral marketing workshop click here.

Free Video: Michael Griffiths explaining the benefits of having a live and active website

Here’s a video of Michael talking about the value of having a blog and an active website that is regularly updated with new content. When you hear Michael in action during a presentation you realised how freely he shares his knowledge and experiences, enjoy.

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Is Google Your Sugar Daddy?

google marketing networking
Show Me the Money: A thorough understanding of how to use Google can help you – and your business – earn more.

We been speaking about referral marketing a lot lately, and in a recent post about marketing action plans, we talked about why you should include referral marketing and/or networking as a marketing strategy in your marketing plan. That may seem silly to some people, since networking doesn’t always translate to sales straight away, but we’ve discovered another reason why you should include it in your marketing plan: Google!

Google Outlines My Referrals

We were recently at our web stats using the Google Analytics app for Android, when we discovered that even Google separates the traffic to your website from other websites as ‘referrals’. This really highlighted the fact that you can be receiving referrals online from any news or content you make available on the web.

How to Create Great Online Content

The most accessible way to create good content online that will drive independent referrals for your business is to maintain a blog. If you publish a few posts each week that are highly relevant and highly targeted to your readers (your customers), the more likely they are to tweet, like or share your content with their friends, families, and colleagues.

Use YouTube

You could even take it a step further. Maybe you’re an IT consultant and you’re looking for other ways to connect with your customers and provide them with informative content – why not create a few YouTube tutorials that you can embed in your website and share on your social media platforms. With a little care, and some thought to the execution, you’ll set yourself apart from the other IT guys who only talk in gigabytes and mainframes.

Move Up the Google Rankings

The other upside of creating regular content is that you’ll move your way up through the Google ranks, which in turn, will bring you more referrals from Google, too. SEO also plays a big role in your Google rankings, but only so long as you’re creating the content people want.

If you truly want a Google Sugar Daddy, then you need to keep pushing relevant, informative content online, so you can engage with your customers and clients online.

Thinking about starting your own Bookkeeping business – or any other kind of business? We cover more about the powers of Google and how to market and advertise your business in our Small Business Management Course

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But Networking Isn’t Making Me Any Money! Putting Together a Marketing Action Plan

marketing action plan networking
With a Marketing Action Plan, you’ll be able to isolate which marketing strategies are working best for your small business.

In the marketing module of our Small Business Management course, our students learn about marketing action plans, and throughout the course come to create their own marketing plan for their soon-to-be business. We also talked about referral marketing and networking in our last post, in which we outlined what every business should be doing to grow their customer base. For this reason, it should also be included in your marketing action plan.

What IS a Marketing Action Plan?

A marketing action plan sets out all of the marketing strategies for your business, including your goals and how you intend to achieve them. For consistency, and so that you can see and measure how each of your strategies have performed, we recommend that you include any of your networking activities in your marketing action plan.

Aside from being able to isolate what strategies — networking, advertising, email newsletters, etc — have performed the best at delivering your marketing goals, including your networking activities in your marketing plan, with a schedule, will also help to keep you accountable and ensure you actually put the time into networking.

The Money Comes Later

Because networking is often seen as not being immediately revenue generating — after all, many times you’re drinking tea and coffee and eating biscuits, while you chat with other business owners — it can be tempting to let your networking go by the wayside. But you shouldn’t — just as you shouldn’t let your other marketing activities go by the wayside, whatever they may be.

Share the Load

It’s also good to include details about each of your marketing strategies, so you can delegate it to another member of staff to project manage. So if one of your marketing strategies was to send a weekly email newsletter to your database, you could include information about the copywriter you’re employing to write the copy and the information would need to be sent to them each week.

You should also include the cost of employing the copywriter and the cost of distributing the emails each week. We use Feedburner — our preference for a variety of reasons; namely, because it’s free and we use it to distribute our blog. Feedburner also comes with the stability of being a Google product (we’re currently creating more content for a Google course, by the way). Learn more about Feedburner in our WordPress training course.

By including this information, you’re able to accurately measure how successful your newsletters strategy has been compared with, say, advertising in your local paper. Since you’re also including your networking activities, too, also include any membership fees or the cost of meals in your marketing plan, too.

Continually Changing

Just like a financial plan shouldn’t be a static document, your marketing plan should also evolve with your business as you grow and develop your customer base — and even your product and service offerings, too.

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If you’d like a step-by-step guide on creating a marketing plan for your business, we cover marketing plans in our Small Business Management course, in addition to financial planning, web design, and other important aspects of owning and operating a small business.

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Pimp My Business: Networking How-To’s and an Apple Case Study

networking2
Once you start networking it becomes easier and more natural.

We recently wrote a post about referral marketing and how it can genuinely grow your business. We talk about different marketing strategies in our Small Business Management course, and particularly the different mediums – newspapers, online, etc – that you can use to advertise your business, but referral marketing is one marketing strategy that doesn’t cost a lot and that you can – and should! – begin today.

Apple: A Case Study for Using Referral Marketing

Besides driving sales, getting people talking about your business, its products or services (or creating ‘awareness’) is the goal of pretty much any marketing campaign. Consider Apple, for example. As a company they came back from the brink in the mid-2000’s when they launched the iPod. Apple had always created far superior products to IBM, but it wasn’t until Apple really pushed themselves as the trendier, far superior alternative to IBM and Microsoft-based products that they could become the company they are today.

The success of Apple is not just that their products were better (because they always were), but the way they marketed them to their customers, which relied heavily on referral marketing. Apple knew that once someone tried an iPod, they’d tell their friends about it and they’d, in turn, tell their friends about it, and so on.

Basic Networking How-To’s:

That’s basically what happened. And you can do the same for your business, even if you don’t have Apple’s marketing budget (or even their technological know-how). It starts with networking, so we’ve put together a few networking How To’s to get you on your way:

  1. Find your tribe: Whether you’re looking to connect with other local business owners or perhaps you’re specifically looking to connect with other bookkeepers, you need to find your tribe and make connections with them. You’d be surprised just how many other business owners are out there, just like you, looking to connect with others. Check your local newspaper, the noticeboard at your local shopping centre, gym or café. There are also a number of great online tools that facilitate networking – meetup.com is one of them, and a personal favourite of ours.
  2. Use social media: Social media is another great way to connect and interact with your customers and clients. But it’s also a great way to connect with other movers and shakers within your industry. Twitter and LinkedIn are especially great platforms for cultivating online connections with people in your industry. It’s important, however, not to treat Twitter as your own personal spamming platform. Your Twitter feed should be interesting and informative – and show that there’s a real person (or group of people) behind the Twitter handle, rather than a robot pushing out links to your website.
  3. Follow up – When you meet a new person, always ask for their business card and always offer yours. Remember that networking is not about selling, and in fact, you may not actually sell anything to that person, but if they like you, they may just refer you to their friend or colleague who is looking for your services. The key to getting to this point – where this other person is referring you to others – is being genuine. Take an interest in that person’s business and follow-up with them. Connect with that person on social media, send them email – follow up!
  4. Get outside your comfort zone: Instead of always going to your local networking group, try a group somewhere else. Business Networking International, or BNI, is a global networking organisation that is always looking for new members. It is very structured and not for everyone, but its huge success is partly because of the structured way they operate. Find a chapter near you and see if it works for you (tip: you may try a couple of chapters before you find your tribe).

So what are you still reading this blog post for? Go forth and pimp your business! Network, people!

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Do You Get Other People to Talk You Up?

referral marketing
Using your clients to refer you is a great way to generate new business.

Marketing and referrals are essential components of any successful business. We cover marketing in the Marketing Action Plan and Undertake Marketing Activities of our Small Business Management Course, where we talk about the ways you can market your business to get those first few customers.

Referral marketing is a great way to gain new customers, and involves encouraging your existing client base to promote your business and its services.

A lot people do this already without even knowing it – when they like your Facebook page, retweet one of your tweets, or recommend your services to their friends, for example.

Blogging and Getting Referrals

Having and maintaining a blog is one of the best ways to get people talking about your business. The more you write about topics that are relevant to your readers, the more likely they are to refer you to their friends and colleagues – just as we’re doing right now!

Referrals Via Social Media

In the last few years, social media has come to replace some of the ways we communicate with our customers – or at least the way we keep in touch with them.

Using social media platforms like LinkedIn is another fantastic way to not only stay in touch with your clients, but to also promote your skills as a business owner at the same time.

LinkedIn is your online CV that represents you, the business owner. It shows prospective clients how well-skilled you are to carry out work for them.

But it also allows your current clients to see what you’ve been up to, and for this reason, it’s a powerful marketing tool.

We’ve written about some of the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn previously, but one of the most important things to remember about LinkedIn is that, even though it is a social media platform that can be changed or updated whenever you like, you should still keep your profile as professional and consistent as possible.

Referral Marketing and Networking Events

So far we’ve talked a lot about the virtual world – but what about the real world? Going to networking events is one of the best ways you can connect with other business owners, who are looking to connect with you too.

Join meet-up and get amongst it with other business owners in your local area – you’d be surprised how many people didn’t know that it was your business they were looking for!

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Referral marketing is an exceptionally powerful marketing tool, providing it’s done right. Make it one of your daily goals to always devote some time to maintaining your referral marketing activities. So whether it’s your blog or social media feed, spend a few minutes each day getting others to talk about your business. Find out more about our comprehensive Small Business Management Course.