When someone refers to a B2B company, maybe you think of a big software company or a national corporation that does industrial manufacturing. But what about the attorney’s office downtown or the print shop on the corner? Those are business-to-business companies, too. You probably rub shoulders with B2B professionals every day without even knowing it-the great news is those small, local B2B companies often need small business Internet marketing services from a B2B copywriter like you.
Most towns are home to a whole host of B2B companies. Think about it… print shops, accountants, attorneys, consultants, ad agencies, graphic designers, engineers, and construction companies all market their services to other businesses.
The list of local B2B prospects in your area is probably huge. And with just a little time and effort, you can connect with these professionals and begin meeting some future clients.
If you’re not already a member of your local chamber of commerce, you should consider becoming one. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet, shake hands, and chat with other B2B professionals in your community who may very well need the small business Internet services you offer-services like SEO copywriting and the creation of online brochures, case studies, and white papers. By attending your chamber of commerce events, you can begin to build a robust contact list of professionals interested in the services of a B2B copywriter.
Even if it’s not in your budget to join the chamber of commerce right now, request an event calendar. Most chambers host many events that are open to the public.
You should also consider joining a trade organization or two. Think about the specific types of businesses you’d like to have on your client list and then check into local organizations serving that community. Become a registered member and start attending meetings and events.
If you’d prefer a smaller venue-and you’re an extra-brave marketer-you can meet business service professionals by dropping into their place of business. Try focusing on ad agencies, event planning groups, graphic design agencies and other business with a public storefront. Some of these types of business get so busy that you might find yourself landing a project right on the spot.
Figuring out where to meet people is the easy part. The next question is what to say when you meet someone.
Introduce your B2B services with impact.
The first rule is not to feel intimidated. When you’re first meeting a prospective client you don’t know if the person you’re meeting works with freelancers, if they have current needs, if they are a hot prospect or an unlikely one. So relax and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Every introduction is a chance to meet someone interesting. If he turns out to be a good prospect, that’s ideal, but even he’s not you still might be in for an enjoyable conversation. Be polite. Be friendly. Be interesting. You never know, he might be able to refer you to someone who IS a qualified prospect.
Don’t forget to smile, and don’t forget to listen. Have some general questions prepared that you can ask anyone. What she does? How long has she been in business? How did she come to be interested in her line of work? These are all good ways to break the ice.
Eventually someone will ask what you do. It’s easy to say “I’m a business-to business copywriter,” but that’s not the right answer. Instead, talk about your services in terms of the benefits you bring to a client. Instead of identifying yourself as a copywriter you could say, “I create B2B marketing materials that are optimized for the web and increase online visibility.” Or, “I help small businesses increase their return on investment when it comes to their marketing.”
Another good thing to keep in mind when you’re networking is to be ready to ask for what you want. Attend every event with a goal. Maybe that goal is to gather contact information from five qualified prospects. If so, when you meet a potential client, simply ask for a business card. Try making this request by promising a benefit. For example, “I have a special report on using case studies to increase conversions that I think you might find useful. If you have a business card, I can send it to you tomorrow.”
Finally, commit to diligent follow up. If you promised to send something in a certain timeframe, do it. Cultivate your connections. Be patient. And eventually, they will bear fruit.
B2B opportunities are there for the taking.
Business-to-business professionals are everywhere, and they need good marketing materials. Work on being confident in a face-to-face introduction or meeting, and you can make a lot of connections with well-qualified prospects right in your area. Face-to-face connections are more likely to convert into clients than those you make over the phone or through email, so make sure you dedicate at least some of your self-promotion time to face to-face meetings either at events or one-on-one.