Debbie Mayo-Smith international inspirational motivational how-to speaker technology, time management, improving business performance
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

Free internet tools to build your business

Feeling challenged finding new business and opportunities in this economic climate? I've got two ideas you might like.

First, try googlealert.com. It monitors the internet for your searches and sends you a daily (or weekly) email update.

Put this free service to work for you. Here are several other ideas to get you started.

NEW BUSINESS
Do you respond to requests for proposals? Do you look for business activity that you can fit into? Have Google Alert send the search to you, then decide if you want to investigate.

I use it to look for speaking opportunities. One of my alerts is to search for the words "conference 2009" in a website ending in ".com.au" where the word "scientific" does not appear.

HELP YOUR CLIENTS

In this economy, great customer service will shine brightly. Let Google Alert help you to help your clients. If you know their interests, their industry problems and what their roles and responsibilities are, you can sift through the alerts for relevant material and then email the information to them.

One of my clients, Leisa Donlan, who is chief executive of the Rotational Moulders Association of Australasia, has been doing this for years.

"Our customers [members] operate in a constantly changing market. Information is vital. We use Google alerts for daily updates on new articles on the internet relevant to our customers' interests," she says.

"That's great on its own, but often not all is pertinent.

"We personally sort out the stories that are specifically relevant to our member's interest (eg, water tanks) and then send a weekly 'Media Update' tailored to suit them, which includes just a few sentences on the story and the hyperlink to the rest. If they want to continue reading, it's just a click. Our members love it."

CHECK YOUR COMPETITION

Why not use Google alerts to keep an eye on what your competition is doing? Set an alert with an individual's name, the company name or a product as the search term. You might want to hone it to exclude their website to ascertain what is happening outside their company.

The second suggestion is to consider setting up a profile and connecting with others on social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. LinkedIn is skewed towards business, jobs, opportunities and networking. Facebook has a different complexion; it's more aligned with building relationships.

Don't entirely dismiss Facebook for business though.

Christina Force, managing director of photographer marketing agent The Collective Force, recommends knowing exactly what you want to use networking sites for before you begin.

"I buckled under pressure and signed up for a Facebook page early this year. All my clients in Asia are on it and I've managed to track down and rebuild relationships with clients who have become highly successful decision-makers in countries with much bigger accounts such as the US and Europe. It's been brilliant.

"I purposely refuse access to any family members and friends unless they're in the right industry or have the right attitude to be exposed to all my clients. I have of course explained to my family that it is a work tool only. I hide my list of "friends" (which on Facebook is exposed to all and sundry unless you block it) until they have been accepted as a friend on my page. This keeps my client list away from competitors' prying eyes. I refuse access to any photographers other than those I represent for the same reason - even if they're really good friends.

"I use the picture gallery to display my photographers' work, such as exhibitions and specific series of work not on our website. I also have a link to the website.

"When I travel overseas to meet clients I put general travel announcements on Facebook so my clients know I'm in town. Many of my clients freelance so they respond very positively to these postings as otherwise I wouldn't have been able to reach them.

"Facebook is set as my home page so I can easily update it daily. When on holiday, I post notes of where I am - even though not working, my clients are still exposed to my news.

"Every day I'm amazed at the number of clients and old clients who ask to be on my page. This is also because they want to know what other creatives in their industry are doing - potential networking for them too!"

I am sure you'll agree that when you consider that both of these tools are free, you shouldn't go past using them to your advantage.

Google Alert brings you opportunities from outside your sphere of influence and social networking sites work from within.

Debbie Mayo-Smith (BSc Hons Econ) is an International Motivational Business Speaker and Managing Director of SuccessIS! (http://www.successis.co.nz) and a leading specialist in easy practical ways to improve business profitability, personal productivity and Internet marketing. Debbie lives in NZ and travels the world speaking, writing and training. By the way, if you'd like to get lots of neat tricks like this, plus marketing and business development tips, why not enrol for our free newsletter?


This article is copyright to Debbie Mayo-Smith & SuccessIS. You may use it for your newsletter, website or as an article. It can be reproduced - but in its entirety and with inclusion of Debbie Mayo-Smith as the author and the weblink www.successis.co.nz


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