Archive for August 2012

6 Adelaide Business Networking Tips

Networking is one of those buzzwords that everyone talks about doing but don't seam to have a clear idea of why.

When I started my SEO business I found myself doing a lot of networking without having a clear idea of what exactly the value was and how it was going to help my business.

I regularly attend the Flying Solo small business meetup which is held monthly in different places around Adelaide (next one coming up on September 5th). In the lead up to the meetup, I always see people umming and ahhing over whether they can fit it in to their busy schedule which seems to point to the fact that most people think there's some value there but that its far from the most productive thing they could be doing with their time.

Good things that can come from networking;

  • New clients/customers (either those that you meet or by referral from someone you meet) 
  • Increased reputation, personal branding and awareness
  • Business/joint venture partners
  • Business advice and tips
  • An opportunity to make friends, get support and vent with like minded people

My Networking Tips

1) Figure out what your networking objectives are. If you want to meet small business owners, then maybe attending a networking event for professionals is not the best use of your time.

2) Arrive early. Its harder to enter existing conversations than it is to start them. If you get there early, you can strike up a conversation with people as they arrive.

3) Try and meet everybody. You never know what you could be missing out on so a good strategy is to try and meet everyone then go back to the people who are most interesting to you if you have time. This is not a hard and fast rule. If you're engaged in conversation with someone interesting and relevant then you don't want to just kick them to the curb but if there's a break in the conversation, use the opportunity to move onto someone new rather than returning to the same person.

4) Focus on others, not yourself. I think you can get far more value by listening, asking questions and helping other people out than you can by talking about yourself and your business. If you can provide value to someone, they're much more likely hire you, refer you work and talk about you in a positive light to others. Further, by listening and asking questions you can learn more about the problems people are having and how you can help them solve those problems.

5) Collect business cards. While your instinct might be to try and give out as many of your business cards as possible, don't forget to collect the business cards of those that you meet so you can connect with them later. I also like to group business cards by the event so if I'm going back next time I can have a look at the cards of those I met so I remember their names and what they do when I see them again.

6) Follow up and follow up some more. In the first few days after the event, try and follow up with those that you met. Add onto the conversation that you had with another thought or a link to something they might find useful or interesting. Try and keep in contact with people by connecting with them every now and then via email, social media, commenting on their blog or even a phone call.

For some more ideas and pro tips, check out this networking article.

Adelaide Networking Events
  • Flying Solo Meetup - Small business owners, held monthly, usually 5-10 people 
  • Adelaide Open Networkers - Some small business owners but mostly professionals, held every 2 months or so, 20-40 people (last time I was there) 
  • The Startup Club Adelaide - They haven't had any events for a while but I think they are starting them again soon? I've not been to any events so don't know much about them but I've heard they're good 
  • Young Leaders at the Office - Young IT professionals, every 1-2 months, small cost for non ACA members, 15-30 people 
  • Silicon Beach Adelaide Meetup - Tech based entrepreneurs, geeks and businesses, held monthly, 10-30 people
  • Adelaide Word of Mouth - Business owners & professionals, a few events each month, free, I've not been to any events yet but I hear they are quite popular.
Got some networking tips of your own? Put them in the comments below.

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Things to Consider Before Developing Your Website [Guest Post]

This is a guest post by Urszula Richards from online iq. I discussed these topics with Urszula in a recent interview for our new Web Marketing Adelaide podcast (Episode 2) and this post summarises and expands upon that interview. You can find out more about Urszula's business; online iq, in their company profile in our internet marketing directory. - Nick, Editor

What are some things people should consider before having a website designed?

There are two primary things a website must do. It must solve the needs or problems of the website visitor, and it needs to help the business owner achieve its goals.Its true to say that the best websites are designed for the end users - as they will vote with their actions about whether there is anything of value or interest to them. This is one reason why it is good to have an objective person to help with developing your site.

The second thing is that it must align with the business goals. For established businesses, these can be quite clear, but for a young business, these could be quite formative and it can be difficult getting to the bottom of what a business offers (especially if it is a service business). So my advice would be to take the time to get very clear about this.

Other things important to consider:

  • budget - contrary to what most people do, telling your developer what your budget is will help them help you be realistic about what can be achieved, and appropriate options suggested.
  • online shopping websites - these can be built *fairly* cheaply BUT will they work? Be sure to factor into your budget photography (main expense if you have lots of items; but photographs sell), your fulfillment plan (who will be handling orders), shipping and payment methods. Then, you need to allocate funds to some serious marketing. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. If you don't budget for these items, your 'budget' shopping cart may well become a white elephant.
  • ongoing relationship with your web firm - a website is a little like a car. You get the car, but you may need driving lessons, maintenance and fuel to get the most out of it. Work with someone you trust - they will be your first port of call for making your website work for you.

Are mobile websites important?

Awareness of mobile is really important, but what does this mean?

It means that you need to be aware that your website will be viewed on any number of devices, including phones, tablets, huge screens and tiny portable PC's. There is no way a website can look exactly the same across all these devices.

However at the very least -
  • make sure your graphics do not include Flash (as it can't be viewed on many mobiles); or at the very least that those pages redirect to an alternative mobile friendly page when accessed from a mobile device.
  • do view your site on a range of mobile devices and see if there are simple changes you can make to improve it
  • consider having a *micro* mobile site version - which would show up on mobile phones, for local business - ie. phone number, google map, possibly faqs; just the basic information 'on the go'
On the other hand if your target market and/or your offering is very 'mobile-centric' you may want to consider an entire website version completely optimised for mobile.

What are 5 ways business owners can market their website once it has been created?

First a note about marketing in general. It should be seen as a form of genuine, long term, relationship building. I also see no distinction between online and offline marketing - "online" is just a medium.

  1. Make sure you are listed in all the local directories. If you are in a particular niche and there is a directory for that niche, make sure you are listed there. (eg if you are a restaurant, make sure you are listed in Urban Spoon). Take control of these listings - so you have up-to-date and interesting information / photos.
  2. Blog. You have probably heard about blogging 'ad nauseum' but there is no better way to prove you are current, knowledgeable and interested in your domain. The added bonus of this is that once this has been created, you will actually have something of substance to distribute via your social networks.
  3. Do use social media - but make it interesting, relevant or delightful (ok, you might not be able to delight every time!) to your audience. Don't simply have social links on your site going to a very empty Facebook or Twitter page.
  4. Capitalise on your web address. Add it to your signature (make sure it is clickable, and not an image), use it in your print advertising, and distribute it on your business cards wherever you can.
  5. Understand the importance of your database. Not just names and emails, but who they are. Segment it as much as possible, so that when you do communicate with people, it is a communication which is of value and relevance to them. This is one of the key reasons why I use Business Catalyst to build my websites in. It has a Customer Database and the ability to segment and communicate with your customers. I only wish my clients used it more!! In fact my interview on Web Marketing Adelaide with Nick was a direct result of ongoing, relevant occasional communication via my segmented database.

About onlineiq.

We are a small boutique web design and development agency offering both the creation of websites and the necessary training, support and maintenance to keep them meeting business goals. You can find us @ or call 1300 970 730

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