Bristol, United Kingdom (PressExposure) April 20, 2009 -- Bristol, UK, April 17, 2009 -- Small businesses should build online business networking into their marketing plans as a low-cost means of finding and developing business relationships, according to marketing experts.
Whether itâs through blogging or twittering, Facebook or Ecademy, Business Forums or LinkedIn, online business networking has a multitude of benefits for small-business owners and managers, says Lucy Whittington, director of Inspired Business Marketing and expert contributor to Marketing Donut, the essential marketing website for small firms.
Whittington says benefits from online business networking [http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=5000756965&site=140] range from using it as a marketing and PR channel, to finding help and advice, from filtering news stories to using it as a learning tool. Above all, though, online networking is about directly interacting with customers, suppliers, and other current and potential business contacts. What is more, Whittington says: âIt costs very little, apart from time.â
The gains from online networking can be great. In a recent survey by Ecademy of more than 3,000 businesses, a fifth of respondents claimed to get between 10 per cent and 50 per cent of their new business through it. A further 12 per cent said they get more than 50 per cent of their business through online activities.
However, Whittington warns that to make the most of the new opportunities, small firms must have an objective. âItâs like everything you do in business â you need a plan,â she says. âIf you went to a face-to-face networking event in the real world you would choose your event carefully, find out who was going, target a few people beforehand, know what you wanted to say to whom when you were there, follow things up after the event, and at the end of it all assess the results. It should be just like that online. The difference is that online you can network with many, many more people - and everything is much easier.â
She points out that online networking is particularly suited to todayâs recessionary climate. âPeople want to buy from other people, rather than an anonymous businesses, and from people they know are knowledgeable. With online networking you can show the personality and expertise behind a business, show there are real people there.â
Whittington advises small firms to research networking sites carefully before concentrating on just one or two that suit their business aims. Then, she says: âItâs very much about promoting you, your ideas, views, expertise and knowledge, and what you stand for. You can make yourself very visible, even as a very small business.â
Further information: Become a Marketing Donut expert by visiting the blog http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/contributors/ Find out how to join Marketing Donut here http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/join/ Find out more about online business networking with Ecademy Press Release Distribution By PressReleasePoint
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