In a time when in-person networking events are being canceled, marketers and sales professionals are focusing on engaging with prospects digitally to sustain lead nurture and generation.
This tactic isn’t necessarily cutting edge. Digital networking has been used for quite some time, but it’s especially fantastic to build and sustain connections with your leads during a pandemic.
Yet, with written communication comes hurdles. A lack of tone to accompany a message can lead to the wrong impression and losing out on opportunities before they even get off the ground.
Sans face-to-face interactions, it’s up to marketers to ensure they’re communicating in a way that conveys both trustworthiness and likeability and that they’re not inadvertently putting up barriers to what could otherwise be meaningful relationships.
When you’re looking to connect with a lead digitally, it helps to be aware of the faux pas that can backtrack your efforts. To help you out, we’ve compiled the four biggest mistakes marketers make with digital networking — as well as ways to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Canned Cold Outreach
In a survey of executives, 75 percent said they’d be willing to schedule a meeting or attend an event based solely on a cold call or email. If you’re struggling to convert leads off cold outreach, then it probably has more to do with your approach than the method itself.
If you want to stand out in the right ways with your cold email, you need to put yourself into context and focus on engaging your leads. Whoever you’re reaching out to needs something to hold on to if they’re going to see your message as legitimate. This can come in the form of your personality shining through, a specific reference to content, a previous event the prospect attended, or a prior conversation you’ve had that made you think they’d be open to hearing from you.
The Takeaway: Cold outreach can work for digital networking, but you’ve got to do it right. For better results, skip the canned text and show your leads that there’s a real human behind the message.
Mistake #2: Lacking Technical Clarity for Digital Events
If you’re going to go through all of the trouble of organizing and scheduling a webinar, call, or meeting for your digital connections, then you better make sure they’ll be able to access it when the time comes.
Your leads are busy. Overly complicated (or convoluted) digital events are going to be a tough sell. From the invite to the log-in process, every step of the way should be as painless as possible, with clearly defined details regarding what the event is about and how to attend.
The takeaway: Digital events are an excellent way to build authority for your brand and corral many like-minded people. They go a long way toward forging connections that can lead to something more down the line. As you plan your event, look at it from the viewpoint of your lead and think of what you can do to ease the process and ensure that more people show up. Make your event accessible with adequate social and email promotion, and share the registration or landing page so your network can catch wind and immediately see the value in attending.
Mistake #3: Not Having a Helpful Mindset
While a conversion may be the end goal, digital networking isn’t really about you — or at least, it’s not just about you. Be mindful of that when you reach out, and be sure that you’re willing to offer something in return if you’re looking for something.
The strongest connections are ones that are mutually beneficial. Online or in-person, one-sided relationships in business don’t tend to go very far. Think of how you can provide value to a lead, and make it clear that that’s your prerogative in your outreach. Not only will this help you make a stronger connection, but it will also help you form better bonds right from the start.
The takeaway: Digital networking is a give and take. Offer up both your time and your insight if you’re asking for it in return, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting a warm response. Don’t be all about the sell. Instead, share educational content or other resources that help address specific pain points your leads are experiencing. This will show them that you care about their success and can be a trusted partner.
Mistake #4: Not Diversifying Your Contact List
When you attend networking events, the guest list is pretty much out of your hands. However, with digital networking, you can broaden your scope and reach out to a lot more people. So, take advantage! Diversify your leads instead of focusing on the same groups, and you’ll notice that there are a lot of benefits that come with getting out of your rut.
Since you’re not investing more than an email in the initial stages of digital networking, take chances with your leads that you might not have previously considered due to their location, their job position, or some other demographic signifier. Who knows, your next big opportunity might just be where you least expect it.
The takeaway: We all tend to stick with what works. But you have a lot to learn by stepping outside of the box with your contacts — and very little to lose. Diversify your contact list to increase your reach and potential, and you’ll open up the door to more opportunities.
Digital networking isn’t anything new. Most of us have been doing some form of digital networking for a while. However, in times like these, we have to double down on efforts that have proven effective. Just make sure you avoid the four mistakes mentioned above, and you’ll see some beneficial outcomes from your digital networking.
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