Are you a small business struggling to find work? You have emailed and posted loads of marketing materials, gone to many exhibitions and networking events, and cold called many companies, it was all very expensive but the work is still not flowing in. What more could be done.
Why not try and use Internet Business to Business forums to capture work. The forum lets two or more business entities communicate with each other who other wise may never have found out about each others existence. The communication could take many forms like, exchanging views on best practice, or simply one party looking for another party do some work.
There is a certain method to make the use of business to business forums effective. Your aim is not simply to go on to the forums and say you are said business and does anyone have any work for you. This approach may not be very effective.
You have to try to build up your brand and reputation on the forums. How do you do this? Well there are many ways but here a few pointers.
One way to do this is by responding to other people in the same industry as yourself, who are seeking your advice. If you can provide free help which the other person finds useful, it gets the dialogue going, builds trust and eventually the free help may result in paid work.
Another way to show you know stuff is by placing knowledge based articles on forums related to your industry. These articles can cover areas that you yourself have found tricky and you know that other people in a similar boat would very much appreciate the guidance you provide in the article. Or the articles can be best practice articles that people who have less industry experience than you, could use to improve the way they work. Again, it’s all about getting other people to trust and have confidence in your abilities, up and above your competitors.
Off course you also respond to individuals who are specifically requesting for a service provider. But try to market your self as much as possible in your response, list your experience, list some of your customers, and list your articles.
Finally to summarise, it’s all about getting your name out there in a more confidence building manner than just an advert. There are many people advertising, but how does the customer know you are better than your competitor? And how do they know you can do the job well? Using forums is a way of providing a free taster of your abilities. Think of using the forum as going to an exhibition, your articles are an example of you exhibiting at a stand, and your communication is similar to people visiting your stand or you visiting other peoples stand. The better your stand and pitch, the more people visiting your stand and finding it useful, and the more stands you visit to network will certainly improve your prospects of gaining work.