The reading level for this article is Novice

In my e-book “Articles That Sell”, I’ve shared the secret of marketing your business on the Internet.  If you’ve been active in your efforts, you’ve been writing and publishing free reprint articles.

Guess what?  I’ve got another incredible marketing secret for you.

While online marketing has unlimited potential it often misses a valuable mark.  This missed mark is your own local area.  You could be missing out on immediate opportunities to market your expertise through your writing.

Take a discerning look in your own backyard.  How many potential business allies do you meet yet overlook each day?  Let’s make this simple… begin your day tomorrow with a pen and pad handy.  Make a note of each person you encounter throughout your day, whether in-person or by telephone and/or e-mail.

Home:  spouse/partner and kids.
Coffee Shop:  owner, staff, and business professionals.    
Work:  parking lot attendant, colleagues and clients.
Gym:  staff and other members.
Miscellaneous:  banker, attorney, charities and even your competitors.    

You get the idea, I’ll stop there.  Each of these contacts, even your spouse and kids, presents a potential marketing opportunity.  It all depends on your perception.

Let’s examine the marketing value of these relationships.

Spouse/Partner:  He/she has a career.  Careers come with contacts and we all agree that face-to-face contacts are valuable.  This is particularly true in the area of business, but also in the area of professional and social organizations of your own.  Writing an article for an organization to which your spouse belongs increases your exposure.

Kids:  Most parents are jumping through the hoops of soccer practice, dance lessons and parent-teacher conferences.  What coach or teacher wouldn’t love a parent who participates by contributing an article to the team, class or school newsletter?  Kids don’t always read these but their parents do.  Writing for
school-related publications can deliver your name to countless local readers.

Business Associates:  Gaining exposure via peers in your own field can be tough, especially if yours is very competitive. Contributing an article to a competitor’s business publication or newsletter creates goodwill.  Business publications can be far- reaching and can create immediate recognition of your name within your industry.  If you have an associate who is a small business owner with no publication offer your help in creating one.  You’re almost certain to be asked to submit an article or given appropriate credit for your expertise.

Waitperson and/or Coffee Shop Owner:  These folks are in the trenches and know more business professionals than you may know. Coffee shops play as much a role in business as Board rooms.  Regular customers often view the owners and employees as familiar friends.  Select a busy coffee shop and frequent it regularly. Establish a friendly rapport with the boss and the staff so that they know you well.  As a regular, you’ll benefit if they know about your business as well as the fact that you write.  Be personable, carry business cards and tip generously…  and don’t be surprised!  You can’t buy exposure for the price of a cup of coffee but you can gain recognition by genuinely interacting with others publicly.  Never dismiss the potential of a contact who works in any service industry.

Charities/Community Service Organizations:  While it’s quicker and easier to write a check, taking your donation to the next level can create a definite presence for you.  Since most of these groups are nonprofit offer to contribute a free article.  Try one of these article ideas: a piece about the group’s local
efforts, a press release about a new fundraising effort or offer to write a regular column that covers the positive impact of the group’s work from the viewpoint of a business professional.

Professional Organizations:  You pay your annual membership fee but attend few meetings and/or functions.  Sure there’s prestige with membership but anyone bearing proper credentials can join.  Treat your membership as an investment, a potentially profitable one by being active within the organization.  Out of sight is typically out of mind, so make sure to let people see you regularly.  Be the first one to volunteer your business expertise and/or writing services for any projects.    

Adjust your focus to the potential rather than the immediate and don’t forget to look in your own backyard for business contacts and opportunities.  As your own local awareness increases you will receive reciprocating professional recognition.  It’s just a matter of fine-tuning your perspective.

(c) 2004, Davis Virtual Assistance.  All rights in all media reserved.  Right to publish this article  is granted provided the article and by-line are reprinted intact.

This Marketing article was written by Bonnie Jo Davis on 3/29/2005

Bonnie Jo Davis is an experienced shoestring marketer and her favorite technique is providing content for publishers. She is the author of the e-book Articles That Sell. Sign-up for the monthly Articles That Sell Update newsletter and receive a free