Milwaukee is an excellent hub of resources and opportunity for any entrepreneur, especially the small businesses that continue to flourish in the city. Getting started with your idea builds momentum and excitement to keep you going. Moving your idea into a profitable reality takes time and energy. Three great tips to help you maximize your small business marketing opportunities in Milwaukee are networking, join a chamber, and utilize social media.
One of the best ways to get the word out about your business in Milwaukee is networking. There are a ton, literally a ton, of networking events that take place almost every day and night in Milwaukee. Using sites such as Meetup.com or simply searching the web for “Milwaukee Networking” will generate a lot of local events. Expand your search term to include your industry (or your target audience’s industry) such as Milwaukee Healthcare Networking or Milwaukee Manufacturing Networking or even just the words Milwaukee Small Business Networking.
Once you are at the event, remember that although this might be scary if its your first time, remember that everyone who is attending is there for the same reason as you – to build relationships and get the word out about what they are doing.
My biggest tip for the new networker is to
1) Practice your elevator speech
- who you are
- what you do
- what value you bring to someone
- who your target audience is
- specific example of adding value
- Or something along those lines
“Hi, I’m Joe Smith with XYZ Company. We help our clients save money by identifying wasted steps within their internal processes. We love working with manufacturers. Actually, last week we just finished a project that helped save our client over $50,000 in the last quarter.”
2) Be genuine with the intention to meet new people, not with the intention to sell.
3) Whatever you promise to deliver, make sure you deliver it and you do it quickly. Even if it’s sending the link to a great article you read, its extremely important to follow-through.
4) Get involved in a group you like! The best way to meet new people is to join a committee and get involved. You will not only be meeting new people, but you will be showing that you are a giver. This is your opportunity to make an impression.
JOIN A CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Greater Milwaukee Area has a number of Chambers that are active and want to help you get the word out about your business. Joining a chamber will usually get you listed in a directory (printed and online). You will receive details about a variety of events that are sponsored by the chamber for both networking and educational purposes. Joining gives you access to a number of resources (chamber members) that could help you grow your business by means of their expertise. That same member list gives you hot prospects to start engaging and targeting with the details about your business.
A few of the chambers in the greater Milwaukee area include:
- Downtown and surrounding: http://www.mmac.org
- Franklin/Oak Creek: http://southsuburbanchamber.com
- Wauwatosa: http://tosachamber.org
- West Allis/West Milwaukee: http://www.wawmchamber.com
- Glendale: http://www.glendale-chamber.com
- South Shore: http://www.ssccwi.com
- Mequon/Thiensville: http://www.mtchamber.org
UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s been said over and over again, but there is good reason for that – it’s true! Engaging online with your local audience is a great way to spread the word about your small business in Milwaukee. There are a number of online avenues to engage in:
Twitter – utilizing Twitter’s search feature, find local companies or individuals who you want to advocate for, who you’d like to engage with and start engaging! Create a list or find public lists related to your industry or Milwaukee in general. Here’s a few lists to subscribe too:
- Fox6 ‘Milwaukee’: https://twitter.com/fox6now/lists/Milwaukee
- Huffington Post ‘Milwaukee People’: https://twitter.com/HuffingtonPost/lists/milwaukee-people
- Milwaukee Brewing Company ‘Milwaukee Businesses’: https://twitter.com/MKEbrewco/lists/milwaukee-businesses
- Tom Snyder ‘Milwaukee Businesses’: https://twitter.com/triveraguy/lists/milwaukee-businesses
LinkedIn – As you meet new people and build relationships (networking), you should add them to your LinkedIn as a contact. More importantly is to share valuable content in your status updates and find a few groups to engage in. A few active LinkedIn groups for Milwaukee to consider joining include:
- Fuel Milwaukee: http://goo.gl/SPCDcd
- Milwaukee B2B Networking Group: http://goo.gl/BPFG19
- Link Up Milwaukee: http://goo.gl/4xRVEm
- Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce: http://goo.gl/44ySka
Whatever the avenue or medium you decide to get the word out about your business, make sure you say it with confidence! The theme here is getting involved and engaging. Sitting idle will not generate results.
What additional ways do you recommend engaging with your target audience in Milwaukee?
Lori J. Highby, President/Owner @ Keystone Click
Ms. Highby’s expertise is in Internet marketing, user experience, seo, and strategic planning. Lori received her master’s degree in business administration from Cardinal Stritch University. She speaks and blogs on the topics of social media, e-commerce, online marketing and entrepreneurship. Recently, she collaborated with industry professionals to develop a social media marketing curriculum for Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Lori is the 2013 recipient of the “Bravo! Entrepreneur Award” from BizTimes Media. She has been helping businesses market themselves online since the early 2000s.
In her spare time, she is usually found at an ice rink playing hockey with her husband Andrew, or playing with her two miniature dachshunds Frankie and Cameo.
Maximizing your small business marketing opportunities in Milwaukee