For most small business owners, friends and family are your primary contacts. Not only are they among your first potential clients; they can also become a terrific source of word-of-mouth advertising.

In addition, current and past clients – with whom you have already forged positive relationships – often fill the same roles. As such, all of these individuals can and should become central targets of your marketing campaign.

But of course, no one wants to be “that guy” at the family reunion or neighborhood barbecue. Everyone knows at least one of “those guys”. Instead of connecting with you and sharing truly enjoyable interactions, these guys bore you by centering every conversation around their business. Then the pushy, obnoxious sales pitch begins. We all find ourselves running from these types… And people who are running from you certainly won’t become customers or refer their contacts to you!

So, how do you successfully market to your family and friends?  Here are 3 hints:


Focus on Helping and Informing, Not Selling

Identify opportunities to share information about your business, such as blogging, posting on social media, email marketing, and in-person conversations when relevant topics are broached. But avoid the temptation to “close the deal”, focusing instead on helping and informing your contacts.

What does this mean? It means that instead of approaching interactions as an opportunity to convince, you approach them with an intention to help. Yes, this applies to online interactions as well. Identify the information your contacts might find useful to their specific situation, and then provide that information in a friendly way. Keep the focus on the information itself, and not on pushing for a sale.

Over time, answering questions and providing relevant information will keep you “top of mind” in your sphere of influence. When a relative or friend needs your services, you will be the first person who comes to mind. And when their friends or relatives express a need, you will be the person they recommend. This is how you earn valuable referrals.


Utilize Social Media

Anything posted on your business page should also be shared on your personal page. Doing this will increase visibility of the post. It’s also a polite way to offer information to family and friends, that they are free to engage or ignore according to their interest level.


Ask Permission

Before adding anyone to your email list, ask for their permission. Most will say yes, and you avoid the unspoken awkwardness of repeatedly sending unwanted emails.

Following these guidelines will help you achieve status as a “friendly expert” in the minds of your friends, family, and other contacts. Use these strategies in all of your interactions, and your referrals and sales will skyrocket.

For more information on how to craft helpful, informative messages while avoiding pressure-filled sales language, give us a call. We can walk you through the process of revamping your personal and online presentation.