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It Pays to Work the Room:
8 Ways to Market Yourself in a Professional Organization

By: Mary Sweeny

Mary Sweeny is a marketing writer and consultant who believes in studying her clients' businesses to maximize the power of the message. Mary owned a service business (employing 27 people) for ten years. Since selling the business in 1993, she's been writing advertising copy for, and consulting with, clients across the country. Her copy and strategies have brought sales increases of as much as 276 per cent for her clients. To learn more, visit her Web site at

Marketing takes many forms. Association networking is certainly one of them. But, like the other forms of marketing, networking can be done poorly - or extremely well.

Here are 8 ways to market yourself to your fellow members.
  1. Take advantage of member listings and publications. When you attend a meeting, you are given an opportunity to check in, and to add a statement after your name. Take advantage of this! Use the opportunity to clarify what you do and state the main benefit you offer.

    You'll have opportunities to advertise in association publications. I suggest you give it serious consideration. You'll find the cost to be very reasonable, and the exposure, high quality.

  2. Make the most of your 20­second commercial. At most association meetings, you are given 20 seconds or so to introduce yourself and your business. Make the most of those 20 seconds by telling a quick success story, or illustrating a strong benefit of what you do. It shouldn't matter to you if everyone at the meeting remembers you. What should matter is that the people with a need for or interest in your product or service remember you-and contact you.

  3. Participate. The quickest way to develop friendships is to actively participate. Join a committee. Your time will be well invested. You'll develop a list of growing contacts who know you-and your work.

  4. Lead. You probably know the names and faces of most organization officers, board members, and committee chairs. But does everyone know you? As a leader, you become highly visible-and that's good marketing for your business.

  5. Become a Source of Referrals. When you refer business to fellow members, you strengthen relationships, build trust, and gain the appreciation of those you refer. And appreciative people do more than thank you-they reciprocate.

  6. Contribute to the newsletter. Your fellow members are interested in what your business is doing. Submit newsworthy information and informative articles. When your business reaches a milestone, signs a large client, or introduces a new product, share it. If there's room, and you get published, you can't beat the price!

  7. Share your knowledge. Presenting at a meeting, or writing an informative article for the association newsletter, puts you in a very good light. Make sure you offer valuable information that your fellow members can use-whether they do business with you, or not.

  8. Use the membership list. Keep your list of members handy. Refer to fellow members when you need a question answered, or when an associate asks you for a product or service referral. And, by all means, add members to your database.
Start applying these 8 tips today. Be consistent for the rest of this year, and you'll soon be surprised at the number of association members you're doing business with.

© Copyright 2000, Mary Sweeny

Other Articles by Mary Sweeny

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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