It’s vital that your security integration company partake in networking events to collect databases that can later be entered into your digital marketing efforts. Sure, it's a given. In order to generate leads for your company, you'll have to do some networking. But what if we told you there are smarter ways to convert those that you mingle with? 

Within our realm of integrator customers, those who do a good job of being heavily involved within associations or organizations within the verticals they focus are king. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthcare, education, government or whatever — simply being active and involved builds relationship equity, and we all know that people want to do business with friends, not strangers. So take the time to send your sales team to industry association events and ask them to volunteer to help set up for future events, because volunteering is the best way to get in with your potential market.

Let’s say you’re sailing along and after three to five months of being entrenched within an organization you collected cards, wrote down emails and put them into a database . . . but then what? Before you start spamming your potentials, ask your association if your membership includes a database of all existing members. We then like to use a free Chrome plugin called Data Miner. Once you login to the membership area that shows all the members’ names, emails, addresses and phone numbers, you can open Data Miner to pull all of the information with a click of a button. Within minutes you’ll have a targeted database within a vertical you’re trying to penetrate.

There are some that may say an opted-in database is the way to go, and we agree. But when you’re first starting out or simply need a vertical-specific database, this is the way to go, and it converts.

Take your database and import it into Facebook and LinkedIn. As mentioned in previous articles, if a person has created an account using that specific email address you just imported, you can create lead ads or branding ads that will only be seen by your database. We typically like to create ads with our customers’ faces in them. Remember how we talked about being involved within those associations? Well, now after three to five months of showing your face, the people you’ve been talking to that are in high positions will see your ad/ face and say, ‘Hey, I know that guy,’ and click on your ad.

You can also take that database to create a direct mail campaign. In our experience, creating direct mail pieces that have a simple design and that focus on the challenges you can solve for that particular vertical with a picture of yourself works best. Our clients will often get approached at association events by prospects mentioning they saw their ads online or received their direct mail piece, which opens up an opportunity. Can you say cha-ching?

We have tried using the databases within emails and this can be a little tricky. When we sent off e-newsletters to the database that were a little too aggressive, the response was not so great. But when we sent e-newsletters that talked about the last association event and tied it in with a related article about security examples within the verticals, it seemed to get a better reaction. If you do decide to send out e-newsletters, we suggest creating an intro paragraph about the last event and including pictures you took with your phone. And after you send out the first one, pay close attention to the results: open rates, clicks, opt-outs and spam reports. If they’re not the best, then we’d suggest killing it.

If you have any success stories when it comes to working associations, please share them with us — we might write about it in our next article.