Small business marketing is all about building relationships. You’ve probably heard the adage that people will only buy from someone they know, like and trust. So how do you get someone who would be an ideal client for you to know, like and trust you?

Here are 5 tips for building those important business relationships:

Get clear on who your ideal client is. I am amazed at how many people I meet who can’t tell me who their ideal client is. I’ve heard new business owners say they don’t want to pick a target market because they don’t want to turn away business from someone who may not be in that target market.

The reason for getting clear on your ideal client is so you can be clear in your message. If you’re a chef who teaches people how to bake, you wouldn’t agree to speak at an auto mechanics conference because they aren’t your audience. Your message is talking to people who want to learn how to bake.

A web designer may decide she likes to work with attorneys and building their websites. She knows what they need and how to provide that service to them. That doesn’t mean that if a dentist comes to her to build a website that she will turn them away.

Create your message with your ideal client in mind. Now that you know who you are talking to, you can create your marketing messages with that person in mind.

Using the example above, the web builder can address the problems attorneys face with their websites and how she solves those problems. Her blog posts, online and offline marketing will all “speak” to an attorney’s pain with their website and how she solves those problems

Post with Purpose. Get strategic with your social media posts. Post things that would interest your ideal client.. The majority of your posts need to be content only, but throw in some personal info as well. About 20% of all of your posts can be a sales post.

Have a free offer on your website that your ideal client would love to get and promote that on social media. Ultimately, you want people to opt-in on your website, so you have permission to send them emails. The social media channels could all be gone tomorrow, but your email list is yours.

One of the best ways to get people to know, like and trust you quicker is through video because they feel like they know you when they can see and hear you. Also, if you are talking to a potential client for the first time, offer to have a Skype video call. That way they can see you and get a feel for who you really are on the video call.

Get out and meet people! In my opinion, offline marketing is just as important as online marketing. I create many important relationships from going to networking events and in-person events.

Keep in mind, you’re building relationships, not trolling for clients. Go to the event with the mindset of, “How can I help them?” Who do you know who would be a good client or power partner for the person you are talking to?

If you do connect with someone who wants to learn more about you and your business, schedule a time to talk or meet. If you’re having a good conversation, you may want to ask them for permission to send them your e-newsletter. Let them know they can always opt out if they don’t find it helpful.

Don’t just collect cards from everyone you meet. It isn’t a competition to see who gets the most.

Follow up, follow up, follow up. After the event, be sure to follow up. Send a personal email to anyone who may be a good power partner for you or to anyone who you’d like to meet with, but didn’t already schedule a time to talk.

If you have any referrals or email introductions for people you met, send those out right away.

You may also decide to connect with them on social media as well.

DO NOT just add them to your email list. That won’t build a good relationship and may, in many cases, keep them from wanting to learn about you at all.