When I say marketing, what do you think?
I bet the things that automatically spring to mind are Facebook ads, social media campaigns, emails, and even SEO.
But what about networking?
While it is not a well publicised as a marketing technique, networking can be an incredibly effective marketing method. It helps you to create real connections, make an impact and do it all on a very small budget. That is why it is the perfect marketing tactic for small business (well, any busies really!)
Let’s have a look at how you can harness the power of networking for your marketing.
Why Networking Is One Marketing Technique You Should Embrace
What Is Networking?
Networking is about building valuable connections. And those connections don’t always have to result in a sale. You could meet a great confidant, a complementary business to work with, or your biggest fan that will refer your business to other people.
Networking has come a long way since the breakfast time meetups of a town’s biggest players. It no longer has to take place in an organised fashion at an organised time, in one set location, with the same group of people hob-knobbing.
Now you can network all day every day. Every time you have a conversation with someone it is the chance to network. That doesn’t mean you should be ramming your businesses down the throats of everyone that you meet, as that is not an effective way to network. But be open to opportunity when it presents itself.
Our modern digital world means that you can also network online. Do it in amazingly supportive business group, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, really anywhere that business people hang out.
How To Network Effectively
These tips can help you make the most out of any networking opportunity, be it online or offline…
Be Prepared: Be like a boy scout or a girl guide. Show up prepared to mingle. Don’t be the person who is scribbling their contact details on a napkin because you forgot your business card. Also don’t be the person with their head stuck in their phone trying to make LinkedIn connections on the spot!
Be Genuine: Networking is about making valuable connections. You can’t make a true connection if you are trying to behave the way you think people want you to. Save yourself the trouble and just be yourself – the professional version of yourself that is!
Mix It Up: Don’t always attend the same groups or post the same things online because it is a familiar. Get out there and meet some new people, you never know what connections you might make.
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway: Networking can be nerve wracking if you are an introverted person. But think of everything you could gain from doing it. And if you are a bit shy, start networking online first, then graduate to in-person events.
Have Your Elevator Pitch: It is not a good look if someone asks you what you do and you end up tripping over your words. So, have your elevator pitch all ready to wow them. An elevator pitch is your 2-3 sentences that say who you are, what you do, who you help and how you transform their lives.
Follow Up: Networking does not end when you walk out of an event. In fact, this is the most important time to kick into gear. If you don’t follow up with the people you meet, then chances are, you will fade off into the fuzz in their brain. A follow up message, email or call is a great way to stay in touch.
Meeting the right people can really propel your business forward. Especially if you have taken the time to connect with them, so they know exactly what you do and who is your ideal client.
You can also use networking to pay it forward. Don’t think of networking as a one sided thing or you won’t get the most out of it. You want to use the opportunity to learn about the people you meet and how you might be able to help their business grow too.
Helping other businesses grow is a way to support the small business industry and to make even stronger connections with amazing people.