12 Ways That Networking Can Help Your Marketing
Anyone who has read the my previous blogs or watched my YouTube videos on reasons to network will know that marketing comes up high on the list.
When people tell me they don’t have time to network, I think that they have it in mind that networking is an additional chore to add to the diary of things to do when running a business.
But what if they were to reframe this?
Networking IS your sales and marketing time. Now let me repeat that.
NETWORKING IS YOUR SALES AND MARKETING TIME!
With that in mind, I thought I’d give you some ideas and share 12 ways that networking can help your marketing.
By attending weekly networking meetings, you are constantly learning about other people’s businesses. You’ll get ideas and tips, motivation and inspiration from how others portray and convey their businesses. You can do what I was told, many, many moons ago – search and spin, i.e. take ideas and make them your own.
2. Member Spotlights
Some networks offer the opportunity of doing member spotlights where they talk about members and promote them across their social media channels. This can be a great way to reach new audiences far and wide. When you comment, share and like these posts, you can continue expanding the reach of your marketing messages.
3. Access to PR Opportunities
Journalists and PR companies are always looking for new contributors, guests and opinions for different articles. Again, this possibility depends on the network, as not all are well connected or use PR services to amplify the reach of their network and their members. However for those that are, if you are known to the powers that be, then you might get the tap on the shoulder to be put forward for an article. This can extend to radio, print, podcasts and online articles.
4. Podcasts – Finding Guests
For those of you who have entered the world of podcasting, having a ‘conversation calendar’ is vitally important. Many people like the format of interviews for their podcasts sessions, but then they start to run out of people to interview. Networks can be a great way of finding people and getting introduced to more people to consider interviewing.
5. Podcasts – Being a Guest
Many people use guest podcasting as a way of promoting and talking about their business. Through your networks, you can access people who have podcasts and build up a relationship with them (assuming that the topic and area of interest is appropriate) and get scheduled as a guest.
If you have a podcast or are interested in starting one, or simply using guest appearances as part of your marketing strategy, then I would thoroughly recommend engaging with Claire Mason who runs a bespoke two hour workshop to help you develop your pitch, assets and strategy around podcasts.
6. Access to Collaborations
They say that when two minds come together they create three. Collaborations in networking can open so many unanticipated doors to new opportunities that you wouldn’t have dreamed of or thought about.
7. Content Development
I mentioned how networking meetings are a real source of inspiration in point 1. I would also highly recommend writing down all the questions that people ask you at your networking meetings or after your presentations. These are a real source of future content for you to use for:
- Social media posts
- FAQs section on your website
- Blog posts – you could expand out to answer questions through your blogs
- Future presentation content
Most networks offer a 10-20 minutes individual presentation time per member company. These generally go on rotation and depending on how many people are in the group, will dictate how often you get to do a bespoke presentation. It may only happen a couple of times a year, so seize the opportunity when you can.
It’s great practice for public speaking and if you’re unsure of what to present have a read of my blog what to present at your next networking meeting. The great thing about presenting is that it’s giving a window and snapshot of where your business is at that moment in time.
Questions from the audience are a great indicator of whether you’re on point, on message, getting the ideas across – or not…you’re doing it in a safe environment, and it means you can fine tune, incorporate questions and really perfect the content before going in front of individual customers.
9. Elevator Pitch
The same holds true for an elevator pitch; typically the 60 seconds you are afforded at the start of the networking meeting to introduce yourself and your business. At the beginning, these are generally just a lot of words that tumble from our mouths…but with experience, through chatting through your networking colleagues, who’ll ask you questions, make suggestions and trouble shoot with you…you’ll gain clarity. This clarity will give you confidence and this will impact on every other area of your business. You can get some more tips from Maureen on my blog ACEing it with Maureen McCowen.
10. Identifying Your ICA
ICA – say what? Ideal Customer Avatar – your bullseye customer – often and for so many businesses this is really hard to identify at the beginning of the business journey. I find that it morphs and evolves for people over time. By practising your elevator pitch to your fellow networkers, it can really help you gain clarity on who you want to do business with. The more clarity you get on your ideal customer, the easier it is to tailor all of your marketing content, social media posts, blogs, podcasts, website content, advertisements etc. Clarity is key!
11. Testimonials and Recommendations
Networks are a great way to start getting testimonials and recommendations for your service or product. People are getting to know you and want to be able to advocate for your business, so they are more likely to spend time on giving a recommendation or testimonial for your business. And as we all know, having your business vouched for speaks volumes!
Networking is all about visibility, building your credibility and gaining the trust of your audience, by building up strategic, trust based relationships. And branding is what people say about you and how they talk about you when you’re not in the room. Networking is a great way to build on the core pillars of your business and set a tone for how you do business and the type of businesses with which you want to do business.
This also stands to your reputation. And reputation is everything. I did a blog post recently on why networks are a great place to source your suppliers. You get to see them in action and see if they are a good representation of you and aligned with your values.
These are the 12 ways that I feel that networking can help your marketing. Are there other ways that networking helps with your marketing that I haven’t covered here? I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at email@example.com
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Getting Social with NetworkingJean