In the early days of my business, when I was office-based and worked only with local clients, I did a good bit of in-person networking.
I was an active member of our county’s Chamber of Commerce and volunteered for our much smaller local Chamber. I also belonged to a local networking group, and volunteered my services to a local Chorale group.
As a local business serving local clients, in-person networking was an essential component to my marketing strategy. It was also a very successful component, as it allowed me to market my business face-to-face with business owners who could either use my services, or refer me to others who could. It was also a great way to learn about others in the community and become involved. And, it was much more effective than putting an ad in the yellow pages or doing any type of print advertising.
However, when I changed the focus of my business to no longer serving local clients and instead, began partnering with clients all over the world, in-person networking became more difficult. My previous networking venues were still available, but no longer represented my target market, so I had to find other networking opportunities.
As a business now serving online clients only, I had to reconsider my options. There are many online networking opportunities available that provide a great deal of value and benefit. Social media has opened the door to unlimited networking opportunities on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a few other social media platforms. So much so, that social media marketing is, and will continue to be, one of the most important pieces in my marketing strategy.Boost your networking efforts by attending in-person conferences and live events.Click To Tweet
But as wonderful and important and successful online marketing is … it’s still missing something. It’s missing that personal touch of being able to meet others face-to-face. The opportunity to hang out with your target market, share a meal or a beverage with them, and get to know them on an entirely different level than you can with online networking.
Networking is an invaluable component in any marketing strategy. Boost your networking efforts by attending in-person conferences and live events … simple but effective!
Today, 25 years after starting my own business, I’m still attending in-person networking events, and still finding them to be a very successful component to my marketing strategy. Since I no longer market locally; Speaker conferences, coaching conferences, and other conferences and live events where speakers and coaches hang out, have replaced Chamber of Commerce and other networking events. Yes, I might have to travel a little farther and it might cost me a little (well maybe a lot) more, but I believe the benefits of face-to-face networking far outweigh the cost.
It took me a while to find my flow again, but I’m now doing my best to attend at least two live events every year. And to take it up a notch, I’m not just attending these conferences; I’m investing in them as a sponsor – for even more value and benefit. My 2016 conferences of choice were the ICF-Midwest Conference in Indianapolis this past July, and then the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) Conference in Edmonton coming up in December. I’ve also started volunteering for the ICF-Columbus chapter and attending their meetings each month.
2017 is shaping up nicely with Tish Time’s Unstoppable Confidence Networking Conference in Phoenix the first week in January. I’m not sure what my second conference for the year will be, but I’m sure it will be just as awesome!
No matter what your business or your target market, in-person networking can be an extremely valuable component of your marketing strategy. Find the types of events that best fit your business and go for it. If you’re new to in-person marketing, find one you can cut your networking teeth on and give it a whirl.