How to use Networking to Grow Your Business

Business Networking

Business networking is used to create opportunities through like-minded people.

The goal of business networking is to build new relationships and thus generate business. It can be more cost effective than other forms of marketing. Social Networking is one form of networking, but offline business networking is often more effective.

People do business with people they like and trust. Like and Trust is easier to achieve in a face-to-face format. That is why professional networking is still so popular among small business owners.

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Tips:

  • Get out and talk to people.
  • Meet with everyone you know to share what you are doing and ask them for referrals.
  • Always think about how you can help the person you are talking with.
  • Ask for a business card. Give them one of yours.
  • Connect with them online. Ask them to subscribe to your mailing list/newsletter.

Resources: Places to Network & People to Network with

  • Chambers of commerce
  • Alumni Groups
  • Friends and family
  • Twitter meet ups
  • Career fairs
  • Religious groups
  • Parents of your children’s friends and classmates
  • Neighborhood groups
  • Professional organizations
  • Networking organizations

How to use Public Speaking to Grow Your Business

Public Speaking

Public speaking is when you deliberately speak to a group of people in order to inform, influence, or entertain them.

The key to success as a public speaker is to be able to change the emotions of the listeners. This is why public speaking is often more effective than recorded audio or video or even streaming media.

In a live in-person format the public speaker is better able to “read” his audience and adjust to their verbal and nonverbal behavior, thereby being more effective. This is your opportunity to establish yourself as an expert, engage your audience and establish a relationship with them.

From there you will move them to the next stage of the sales process, whether it be buying an item from you immediately or simply signing up for your mailing list or handing you a business card.

Tips:

  • Identify a topic on which you are knowledgeable. Create a presentation or speech. Have 2 versions of your speech or 2 topics. One should be short 20-30 minutes (for lunch engagements). The other longer, about 45 minutes (for keynote speaking).
  • Find organizations of people who could benefit from your expertise.
  • Get on their speaker calendar. Book the engagement.
  • Start small and grow the group size.
  • Start with a friendly audience, people you may know or are acquainted with.
  • Get the list of attendees.
  • Offer items for sale in the back of the room.

Places for Public Speaking:

  • Chambers of commerce
  • Professional networking groups
  • Professional Associations
  • Industry Conferences
  • Industry Trade Shows
  • Meetup.com Groups
  • Guest speaker at colleges, universities and other schools
  • Neighborhood groups, Recreation centers
  • Free Universities, Parents groups, PTO/PTA’s, Community Center, Continuing Education Programs
  • Home-based parties

How to Get People to Your Event

Event Marketing

Events are a great way to create an emotional connection between your audience and your business brand. Host a live in-person event whether it be at a store, networking group, chamber of commerce, etc. It gives you credibility with your audience and engages your customer.

Here are some ways to get people to attend your event and some internet event marketing sites that may be helpful.

Ways to Get Customers to Attend:

  • Go to the website of your Local newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and tv stations and list your event in their “events” or “happenings” section. Some print publications may need up to 4 weeks notice.
  • Use Facebook events to announce your event and register people.
  • Use Linkedin Events
  • Send email or inbox mail to your connections on your social media sites
  • Announce your event using Twitter.
  • Include an announcement in your newsletter to existing customers.
  • Print postcards and hand them out to clients. Hand them out at networking venues. Mail them to your customers or a targeted list of prospective customers.
  • Announce your event on internet forums and newsgroups where your ideal customers are found.
  • Host your event in conjunction with another one that will draw a crowd. Piggyback your event with another. For example, create a seminar, prior to a big industry conference. Speak at a monthly recurring chamber of commerce meeting which people attend anyway. Hold your retail event the same night as other merchants in your neighborhood, similar to how art galleries host a First Friday art walk. .

Resources:

  • Eventbrite – Eventbrite is the leading provider of online event management and ticketing services. Eventbrite makes it easy for anyone to hold a successful event of any type and size. Eventbrite is free if your event is free. If you sell tickets to your event, Eventbrite collects a small fee per ticket.
  • Yahoo – lets you post about events for free. Post about your event and let people know through yahoo groups.
  • Eventful – Eventful is the leading events website which enables its community of users to discover, promote, share and create events. Eventful’s community of users select from nearly 4 million events taking place in local markets throughout the world, from concerts and sports to singles events and political rallies.
  • Whatsonwhen.com – A directory of world wide events, hotels, packages, and flights.
  • Zvents – Zvents offers a wide variety of solutions for Media Publishers and Advertisers. Provide your site’s visitors with an endless stream of local content powered by Zvents, or distribute your own local listings, including events and promotions, through the Zvents network. Leverage Zvents to target active, local customers.
  • Meetup – Helps groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in local communities around the world. Great when you want to create a recurring event.

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