Is Networking part of your Marketing Mix? Indeed, do you consider networking to be a form of Marketing?
It’s interesting when clients and fellow business people ask me where I get my business from. They think that because marketing is my business that I don’t need to market myself! That’s where they are wrong! It is so important in business to network, create new contacts and ultimately to create some business leads.
Networking is part of the overall Marketing Mix. It’s essential to be online on social media and to have a fresh and current website with new content regularly. But, particularly in Ireland, people buy from people. There is something about that initial face to face contact. Is it the eyeballing? Maybe it is the talking face to face? Perhaps forming an overall opinion of a business based on first impressions? In business, relationship building is imperative.
So why should you Network?
Why not?! Networking helps to raise your profile and that of your business. Smaller businesses particularly need to network to get their name known. If you can’t afford much of a marketing budget, it can be a cost effective way to broadcast your business message. Lots of networking events are free or they are available at a low price tag. The only real cost to you and your business is your time.
What do I need to Network?
- A smile! Nobody will approach you with a frown!
- Up to date business cards with your direct contact details
- A firm hand shake
- Dress to reflect your business and the event (e.g. if it is a corporate event, then more formal wear might be required)
- Sunny side out
- Be ready to talk and mingle
- An elevator pitch – about you and/or your business.
How do I know about Networking events?
The answer is simple – do lots of research. Do a search online to find out what networking events are on in your area. For women in business there are loads of networking opportunities. Organisations such as Network Ireland and Women in Business Network run events nationwide. Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) also run networking events during the year, as do your local chamber of commerce. These are just a few options. It is hard to be at every networking event, but choose a few different events and see which works best for you. Then find out when the events are on for foreseeable future and mark the dates in your diary to remind you.
Remember it is important to get out networking for your brand awareness, but it is important when people find you afterwards that your online offering is professional. If you need help to establish or improve your business online presence feel free to call us – www.lushmarketing.ie/contact