Successful marketing to local businesses requires involvement in your local community at a grass-roots level. It’s a fact that people prefer to do business with people they know and trust. Getting out and networking with other local business professionals regularly will produce results over time. Face-to- face networking works, and it works well.
There are many different kinds of networking groups. Some are structured meetings that meet once a week, have a fee to join and rely on members really getting to know each other to generate business referrals. Other networking events are less formal and may work well for certain types of businesses.
Lions Clubs, Rotary, Church groups, local Chamber of Commerce are some of the familiar ways to network.
On-line networking groups generally do not produce the same results as face-to-face networking. Many of us do all our business on-line and forget the power of person-to-person connections. Did you know that each one of us has about 200 people in our personal network? That’s not Facebook Friends or Twitter followers but real live people – our friends, family, church members, neighbors and connected business associates.
Do you have a sport or hobby you are passionate about? Belonging to groups affiliated with these leisure pursuits also leads to casual and effective involvement in your community.
The speed of your networking results will usually depend on the type of business you have. For instance, it is easier to get referrals if you are a service business than if you are a financial professional.
Some businesses require a lot of trust to be built in order for referrals to flow – and this takes time. Networking is for the long haul – so don’t get impatient and expect an immediate payoff for your efforts.
Build face-to-face networking into your marketing plan for your business monthly. It’s one piece of the puzzle – not the whole answer to growing your business. Do it consistently and you will see results over time. And let’s face it, business is fun when we engage with our community and customers. It’s not just about the money after all.
Suzanne is an artist and freelance copywriter who specializes in web content, articles and press releases. She is an expert at writing email content that engages the reader. She can be found at Sue Elliott and Pleinairmuse.com.