Is traditional marketing dead? Despite the fact that social media provide tremendous opportunities to reach a wider audience in your target market, there is still a place in the life of the small business owners or entrepreneur for traditional marketing strategies like business networking.
Attending networking events by the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Business Network International (BNI) and other events put on by local groups provide opportunities to meet people and get to know people in your area of expertise. Like any other successful marketing strategy, there is an art to networking.
In the book, Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success, Anne Baber and Lynn Waymon note:
- It’s important to be strategic. “In networking strategy equals results.”
- Have the right mindset. Determine how you will present yourself and what you reasonably expect of others. Remember that any negative thoughts you have about the value of networking may be discerned by others.
- Allow people to get to know, like and trust you before you expect them to help you. Go with an attitude of giving and helping. “Your contacts won’t help you until they can trust you.”
If your goal is to get your card into the hands of as many people as possible without taking the time to find out who they are, what they do and how you can help them, then your purpose for attending would have failed. Networking is about building relationships and to achieve this it’s important to be others focused. Get to know people by asking questions about them. Ask simple conversation starters like: What do you do? You can follow with questions like, How long have you been in business or working this particular business? Who is your target market? How can I help YOU?
Networking allows you to meet people face to face and removes any barriers to communication. While it’s important to participate in social media online, it’s also good to keep in mind that there are still some traditional networking strategies that work. The people you meet at business networking events can become a part of your online community as your subscribers and later your clients or customers.
How has traditional marketing helped you to grow your online or offline business? Please share in the comments box.