A great way to make new contacts, learn new things that will benefit you and your business and will help to grow your business, networking should be a key part of any business owners marketing strategy. There are so many benefits to networking and it will open new doors and opportunities that you would otherwise have missed out on.
One way to network is to attend conferences and exhibitions. Not only will you establish new industry connections but you will pick up ideas, tips and potential working relationships that will benefit your business.
Getting the best out of events
To really get the best out of these events and other exhibitions that you attend you need to put yourself out there. It is all very well to go along, attend and keep yourself to yourself or even to spot someone you know and stick with them. You need to really work the room though. Set yourself a personal goal to introduce yourself to 5 people that you wouldn’t normally. There will often be others there on their own. Sit next to someone you don’t know and if you see someone stood on their own drinking their coffee in a corner go and talk to them. Walk up to someone you don’t know and just offer a handshake and introduce yourself. Take business cards and make sure you swap them with people. You never know when you or they may have an opportunity to make contact.
At a lot of conferences and events there will be the opportunity to have an exhibition space. Enquire about the possibility and see if you can get a presence there. With that many people from your industry in one room it is a great opportunity to grow your brand and they won’t know what you do unless you are there with a big, professional presence such as an exhibition display. You can get some great branding props from Marler Haley, check out their exhibition stands via this link, I’ve also included an image below of (what I think is) one of their cooler products – a ‘curl zip’ fabric display:
Yes networking in person is great but sometimes to talk to the masses you need another solution. Social Networking now is a great way to reach people that you wouldn’t be able to ordinarily. With professionally branded business pages and the right message you can engage an audience online that was previously impossible to reach without taking out ads in national papers. You can target your message through Facebook and Twitter ads to an audience based on their age, gender, geographic location and interests. If you know your potential audience what better way to reach them than with a targeted message. There are lots of tips on how to use Social Media if you are a business. It is key that you don’t try and sell to your audience though – they use Social Media to connect with their friends, keep up to date with what’s going on and look at pics of the weekend – you need to engage them not sell to them!