Networking should be treat the same as any other marketing activity – to fully maximise the opportunity you need to develop a networking strategy and plan.
You’re more likely to be a great networker if you have clear and well defined objectives and understand what it is that you’re trying to achieve.
I like to break networking strategy and planning into the following 3 stages –
1. Preparation – Preparing A Networking Strategy
2. Networking – What To Do At The Event
3. Following Up – What To Do After the Event
These are the top 5 things that you must absolutely never do at a networking event –
Miss the opportunity
If you don’t ‘want’ to be at the event, then don’t attend. There’s no point in just turning up to see what might happen. You’ll need to ‘make’ something happen.
If you have clearly defined objectives and goals, then you’ll know what you want to achieve by attending each event.
Expect to sell
Networking is not about selling – it’s about building relationships built on trust.
At most events everybody who attends is looking to ‘sell’, not ‘buy’. This obviously therefore means that no one will ‘sell’ anything.
Approaching networking with a more long term strategy and approach could be beneficial.
Only speak to 1 person
Remember to ‘work the room’. It’s not a good use of your time if you spend it all with the same contact. Knowing when to politely move on is a great networking skill.
Before, or at the start of an event, check out the guest list so that you know who else is in the room. Knowing who is in attendance is valuable knowledge.
A polite way to end an interaction is to say something like – ‘it was nice to meet you’, shake your contacts hand and confidently move on.
Offload business cards
At some stage, we’ve had someone’s business card thrust upon us. No one appreciates this. Only hand your card over when appropriate – usually when somebody asks for it.
If you randomly throw business cards at people, they’ll only end up in the bin, or even worse than that – on someone’s spam list.
Forget to follow up
The amount of times the follow up is neglected or completely forgotten about is staggering.
Following up is essentially – ‘doing whatever you said you were going to do’.
There’s absolutely no point in attending networking events if you don’t follow through and do what you said you were going to do. Not doing the follow up is the biggest networking crime.
It’s amazing how often I see these things happen. Don’t follow the flock – make your networking more successful – create a networking strategy and plan.
For more information, check out my Guide – What Everybody Ought To Know About Networking.
It’s important to protect your overall online presence. Ideally, this is something that you should think about as soon as possible when starting a business or developing your personal brand.
As your business grows, this will benefit you in many ways including helping you to develop sound seo strategy.
Check out this ‘To Do’ list!
1. Register appropriate domain names for your website and blog.
2. Choose your website hosting provider.
3. Set up and install Google Analytics.
4. List your domain name on relevant directory sites.
5. Research and establish key words and phrases for your search engine optimisation strategy.
6. Set up mailboxes for any email accounts that you will need.
7. Decide which Cloud storage provider to use.
8. Create a Skype account.
9. Choose which video hosting platform to use (YouTube or Vimeo?).
10. Create a new Google account and set up the Google apps that you intend to use.
11. Create your company LinkedIn page and update your personal one.
12. Establish relevant social media channels – eg Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and create accounts.
13. Select and set up your company email marketing service provider.
14. Decide on which blogging platform to use (WordPress.org, Blogger or Tumblr).
Click here to find out more about email marketing, blogging, seo or social media.
Business cards aren’t always given the thought and consideration they deserve. They used to be thought of as important marketing and communications material, but in the digital age, they’re often neglected or completely forgotten about.
If networking is part of your overall marketing strategy, then your business cards should be considered an important tool.
At networking events, you’ll be doing your best to make a strong first impression. When you hand your business card to a new contact, this not only contributes towards your new contacts first impression of you, but also their lasting impression.
Are your business cards helping you to network effectively?
Here are some things to consider:
Ensure that your brand identity is consistently applied (your brand should be applied consistently throughout all of your marketing and communication material).
Display your contact information in a style and format that the recipients will easily understand.
Be consistent with use of language, punctuation and abbreviation.
Make sure information is relevant and up to date. Include everything that needs to be there, but leave off anything that is unnecessary.
Make your business cards ‘work hard’ for you. Use them to communicate your brand personality, products and services, why you are different or why people should buy from you.
Consider the print specification. The size, weight of card and print finish are important considerations. Attention to detail always makes a difference.
Don’t order your business cards from websites that give them away for free. There’s nothing worse than displaying someone else’s website or advertising message on ‘your’ business card.
Consider creating a system to enable cards for addition people to be easily and cost effectively produced. As your business grows, this will help with smooth transition.
Business cards are important! Give them some thought!
Don’t ever apologise for your business card. When you hand over your card you should be proud to do so. Your business card should be a true reflection of you and your business.
A strap line is a short phrase that works alongside your brand identity to communicate your organisations proposition, personality and helps to differentiate it from your competition.
Here’s some quick thoughts on what strap lines should be –
Short – ideally 5 words maximum.
Unique – so that it can be trademarked and registered.
Evocative – to create a positive response.
Memorable – easy for the target market to remember.
Usable – work alongside other brand elements and in a small font.
Communicate – the core idea, personality and values of your organisation.
A strap line generally falls into one of these categories –
Describes exactly what your product, service or business does.
Usually includes the benefit and describes the positive outcomes associated with your product or service.
Important and commanding. A strong call to action.
Positions your product or service as the best in class.
Usually includes a literary device to make it more unique and memorable.
More thought provoking. Usually asking a question.
Designed to create feelings that a consumer will experience when using the product or service.
Homemade Cakes by Jane could use –
Homemade cakes for weddings and events
For that very special occasion
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Let me know if you’re thinking of developing a new strap line.