Do you need to expand your business? Networking offers an opportunity to find new leads and drive traffic to your website. Just because you operate online, doesn’t mean that you should neglect meeting other people in your industry. Digital marketers can benefit from both online and offline networking strategy’s, follow these tips to improve your businesses reach and extend your reputation in the market.
Networking Rules for Digital Marketers
Before you get started on your networking activities, here are a few rules you should follow to optimize your strategy.
- Know what you want to achieve with networking.
- Plan your strategy well in advance.
- Identify top prospects and influencers.
- Stay sharp and enthusiastic.
- Listen more than you talk or type.
- Always offer as much value as you can.
- Deliver on your promises.
Following these rules will make you a person that others will want to talk to because you add value to the issues they are facing. Remember, one of the vital components of persuasion is presenting yourself as someone who can add value to others. In an offline environment, people form their impression of you within 3-seconds of your first contact, so make it count. Here are examples of networking opportunities in both the online and offline world.
Offline Networking events
- Business cocktail parties.
- Events and award ceremonies.
- Sessions dedicated to Networking.
Online Networking Events
- Forums and message boards.
- Hangouts and focus groups.
- Social media platforms and live events, such as Facebook Live streams.
Set Clear Objectives
Before you attend any event in the online or offline world, you need to create a list of clearly defined goals that you wish to achieve. Arriving at an event, or browsing aimlessly through a forum or social media platform, is a waste of your time and effort.
What are your goals for networking? Do you want to use it to attract new talent to your business? Are you looking to drive new business to your site? Perhaps you want to improve your brand visibility? Include all of your objectives in your plan and ask your team for their feedback.
Establish Your Connections
Before you attend an offline networking session, research the speakers and list of attendees. Look up their professional profiles on LinkedIn and identify your top prospects. The day before the event, send a brief message over the platform telling your prospective client or influencer that you’re looking forward to meeting them.
Networking online involves a similar process. Review your social strategy and identify key influencers in your niche. Reach out to these influencers using social platforms, forums, and message boards. Always respond to any engagement you receive as quickly as possible.
Build Your Brand
When attending a live event in the offline world, act as a brand ambassador for your company. Order promotional lapel pins for yourself and your team, when prospects see it, they will instantly identify you with your brand and understand your intentions.
Always Follow Up – Your Network Equals Your Net Worth
Attending a networking event is a chance to open a new customer account, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to optimize your return on investment for the session. The rules for following up on your prospects is identical for both online and offline strategies. Follow up with any prospects immediately after leaving the event. Drop them a short note over text or on social media telling them how great it was to meet them.
Complete your second step in the follow-up process the next morning. Send the prospect an information-based email tailored to provide solutions for their specific needs. Follow up in a few days to see if they received the information and if you can be of assistance.