Business networking can be daunting, especially if you’ve only just started exploring the process. It can be nerve wracking to meet a room full of people (either in person or online), and it’s even worse when you have to speak about yourself and your business. Rest assured, all the efforts that you put into networking will definitely pay off over time.
The aims of attending networking events
Networking is all about growing the awareness of your business or organisation through connecting with other local and likeminded business people. However, the actual aims of attending networking events may differ on an individual basis. Here’s some of the common aims:
- Grow awareness of your business
- Collect data for your marketing efforts, e.g. mailing lists
- Develop and nurture relationships with other businesses within your local area, or even further afield
- Show your expertise to others
The overriding theme of all of these aims is to generate new leads, in hope to convert them into new customers.
What should you do to plan before the event?
When you decide that you’re going to attend a networking event, whether this is an in-person event or online via a Zoom call, there are a few steps you can carry out in order to prepare.
Firstly, try to get an attendance list. This isn’t always possible but you can ask the organiser if they are able to send it you. Alternatively, if there is an ‘event’ created on social media, you may be able to look through the attendees on there.
Once you have your list, try to connect with as many of the attendees as possible on LinkedIn. This means your face is familiar, and they may look through your profile to gain an understanding of what you do already. You can also make a shortlist of people you would specifically like to speak with at the event, so you only need to introduce yourself to a select amount of people. Doing this preparation beforehand will make the idea of the event far less daunting.
What can you do during the event?
Network, network, network! It may sound obvious, but this is what you’re there to do. Speak to as many people as possible, and make sure to ask them about their business as well as explaining what you do. Collect either their business cards, or their details for later use.
As well as chatting to people, try to collect as many images and video content as you can. This can repurposed as social media content to show you attended.
What can you do after the event?
Once you have collected all the data from the event attendees, there are a few ways you can use this:
- Add details to your CRM system (if you use one)
- Add details into Mailchimp for you to send eshots to
- Send out a brochure about your services
- Connect with all attendees on LinkedIn
- Follow up any leads you have
Does your marketing plan need a boost, but you’re not sure where to start?
Book a Power Hour with Ruth today where she will run through your current plan, and some actions you can take to improve it. Click here to book.