Marketing is evolving at a rapid pace with new software and tools designed to improve your key metrics becoming available daily. But in an age when marketing has become a highly technical digital career, we can easily forget about the importance of getting out into the community to run events and meet peers and potential clients face-to-face.
We pour countless hours into our digital marketing efforts, but just as this adds value to your marketing strategy, taking your business to the community can be just as beneficial. Learning to network effectively and efficiently is part of the solution, and there are multiple ways to tap into your offline community to build brand awareness. In fact, it encourages two-way communication and can provide invaluable insights into the problems faced by your potential customers.
Network with Intention
By taking a practical approach to your networking you will always achieve greater outcomes. Approach networking with clear intentions and KPIs, the same way you approach your online marketing strategy. Arriving at an event or meetup with a set purpose and goals allows you to make the most of your time. And the time following the event is just as important. After any networking opportunity, it is imperative you follow up with any new connections, and especially anyone who has taken the time to pass on any knowledge. Where possible, reciprocate. Passing on knowledge of the industry and your experiences not only helps to position you as an expert go-to within your offline community, but ensures there is a value-add for your offline community to attend any events you hold.
Run a meetup
Running meetup groups is not a time-consuming process. No one is expecting you to run an event every few weeks. It would be way too time intensive, and more so, you would struggle to get people to attend. Focus on running a meetup every few months or once per quarter as a starting point, this provides enough space to allow your attendees to really look forward to the next event and reduces the stress of continuously organizing events.
I hear people saying, “why don’t you just run webinars?”
It’s just not the same. A webinar, even though you are watching a person on a screen has nowhere near the impact of being able to stand and speak with someone face to face. You can very quickly build a personal connection with those in attendance, which carries over into the boardroom when you are looking for that next sale or big partnership.
There are a few simple steps that you can follow to ensure you are running successful events. The first step is to make it fun, and more importantly interactive. People don’t want to sit in a room to be talked at for 2 hours, try running some collaborative group exercises that get everyone involved in the conversation instead.
Secondly, it’s a whole lot easier to team up with others to run your events. These people might be other organisations within your industry or local industry thought leaders, or existing events, but having more people to contribute ideas can really help, and on event night the saying “Many hands make light work” is very applicable.
On a personal level, when joining a new organisation I always make a point of researching the events and networking opportunities their industry to see what other people are doing in the space. If there is nothing substantial up and running, I will always look to start up a new group either by myself, or by teaming up with another smaller group.
Adding offline marketing initiatives to your strategy is not a costly or time consuming process. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so you’re missing out by not putting yourself out there. Developing the community around your industry is only going to strengthen local knowledge and boost results, while at the same time you are establishing yourself as a thought leader.
So, take a break from your digital marketing to get out there and start running more face to face events to bring your community together!