Networking, networking, and networking...... What does it all mean? In my opinion, you need to be open-minded about new ideas and attack them before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. You also need to be consistent in who you network with on a weekly or monthly basis. Lastly, you need to have a few different outlets in regards to networking and not putting all of your eggs in one basket per se. Basically a true business plan which I talked about in Part 1 of this series : Marketing & Branding
To properly network, you do need a business plan first. Once you have a business plan, you need to review it every quarter. Joeann Fossland wrote a great post in regards to what you should be looking at once that quarter is over. The 1st Quarter is Almost Gone! Are you on track?
Keep in mind, don't get over-whelmed with what you want to achieve. Stay focused and organized. So let's move on to some different ways to network.
- Basic Networking -- One thing I have been doing is getting to know several of the business owners in my town of Haddonfield, NJ. Think about your bars, restaurants, super markets, and possibly your barbershops or hair salons. Possibly putting your business cards or pamphlets in some of these establishments. Brian Brady has done a few blogs on putting your blogs together in regards to this. Check out : REALTORS: Barbershop Marketing & Revisiting A REALTOR'S GUIDE to Barbershop Marketing. You want to talk thinking outside the box? It’s a must read.
- Online Marketing -- Blogging has become very big in recent years. This has to be the cheapest form of advertising when it comes to money out of pocket. But it does take some time out of your week to accomplish this. My biggest advice? Blog wisely. I gave some tips when blogging in Part 2 : Blogging - Techniques & Ideas Keep in mind, Active Rain is probably the best place to start when it comes to blogging. But there are other pay sites that you can expand with such as TypePad, Blogger, & WordPress.
-- Some other forms of online networking :
** Lead generator companies. Laurie Manny wrote a very good blog about Lead Generation.
** Social Networking Groups -- Such as Active Rain, Face Book, Myspace, Wanna Network, and so many others. Missy Caulk writes a great post about Social Networking. Barry Hurd on Building Your On-Line Presence Missy Caulk also gives some examples of different networking groups in this post. See Ya in the Rain... or wherever And John Novak wrote : Is Facebook In Your Business Plan?
** Guest Blogging -- You can get invited to write blogs on other networking platforms such as Bloodhound Reality, Rain City Guide, The 24, HomeGain blog, and so many others. If you can get invited as a guest blogger, you are devoting your time, but it gives you more internet presence for free.
- Networking groups -- There are many groups in your local town that you might not even know about. These groups usually meet once a week. You usually devote 1 to 1 1/2 hours a week. For a list of groups, please read : Networking Groups..... How important can they be to your business. Here is a different type of group that Jason Price mentions. Speed Networking And I wrote this post to give you a break down of what you could find in these networking groups. What is a POWER PARTNER? Who are your power partner's????
- Past Clients aka Sphere of Influence -- This is actually a no brainer, but I can't tell you how many don't even utilize this method. The basic concept involves monthly or quarterly newsletters, thank you cards, and sometimes just the basic phone call. I talk about utilizing Constant Contact or Act to help you with this which is mentioned in Part 1. If you ever follow this person, Jennifer Allan, most of her writing is talking about our Sphere of Influences.
-- Here are 2 more great posts on this topic.
** A basic concept by : Ines Hegedus-Garcia KEEP IN TOUCH - THE RIPPLE EFFECT
** You are your database.... by : Linda Davis Linda talks about friends, family, outside vendors, and so much more.
** Increasing your 'sphere of influence' by : Jacqulyn Richey Jacqulyn talks about getting involved with charities. You can add Church communities & functions, fundraisers, and local community programs such as Habitat for Humanity. www.habitat.org
HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE 3 PART SERIES
Marketing yourself in 2008 series :