It's not just excellent service and customer satisfaction that can help your company grow. Networking events can also help with company growth by giving you opportunities to meet new people who can become key contacts, from potential suppliers and distributors to customers. You might even meet a potential investor or business partner. And of course, these people might even refer your business to their contacts. That's why it's vital that you know how to advertise your company at business networking events. Here's a guide on how to nail it.
To successfully advertise your company at a networking event, follow these steps:
Networking face to face is one of the most effective ways to make valuable new contacts who can help your business grow. Before we get started on how to advertise your brand at a networking event, know that there are many different types of networking events you can attend. You can find them by:
- Checking online networking sites, such as Eventbrite, Meetup or social media, such as Twitter and Linkedin.
- Keep in touch with your contacts - they may be able to pass news onto you.
- Contact local organisations - they may be able to help you meet other local business people.
- If you've already attended a networking event, follow up with those you spoke to. They might be able to give you a heads-up on the next events.
- Checking your emails - many meet-up groups and events have mailing lists to inform you of the next event.
Deciding who in your business should go to networking events is just as important as preparing and knowing what to say at them. You need to make sure that you send the most suitable person to represent your company and collect contacts and knowledge to help with business growth.
Consider these factors when you're choosing which employee to send:
- Who has the most networking experience?
- Who has the knowledge/experience that is most suited to this type of networking event and its aim?
- Who has excellent people skills, is chatty, confident and approachable?
- But knows how to read the mood and won't be pushy or too sales-orientated when the timing isn't right. An event like this is about building relationships, not winning sales on the day.
- Who is reliable? Who can you trust the most to sell your business in the right way?
- Who is the most enthusiastic and passionate about your business?
- Who else might be attending the event? For example, if the media will be attending, your PR/media or marketing manager might be the best person to go and effectively promote your business.
Be professional and always have lots of business cards on you, ready to be handed out when the time is right. This might seem like an obvious tip, but you'd be surprised at how many people turn up without them.
If you don't have any business cards, it's difficult to exchange contact details without seeming inappropriate or unprofessional. After all, this isn't a party - you shouldn't be whipping your phone out to swap numbers. Nor should you be reciting work email addresses out loud and expecting people to write them down by hand. A well-designed business card will do all of that for you.
Remember to only exchange business cards when the time is right. Don't just charge over to people, hand them your card and walk off. You should be trying to make meaningful connections by being helpful and making an effort to listen to other people as well.
We don't mean the traditional 30 second power sentence about your business. They're boring and while networking events might not be a party, they're still social events so you need to find that balance between fun and professionalism.
Instead, sum up what your company can do for the person in one sentence that lasts about 10 seconds. Not what your business does or what you do for a living (because there will be hundreds of other people doing this so you'll be easily forgotten), but what your company can do for someone. That will make people wonder how you do that, intrigue them and want to find out more about your company. And this is exactly the sort of reaction you want from a networking event.
And if people do ask you more questions about your business, don't forget to give context to your work. Back up your statements with case studies and refer to real customers. It will make you much more memorable.
Social media is a great place to network and meet new people, so why not bring that to a networking event and maximise your brand exposure? Join in with the social conversation by jumping onto relevant hashtags - such events will often have a dedicated hashtag so attendees can post photos, videos and other content. Start video livestreams on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram to keep your followers updated on the event. Post a follow-up blog article after the event that sums up some of the key takeaways from your experience.
The more creative your idea is, the better exposure you will get. For example, have customised pop-up stands and podiums where attendees can take photos and post onto their own business profiles. Not only will this attract attention from the event's attendees, but it will also give people an excuse to talk to you first and network, not the other way round. Plus, you'll be extremely memorable.
One easy way to shout about your company (without actually shouting out loud) is to have branded clothing. Whether it's a catchy slogan at the back of your employee's shirt or a bright logo on the breast pocket, it will instantly attract attention from the event's attendees.
Branded workwear helps your company become instantly recognisable, even if the employee wearing the clothing is not. So for example, potential contacts at the networking event are more likely to forget your elected representative's face than they are to forget your company's logo. This means branded workwear can help your company create lasting brand impact.
As well as this, branded workwear eliminates the discussion of appropriate attire to wear to the event. You can ensure that your elected employee will be looking smart and professional as they represent your company at the networking event.
Good networking can help you secure new business. The key benefit is that you're able to meet potential contacts who can help you develop. You never know who you might meet - from suppliers and distributors to customers, investors or even business partners. That's why you need to know how to properly advertise your company at these events.
Remember to Dress Appropriately for the Time, Place and Weather
While you're preparing for your networking event, don't forget to ensure your workers are appropriately dressed for the season. Each season brings its own hazards and your workforce needs to be aware of them if they're to work as safely and productively as possible.
Download a FREE copy of our Summer Workwear Guide for more information on seasonal hazards and how best to clothe and equip your team against the elements.