Are you connecting with people in your community?
If you run a brick and mortar business, you (hopefully) already know the value of building relationships in your community.
For example, local restaurant owners can do a great side business hosting business lunches for local business meetings.
The best way to get that type of extra business is through networking.
For those of us who earn our living online, it is easy to think we don’t need to reach out to our community. However, there are many advantages for doing so, and if we miss out on them, we are potentially costing ourselves numerous business opportunities.
First, let’s cover some of the best reasons to do local networking, then we’ll get into where you can go to get this accomplished.
Why network locally?
Here are just a few of the things that can come from local networking:
You may have some online skills that local business people are in need of. Perhaps you know web design, or you can drive traffic to a landing page. You might know how to run social media campaigns.
These are things every local business needs. They also need press release writers, article writers, copywriters, design work, marketing help, and tech solutions, such as business apps and text marketing campaigns.
Even if these things are not your area of expertise, I am sure you know people who do this kind of work. We run into them every day as online marketers.
Imagine how well we could network online if we can send lots of new work to a web designer we know.
As an online marketer, you inevitably need websites built. What if you could get several high end local business clients to a great web designer? Do you think they might take your next sales page copy and create a beautiful web page design for it, as well as a great landing page and a download page?
We’ve already discussed outsourcing tips on this blog, but remember you don’t always have to pay an outsourcer in cash. You can barter services by sending them business.
Also, you never know what projects or ventures can come out of local networking.
I created an info product with Jason Ohrum called Facebook Dynamite.
We assembled the product and marketed it, but didn’t create the initial raw material for the product.
The product itself was about a local plumber’s success on social media. He was running a successful residential plumbing business with no paid advertising. Ninety five percent of his business came from free traffic from his Facebook page, and the other five percent came from referrals. We documented exactly how he did it, and sold the system.
It was a great product, it helped a lot of people, and we gave the plumber a portion of the proceeds for the time he spent showing us exactly how he did it.
This type of thing only comes from local networking.
You can also run into longer term ventures from local networking.
I met a graphic designer and print expert at a local business association event. We hired each other a few times for different projects until we realized our talents were complimentary.
From that, we started BestMarketingResults, which has become a successful local marketing company. We do web design, mobile optimization, social media campaigns, text marketing campaigns, and more. It all came from doing a bit of local networking.
Where to network?
I am familiar with local networking in the United States.
Other places in the world will have similar organizations, but they might be called something different. If you don’t have one or more of the following, try some Google searches for similar terms.
One type of place to network is a local business association.
These might be called business organizations, business associations, or business coops in your area. Search Google for any of those terms, plus the name of the city or region you are in.
You can also look up your local Chamber of Commerce. Most of them have directories online and you can see who the members are.
There are many groups geared towards networking, such as BNI.
Search your city to see if there is a BNI group there. BNI allows one member from different industries or professions per chapter, such as one real estate agent, one web deigned, one dentist, etc. They exchange referral leads. There is a fee for joining, but you can attend a meeting for free to see what it’s about.
There may be other such groups in your area.
A Google search for “lead clubs,” “lead groups,” or “networking groups” might reveal more of what you have available in your area.
Toastmasters is another great organization to network in.
Check Google to see if a chapter exists in your area.
You can also see what civic organizations are in your area, such as Lions Club or Knights of Columbus. They regularly have local business people in to speak with their groups.
Churches and your local public library are resources many people forget about when looking to network. They occasionally have community nights, or even business lectures. Many of them are posted online, but a phone call to see what events they have scheduled can prove to be productive.
Lastly, check some of the nonprofit organizations in your area.
If you have something to sell from the podium, such as books or videos, many of them will let you be a keynote speaker at an event, in exchange for a portion of the proceeds of product sales that come from that event.
The key is to get out there and meet people.
You will be pleasantly surprised at what kinds of projects and ventures will present themselves once you start doing that.
You will note that for some of the suggestions I gave, such as for nonprofit organizations, it could help to do a little public speaking. If this is not something you are comfortable with at this time, download a PDF of my free guide Public Speaking Made Easy and see if you can work up the courage to step out of your comfort zone.
Great things happen when you do! I would love to hear any local networking tips or stories you have to share. Please comment below. Thanks
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