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Friday, September 28, 2012

The New Marketing - Networking

Friday, September 28, 2012

With advanced technology, it seems like people are spending more and more time alone.  Why get out of your PJs if you can sit in front of your computer and instantly access anyone or anything you want?  Skype, Facetime, IM, there are many ways to connect with other both verbally and visually but something is missing.  Call me old fashion but there's something to be said for meeting people face-to-face.

This coming weekend I'll be attending a conference focuses on Internet Marketing.  It's a relatively small conference but has some of the best and brightest in the industry presenting and attending.  Personally I'm looking forward to meeting people face-to-face and getting to know them.  By having this connection, it enriches the virtual connections that we'll make long after the conference via email, phone, Skype, etc.

What would happen without physical limits?
I always asked myself what would be missing if we never made the effort to meet people face to face. Specifically, what if we never went to meetings, conferences, dinners, meet and greets, etc.?  For me, the answer is "I don't want to know."  Something would definitely be missing if one day we decided to focus on leveraging the technology alone and eliminate live interactions.

One example of this is the paperback book.  Today I read just about everything on my computer, ipad, or smartphone... but still love picking up a real book.  In some ways, it makes me appreciate something I used to take for granted - and I enjoy it even more.  It's my belief that human interaction works much the same way.  Although we may be less dependent upon this interaction, it's appreciated none-the-less. It does require an effort though.  If you want to get out and know people, you literally need to go out.  A Google Hangout can't replace real life connections!

What are you doing to connect?
For many of us, connecting in a new environment has it's challenges.  I for one am not the best in new situations where I don't have established connections. But I push myself anyway - and I'm always glad I do.  I know that meeting new people in your niche can be challenging but the good news is that everyone has something in common.  This is half the marketing battle.

As a next step, seek out real-life interactions you can engage in.  Local meet-ups, conferences, events.  There are plenty of opportunities out there to step outside your comfort zone and build some meaningful relationships.  I encourage you to find one event that interests you and sign up to attend.  Here are some strategies you can use to make the event more enjoyable:

1.  Bring a friend.  Things are a lot less anxiety-provoking when you have someone with you that you're already comfortable with.

2.  Bring business cards.  Don't get caught off guard.  Bring plenty of business cards if you plan to network and establish new relationships.

3.  Don't wait for someone to speak to you.  In order to get the most from your event, take initiative.  Don't be a wallflower.  Introduce yourself and ask about the other person, "where are you from?" "what do you do".

4.  Follow up.  Make the most of your marketing investment.  Follow up with the people you meet - connect on Google Plus and LinkedIn.

By taking initiative and meeting people face-to-face, you can start to develop long lasting connections that serve you well in the future.  You may even have a good time and enjoy the interactions you have.  The key is to start small and build up.  Over time, you'll become more comfortable with networking.


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