- Who Needs Targeted Leads When You Can Play a Game of “Guess Who?”
- Embrace the Chaos of Unpredictability and Competition
- Forget About Efficiency, Embrace Time-Consuming Conversations
- Stay Relevant With Outdated Business Cards
- Enjoy the Thrill of Inconsistent Follow-Ups
- Let LinkedIn Notifications Clog Up Your Feed
- Boost Your Social Skills As You Hone Your “Elevator Pitch”
- Make One Offer and Follow Up
- QR Codes that Take People to a Special Offer
- Provide a Freebie (Not a Coffee) and Automate Your Marketing By Qualifying Your Leads
- Create a Networking Follow-Up Sequence
- Send Video Messages
In a world where technology and AI is transforming almost every aspect of our lives, there’s one thing that remains constant: the power of networking.
While automating your marketing is a popular option, many SMEs still embrace the power of networking. I get it. You are old school, you love being around people, and you thrive on praise and fame. But the question is: does it pay your business expenses?
Some people still believe in the power of networking. And that’s fine. We do it sometimes for visibility, but we usually send the people who are extroverts. As an extreme introvert, I would rather sit down one-to-one with clients and brainstorm. And that’s where we get the most results. We automate. We still create connections.
However, you might still be unconvinced. After all, who needs efficiency and scalability when you can spend your days schmoozing with the right people? (or not?) Brace yourself, because we’re about to give you seven (in)valid reasons why networking is enough and you should not automate your marketing.
1. Who Needs Targeted Leads When You Can Play a Game of “Guess Who?”
From my experience as a group coordinator of a medium sized networking group in the North West, I now know that a murder mystery is easier to solve than finding out who people really are when they turn up at a networking event. I have had one client from networking, only to have them disappear from the group and the face of the Earth a few months later, in the middle of the project. And another three or four years later, because I kept in touch with the person well after the group dissolved.
Results? I wouldn’t call it results.
Of course, as you spend a few years networking, you will find out that 40-60 percent of businesses turning up are “fur coat no knickers”, and everyone is bluffing just a tad.
Forget about the precision of market segmentation and personalised marketing. With networking, you can throw darts blindly at a dartboard, hoping to strike the right people. It’s like a thrilling game of “Guess Who?” where every conversation is a surprise! Plus, you can meet some real dreamers who don’t even have a business, but are talking to you from a high horse! Why automate your marketing?
2. Embrace the Chaos of Unpredictability and Competition
Marketing automation ensures a steady flow of leads through a consistent and predictable process. How unexciting! In fact, it’s boring. What’s the thrill in that?
Instead, let networking add some spice to your life by making each day a delightful surprise. Will you meet the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the local cat enthusiast? Who knows? Embrace the chaos, my friend!
At best, you turn up at an event of 60 people and find out that 20 are from the same legal firm (none of them are decision makers), 20 are in network marketing and trying to recruit you, 5 are your competitors, and the rest of the people just want to be seen. Hey, that’s better, isn’t it?
3. Forget About Efficiency, Embrace Time-Consuming Conversations
You could sit in the office and brainstorm improving your business and marketing. If you automate your marketing, you will, however, miss out on getting dressed to impress, waking up at 6 am to be told by a glorified headteacher that you haven’t referred enough business to your “classmates”, you will also avoid peak traffic and bad pub breakfast.
Why automate when you can spend hours engaging in small talk and pretending to be interested in your networking comrades’ pet projects? Embrace the joy of listening to long-winded stories about their Aunt Mildred’s incredible knitting skills, the new puppy that employee got, and endless bragging about how good other people’s businesses are. Who needs saved time when you can squander it on pleasant chitchats?
4. Stay Relevant With Outdated Business Cards
There’s something exciting going through old business cards. Half of the people are not in business any more (after about 2 years), the rest changed their position, and people you used to talk to are still wanting things for peanuts. Every time I give this job to our sales and account director, he feels like he is at a poker event. We recently sent out an email to people we gave a proposal to in the past 2 years. 40 percent of the email addresses didn’t exist any more.
If you like poker, you will love networking. It’s all about the cards!
While marketing automation uses high-tech tools, networking offers a more vintage approach. Keep up the charm by handing out your beautifully designed business cards, complete with outdated contact details that nobody will remember you by. People will be in awe of your dedication to staying behind the times! Especially if you don’t follow up with them.
5. Enjoy the Thrill of Inconsistent Follow-Ups
Most people in networking will invite you for an informal chat over a coffee. And then nothing. So if you love wasting your time on leads that will never convert, this is your arena.
You can also use a diary to follow up with people after meeting them every two days. How fun! And you can try until they forget about you. Then you bump into them again, and have another coffee. And so on….
Automating your marketing will ensure timely follow-ups and efficient nurturing, but networking allows you to play a game of “Will they remember me?” Enjoy the nail-biting suspense of waiting for that random email or call from a long-lost connection. The question is: do you still remember what they do?
6. Let LinkedIn Notifications Clog Up Your Feed
Oh, the joy of networking and adding people to your LinkedIn! Your feed will be instantly filled with chest pumping posts and irrelevant photos. Oh, and that fame you were hoping for? You will get 10 percent of people to follow you back. Fun, isn’t it?
With networking, you can spend hours scrolling through your feed, trying to decipher if your connections’ new puppy is a strategic marketing move or just a cute distraction. And you can compare womens decolatte sizes, too. (also a part of a marketing stunt on LinkedIn). LinkedIn is the new crystal ball of success!
7. Boost Your Social Skills As You Hone Your “Elevator Pitch”
You can spend 2 hours of your time to get a chance to deliver your 2-minute elevator pitch every couple of days to a few dozen people who will not remember it anyway. Or you can just improve your LinkedIn marketing strategy and automate your marketing on all channels, and get your elevator pitch (LinkedIn headline) seen by hundreds of people a day. I know, it’s a tough choice….
Who needs a well-crafted marketing automation funnel when you can strengthen your social skills with daily doses of elevator pitches? Improving your ability to captivate someone’s attention in 30 seconds or less is probably the best use of your time.
It’s like a talent show, but instead of dancing, you’re pitching your great idea while someone impatiently stares at the elevator button (or their watch).
How to Automate Your Marketing and Make the Most Out of Your Networking:
Of course, there are loads of people who enjoy being around others. (I am not one of them…. In fact, even crowded places make me go into recovery mode for a week). If you are an extrovert who loves connecting with people, there’s nothing wrong with that. But you still need to be smart about it. And you can automate your marketing follow ups after meeting the right people at networking events.
Here are some great ideas to help you make the most out of your networking if you choose to do it.
Make One Offer and Follow Up
In your elevator pitch, make one strong offer (one that they can’t refuse) and send people to a landing page. There, you can capture their (real) details and stay in touch. With ActiveCampaign, you can tag people you met at networking, and offer them a few nuggets that will help them. This way you build reciprocity and make them remember you. You will also have more time to tell your story.
QR Codes that Take People to a Special Offer
One of the best methods of getting the most out of your networking is to get a special card with a QR Code leading to a discount or free offer that people want. This way, you will be remembered by the offer itself, not the company name. You can even add your LinkedIn page link to the card as a QR code, so it’s easier for people to connect with you.
Provide a Freebie (Not a Coffee) and Automate Your Marketing By Qualifying Your Leads
Once you know who will be turning up at the event, you can send out a survey to find out what content would help them. Then, you can prepare a document, case study, guide, or anything that you are giving away to attendees. You ask them to email you with a certain subject line, and boom; you have them qualified and have them on your list. Now you can start to automate your marketing targeting people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Create a Networking Follow-Up Sequence
Once you have collected all the details (some networking groups will send out the list of attendees), you will be able to send a follow-up sequence to them. Adding a fun survey would be great, and both Typeform and ScoreApp are perfect for this. You can qualify your leads, and provide value on a scale, instead of having to attend a random cafe with each individual just to find out whether or not they are your ideal clients.
Send Video Messages
Instead of sitting down for a coffee with everyone, you can send a video follow-up message. It’s less commuting, more time efficient, and better for engagement, too. If someone has impressed you during the event, mention it in the video message to personalise the content. People will appreciate this probably more than face-to-face meetings.
While automating your marketing may offer efficiency, scalability, and results, it can be less personal. To make sure that you have the best of both worlds and you don’t waste your time on the wrong people, you should always ensure that you pick your events wisely, you really have time to go, and you will be speaking to decision makers.
Qualifying your leads during networking or without networking should be your main priority. Believe me, I have wasted precious years of my business trying to chase after people who were never going to buy anyway; either because they didn’t have the money, they were not serious enough, or already had the problem solved. As a lean marketing automation agency, we have embraced the idea of minimising resource waste. Hence, we only talk to people who are qualified, ready to make a decision, and are serious about their business.
Are you one of these people? Let’s chat.