In the world of marketing, Word of Mouth has great, well … word of mouth.
According to WOMMA (the Word of Mouth Marketing Association), word of mouth marketing is considered to be more effective than traditional marketing by 64% of marketers.
You may be thinking they would say that, wouldn’t they, but their survey is backed up by research from Nielsen that revealed 84% of us trust recommendations from people we know; and research from Market Share that found marketing impact can be increased by up to 54% by social voice (i.e. online & offline word of mouth).
When you start a business, everyone says networking is important; so you network. But are you getting more out of your networking than passable plonk and the occasional first-class canapé? Have your efforts delivered a strong network that adds value to your business?
Successful networking is about more than turning up to grip-n-grin for an hour or so. That’s for weddings and next-door’s BBQ. The point of networking is to build mutually beneficial, integrated alliances (with the right partners), and to raise your own status. For start-ups and small businesses, where one-on-one relationships and personal contacts drive word of mouth business, this is especially important.
For your networking to bring benefits, you need to plan and prepare; winging it won’t do. You need to be in the right places, making the right first impression in front of the right people. And you need to know in advance what your follow-up strategy will be. (more…)
Most small business owners have an opinion on networking. For every person who enjoys and values it – you’ll find another who visibly shudders at the mere mention of the word.
But why does networking seem to polarise small business owners? Is it a massive untapped opportunity, or is it an uncomfortable evening in the company of strangers and cocktail sausages?
No matter what business problem you have to solve right now, there’s a powerful way of finding the answer quickly and efficiently… and it’s called networking.
That’s a word that makes many people’s hearts beat faster. The idea of getting out to events and meeting a bunch of strangers is not something that seems natural!
Yet networking is a powerful marketing and business tool.
So, once you’ve found a networking event, how do you get the most out of it? There are many networking “experts” who can teach you the finer points of generating business from a room of people. But the general rules seem to be very simple;
For too long, networking has been seen as the domain of the old boys club and small businesses desperately chasing new business. Recent years have, however, seen a tremendous growth in popularity of networking groups, particularly as a means of generating new business.