At it’seeze website design Colchester we always recommend that networking should be part of your marketing strategy to build your brand, and business owners need to adapt to the way meetings are being held these days. 
Apart from having a fast-loading modern website, publishing business blogs, posting consistently on your social media platforms and sending regularly newsletters to your database of prospects and clients, networking is one of the best ways to get your organisation known. After all, people like to buy from people. 
Although it’s worth noting that networking can be a powerful tool in your marketing funnel, you very rarely get immediate results. It may take a while to build good relationships with your new connections, before they trust you and decide they want to do business with you. 
Most network meetings were attended in person before the Covid-19 pandemic, but during the UK lockdowns, some organisations changed to online networks and some still maintain that way of meeting. 
There are a variety of networks in North Colchester and Essex that vary from ones you pay an annual subscription for and meet weekly, like BNI, to monthly meetings where you can pay when you attend. Alternatively, if your budget is limited, there are also free online meetings, like those run by the FSB, or in person, like Essex Business Networking. 
There are also networks for specific industries like property and some same sex networks like the Business Womans Network (who do have some male members) or Women In Business. Some networks only allow one person from each profession or industry to become members, in a bid to secure more business. 
To check each networks rules, times, dates and venues or networks in your area you can check the Facebook page Essex Business Networking Events 
Also Colchester Borough Council’s website has a page on local network groups, but some of these no longer run: or alternatively check Eventbrite for meetings in your area. 
We’d recommend you to try a variety of different networks and perhaps attend your favourite a couple of times, before you decide whether it’s the one for you or the one your ideal customers attend. 
Before attending a network there are a few things we’d recommend you to do: 
Decide in advance what to wear 
When you are preparing to attend a network, it is worth asking the organiser about the dress code. Choose to wear something in keeping with that and something you feel comfortable wearing. 
Prepare your 60 seconds elevator pitch 
Often at networks you get asked to speak for 60 seconds to explain to the other attendees what your business does. It’s what you might say to a stranger if you were travelling in a lift for 60 seconds, hence the name for it. Apart from discussing what you do, you could also mention your new products, business successes or read a noteworthy client’s review. 
Be armed with business collateral 
Before attending any networks, you should have had some business cards printed with your business name and contact details or you can go a step further and have some leaflets or brochures prepared. These will help people to contact you in the future. 
Be prepared to listen 
Don’t forget to give people the opportunity to tell you what they do. Sometimes the most successful networkers are those who have mastered the art of listening. 
Take samples 
What better way to introduce people to your brand than by taking small samples or your products or showing examples of your services. You can always use these as a prop when giving your 60 seconds too, as it will help your pitch to stand out from the other business people’s pitches. 
What next? 
After a network meeting, you would be foolish if you didn’t follow up by contacting all of the people you’ve met. You can do this by calling them, dropping them an email, sending them a message or connecting with them on social media. 
Hopefully they will want to get to know you better and establish a feeling of mutual trust. Although the people you’ve met at the meeting might not want your products or services today, they might in the future or know someone else who they can refer. 
We’d like to wish you every success in your networking, raising your company profile and building your reputation as an expert in your field. 
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