Networking has become one of the most used marketing avenues for small business. As my husband Jared, who is a PR and Marketing strategist, says, “People have to know you, like you and trust you way before they will pay you.” This is especially true for service based businesses where you are the reason someone will hire your business. Networking events and luncheons can take a lot of time from your busy day and the lunch often costs you money. But are those network meetings they really making you money?
In order to determine if a networking group; or even networking in general; is working for your business you must first put tracking in place. Some of the Key Indicators to track are the number of meetings, number of one-on-one meetings directly related to the networking activity, the amount of money spent per group and ultimately the money directly earned as a result of attending those networking events.
Tracking these Key Indicators should be done for networking in general but can also be done to determine which group or groups are worth your time and effort. If joining a networking group is truly affecting your bottom line than there is no reason to change things but if one group is decidedly more profitable than another, it is important to concentrate your activities there.
Networking can also be used as a loss leader. That means it may not be directly related to referrals or profit, but you are getting your name and brand recognized, which will eventually lead to more profits in the future. If you are losing money however that is a problem. Remember that whether it is a profitable activity or a loss it does not necessarily mean you should give it up. It does mean you need to track each change you make so you know if you are going in the right direction. That means each time you change your elevator speech you need to track the response. It means if you hand out fifteen business cards then you need to track the number of one-on-one meetings you book. Track how many of those one-on-one meetings lead to a referral or new business. This holds true for any marketing endeavor including direct mail and social media marketing.
Alpha Omega Accounting now offers strategic analytics reports which include tracking Key Indicators such as your networking and other marketing activates to determine how they are affecting your bottom line. Call our office or send us an e-mail for more information to make sure your networking with the right network to grow your business.