Monday, February 17, 2014

10 Ways to Utilize Business Networking Groups Market To Local Customers





Business networking groups have a mission to bringing business owners and entrepreneurs together for the purpose of building relationships and generate new business opportunities. These networking groups attract local customers and are the most effective method for you to market and grow your business quickly.

Most businesses begin their marketing campaigns locally utilizing local sources to determine the effect it would generate and business networking groups offer opportunities for you to identify your locally targeted audience, whether you are reaching out to business to business (B2B) or business to customers (B2C). 

Once you’ve determined that the marketing campaign has been a success locally you may want decide to expand their reach to other area.
To achieve the most out of marketing with your local business networking group there are a couple of steps you need to accomplish before proceeding with your marketing campaigns. 

FIRST STEP:  Create a Domain Name
Create a domain name for your business to identify your business over the internet.  There are several companies you can choose to register and host your domain at a fairly low cost.  Below is a list of domain hosting companies you may want to consider, simply click on the links to visit website:

SERVICE PROVIDER
COST
Starting at $0.99/year
Starting at $8.99/year
Starting at $37.00/year

Keep in mind that the cost of your domain depends on the TLD (Top Level Domain - examples: .com, .org, .tv….).  I find 1and1.com to be the best solution for my domain needs, I’ve been using them for years with no problems and they are the most affordable.  Most domain service packages include a website, email and storage.  Just want to also mention that domain names are transferable, so you can purchase your domain from one service provider and build your website on another and transfer your domain.

SECOND STEP: Build a Website
If you decide to use one of the domain hosting services listed in the FIRST STEP or you choose another services provider, note that once you have a registered domain name you would need to set up an attractive website to include details about your company, products and/or services. Make sure your contact information is visible on all pages.  You don’t have to be a web designer to create an attractive website, most websites building sites provide you with many template options you can choose that would best suit your business.  And if you need additional assistance they also provide tutorials to help in building your website.  Below is a list of website builder services you may want to check out, simply click on the links to visit website:

SERVICE PROVIDER
COST
Starting at $5.95/mo
Starting at $1.00/mo (1 year plan)
Starting at $3.75/mo (2 year plan)
Starting at $4.99/mo
Starting at $4.99/mo

Some of these website service providers offer a free starter package, which you can take advantage, but keep in mind that if it is free it still comes with a price and the price is that your website would include advertisements from other companies which is not attractive and can drive potential customers away from your website.

THIRD STEP: Determine your Marketing Budget
Marketing first begins with a plan and your plan is to market locally to attract local customers. Business Networking Groups has many marketing opportunities for every business on every budget. Once you’ve determined how much is available to spend, for accounting purposes you’d want to stay within your mean of the budge you’ve created.
Now that you have completed the first few steps to prepare you and increase your chances for better results of your marketing campaigns, you are ready to contact your local business networking group to learn the ways you can to effectively reach you local audience.  Below are 10 ways to utilize business networking groups to market your business locally online and offline to grow your business and maintain your marketing budget.

OFFLINE MARKETING
1.     Rent table space at a local event, show samples of your products and services.  This is an affordable and effective way to showcase your business.
2.     Sponsor your venue to local event organization to host an event. This is a great opportunity for you to attract new customers. Whether you are a new business or just seeking new customers, this is a great way for you market what your company has to offer.
3.     Include your marketing materials in goody bags and welcome bags.  Add your brochures, catalogs and promotional material to local event goody bags or welcome bags, make sure it includes your contact information.  This is a great way to reach all the attendees at the event.
4.     Donate a raffle as a giveaway at a local event you are attending, include your business card, flyer, catalog, order form or coupon. 
5.     Join a local business networking group.  Most business networking groups have a low cost enrollment fee to join their organization. Joining the organization can provide you with marketing and advertising opportunities at reduced rates.
6.     Purchase a Local mailing lists, this is a great way to reach the targeted audience you want. Local mailing lists can provide you with contact of local potential customers; it’s a great way for you to mail your marketing campaigns to local prospects.

ONLINE MARKETING
7.     Rent ad space on local company’s website. Some business associations allow you to rent ad space on their website with company banner.  This is an affordable way to attract local customer and increase your website traffic.
8.     List your business information in local business directories. Customers seeking your business products or services will certainly start their search locally and you want to be found. Business directory can be an affordable marketing method and will also gain more website traffic.
9.     Publicize your campaigns through local email marketing. For a more creative awareness and to stay on top of the minds of our your local community, local email marketing  is an effective marketing method to help you  get your message out to your local customers about your products or service promotions, campaigns, updates and event. 

ONLINE AND; OFFLINE MARKETING
10.  Local Sponsorships Opportunities. If your budget is a little bigger you may want to consider local sponsorship.  Local sponsorship opportunities allow you to expose your business products and/or services online and offline.  It’s a great to gain good publicity, enhance you visibility and build your brand awareness for a relatively small investment.

Using these offline and offline marketing methods will help bring, visibility, website traffic and growth to your business. You can either choose one or more than one to market your business, but keep in mind that you must be consistent with your marketing campaigns. Marketing your campaign one time would not be as effective as marketing three or more times.

About the Author, Theresa Todman, Founder of Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) , a business organization located in Westchester County, NY. If you’re ready to market to our local community contact me at ttodman@wnfp.org or visit us online at www.wnfp.org.