You’ve heard it a million times. “You have to network if you want to grow your business”. While this might be true, in most cases you won’t find this at your local networking event. We have been attending these networking events over the last few years and now we are 100% done with wasting our time. In this article we will cover why we believe networking events are a waste of time and what we are doing instead.
Why networking events are a waste of time
The #1 reason why we think networking events are a waste of time is simply because our ideal client or audience weren’t there. We found out quickly that most networking events are poorly run and they allow anyone in these events.
We noticed that these 3 big industries (insurance, real estate, finance) were almost always at these events. That’s fine, but there would be times where we attended an event with 100 attendees and around 80% of the people fell into one of these 3 industries. We now know that when we attend an event with this type of takeover it’s because the networking group is poorly managed.
We’ve also noticed that a poorly managed group will allow MLM (multi level marketing) people come in and try to recruit new members. If this happens run far away from that group! We recently found this great podcast called The Dream they cover the MLM world in great detail.
Below is a break down of how much time is wasted when attending a networking event:
- Get dressed (15-30 minutes)
- Drive & park to networking event (average 30 minutes)
- Networking event (1-2 hours)
- Drive back home (average 30 minutes)
As you can see a networking event can take around 3.5-4 hours on average. Plus the cost of the event and/or food and drinks. This sounds great if you happen to find a solid lead that turned into a client. But from our years of trying these networking groups, we never landed a solid long term client. Of course, your results might be different.
Make Your Content Work For You
Now that you know we aren’t big fans of networking groups, what do we do instead? We create targeted content. We’ve been consistently creating targeted content for years and it’s paid off big time! We found out that creating content that’s useful for our ideal client will get more eyes on our brand than attending networking events.
What’s our content strategy? We try to create a weekly blog article and video. Yes, we might miss a week or so once in a while but on average we create weekly content. We also try to create engaging social posts every few days. If you are a small business with just a few employees you can’t expect to create daily content like everyone tells you to do online.
Our biggest success in 2019 was starting and growing our YouTube channel. At the time of writing this article we are at 50k views on our videos! While this number isn’t groundbreaking we have seen that getting our videos in front of people helps with our branding big time. When you create videos on YouTube you are feeding Google with more useful content. You will be rewarded because YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine behind Google.
Networking Tip: Let’s say you do meet someone at an event or on the street, have them subscribe to your YouTube channel in person. This works great because the next time they go on YouTube there’s a good chance they will see your video content. I look at YouTube as a video newsletter, people can get email alerts if they want to stay current with your videos.
What are some alternatives to networking events? Below we will list of our top networking event alternatives:
We recommend you try to find a meetup group that shares a common interest. Meetup groups can be anything from book clubs, hiking, brunch, etc… A lot of times these meetups are targeted for a certain audience like small business owners.
Conferences & Workshops
Depending on your industry there might be small conferences or workshops you can attend and network. For example, Wordcamp is an affordable WordPress conference that comes around our area a few times a year and we love to attend these events. We have met tons of great people and you get to learn something while attending. The speakers always welcome your questions and will often times connect with you on social media.
It’s clear that the traditional in-person networking events will die off in the future. We recommend you join online groups. Don’t just join online groups to promote your business, try to actually connect with people and help other people out. You will see that just this one alternative is way more effective than networking events.
Networking Matching Companies
We highly recommend you do some research and see if you can find a networking matching company that fits your business. Networking matching companies come in all shapes and sizes. The purpose is to match you up with someone that’s interested in your services or similar interests. These companies can vary from AI apps to companies that manually match you with a potential match.
We are part of PowerMatch*. It’s a networking matching platform that manually matches you directly with strategic partners that you need to build business relationships. There’s no selling allowed in the group, if you’re caught trying to sell or pitch you will be removed from the platform. This is great because it allows you to focus on building real relationships with people instead of selling your services.
*Update August 2020 – The PowerMatch network no longer exists.
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Our overall networking event experience has been very poor and we are tired of wasting our time on something that hasn’t helped grow our business. We now focus that time on creating content and explore the networking alternatives listed above.