Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Using National Networking Week to Your Advantage

The annual National Networking Week is just around the corner (April 8–14), which gives you the perfect opportunity to network with prospective clients in the area.

The annual National Networking Week is just around the corner (April 8–14), which gives you the perfect opportunity to network with prospective clients in the area. As summer approaches and the temperature slowly rises, local business owners will begin looking for new ways to attract customers that are out and about during these warm days. You can offer a solution to their problem. Consider throwing a mixer for local businesses to meet and mingle with the community. This gives those companies the ideal chance to promote their products and services, build relationships with community members and prospective customers, as well as connect with other local businesses in the area, which is the very essence of networking.

While the local businesses are meeting their next clients, you may be doing the same. A mixer not only provides the attendees the opportunity to network with the community, but it also gives you the chance to network with local businesses. With business cards in tow, keep an eye out for possible advertisers in the crowd. Don’t hesitate to jump into the conversation by asking about their company and learning about their needs. Then you can set up a future time for a one-on-one conversation to discuss their advertising options.

Don’t limit the attendees to just business owners; extend invitations to company employees as well. Also, consider making the mixer free-of-charge. Stamping a price tag on it will interfere with attaining maximum attendance. If you narrow the audience, you are narrowing your own networking opportunities with possible clients. In this case, the more the merrier for both the local businesses and your ad department.

Perfecting the time and setting of your mixer is key in order to ensure that guests feel comfortable, relaxed and ready to mingle with their peers. Start by booking a venue that is both conveniently located within the community, but also neutral for the participants. You don’t want to ward off potential clients by threatening them with their own competition.

If you do feel there is reluctance amongst the community to attend your mixer, then consider offering some incentive. Perhaps offering raffles for prizes that are geared towards the audience will make them more likely to join the event.

Make sure the mixer is well equipped with food and beverages to get the ball rolling. If the attendees are hesitant to begin networking, snack and drinks will certainly help break the ice.

Timing is everything, and your mixer is not an exception to the rul. Since you’re catering to local businesses, assume that the average attendee will be, at the very least, working during the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. hours. Schedule the event in the evening, perhaps after dinner hours, or even on a weekend.

Offering a local business mixer will give both you and your community the opportunity to celebrate National Networking Week to its fullest potential.