Marketing Moxie Blog

What they didn't tell you about Networking

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 @ 07:02 AM

Hands-up-who-hates-networking-events.jpgAsk any business coach how to grow your business and they ultimately preach about the many benefits of networking. These meetings can build valuable relationships that can help you stay connected to your community and other business leaders.

Networking can provide your business with a steady stream of leads - if you know how to do it properly. Networking can also be a huge time waster. Here's what those business coaches don't tell you about networking:

 

* You see the same people: Many coaches will tell you to join as many networking groups as possible. This doesn't always give you the exposure you want. You will start to see the same people over and and over again. If these people aren't right for your business, you will be wasting your time. Always keep your target market in mind and find people who are interested in your business, product or service.

* Networking takes time: All of those breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings may be tasty, but you will have to eat out on a regular basis for at least a few months. Don't expect a business deal after meeting someone for the first time, even if you think they will benefit from your product or service. Networking is all about building relationships, and people will have to get to know and trust you before they will purchase from you.

* You will be expected to reciprocate: If someone buys a product or service from you, there will be an 'unsaid' expectation to reciprocate the deal. You may not want what they have to offer, and that can strain the networking relationship.

* Pressure to deliver leads: Some groups pressure members to provide other members with leads. While giving leads to others in your group can be incredibly valuable, there are times when you have to say you just don't know anyone who would benefit from what they have to offer. This can cause friction between you and the others in the group.

Like all like all approaches to sales marketing, the key to success is knowing your target market and presenting your business in a way that helps others understand how you can help them. Is networking really generating leads and sales? Look back at your recent deals and think about the source.

Even if networking is working, chances are your connections are still going to google you tomorrow. I can’t stress enough the importance of polishing your online profile. Check out these great marketing resources to polish your online marketing presence. 

As you set out to grow your business—exploring every opportunity isn’t the best approach. You have to be laser focused and learn the art of saying no so you free yourself up to say to the right fit. I am selective about networking functions – I find they don’t bring me the leads. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely valuable to get out in the community and connect with other leaders and support worthy causes, but then recognize it for what it is. I know if I am selling online it is far more valuable for me to spend time on SEO, blogging or a newsletter that “networking”.

So whether or not you are going to that next business after hours, I’d recommend that you polish up your LinkedIn page before heading out and get clear on your ideal customers as well as thinking about if they’ll be attending that event.

Loving LinkedIn -- A guide to creating an Effective Profile

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Tags: linkedin, online marketing, personal branding

What's in a Certification?

Posted by Melanie Taljaard on Thu, Nov 03, 2016 @ 08:11 AM

How Does Certification Help the Client?

Marketing is important, so much so that businesses need to exercise considerable care in making sure that their chosen marketers possess both the expertise and the experience needed to market their products and services in an efficient and effective manner. However, choosing a capable marketer is much easier said than done, though there are various methods that businesses can use to narrow their options.

For example, the right certification from the right organization can be useful for separating capable marketers from their not-so-capable counterparts. After all, so long as the organization can be trusted, certification means that the certificate-holder has met all of its standards to be considered capable of performing in their chosen field. Given the importance of marketing, it should come as no surprise to learn that there are a wide range of organizations offering a wide range of marketing certificates.

What Is HubSpot Certification?

HubSpot_Certification_badge_with_banner-1.pngOne example of such organizations is HubSpot, which is best known for a software platform that powers inbound marketing in all of its forms, which range from blogs and social media profiles to optimizing websites for the search engines. Hubspot is the undisputed leader in Inbound Marketing which is why Hubspot also offers a number of certifications for the field:

Inbound Certification

Like its name suggests, Inbound Certification serves as an introduction to inbound marketing as well as a simple and straightforward primer for the fundamentals of the concept. It covers things such as creating good content, creating good landing pages, and nurturing leads. Inbound Certification is a fairly easily achieved certification but it provides certificate-holders with a firm foundation to build on.

HubSpot Certificationhubspot_badge-1.jpg

In contrast to Inbound Certification, HubSpot Certification focuses more on Hubspot's software platform, passing on best practices as well as explaining how each of those best practices fit into inbound marketing. This means that its certificate-holders can be expected to not just know how inbound marketing should be done but also how the software platform should be used as an integral part of a business's inbound marketing.

HubSpot Partner Certification

If HubSpot Certification focuses on how Hubspot should be used, HubSpot Partner Certification focuses on how HubSpot should be used for the sake of the client. As a result, it includes topics such as package services, price services, provide services, and ensure excellent results as measured using quantifiable metrics. In other words, certificate-holders can be expected to know how to ensure client satisfaction in the course of assisting them with their inbound marketing.

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Summed up, if businesses want a capable marketer that takes the time and effort needed to keep their skills up-to-date, a good choice would be someone who has received all three certifications from HubSpot. After all, inbound marketing is a fast-paced field, meaning that those who refuse to keep up will be left behind.

While these certifications may not appear as acronyms on my business card and are no replacement for my Bachelor of Public Relations or Masters in Business Administration, they do demonstrate may commitment to Inbound Marketing and Hubspot.  

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Tags: certification, personal branding