WHY REAL WORLD CONNECTIONS STILL MATTER
As a society it's fair to say we're fixated with technology. We go to lunch and spend more time staring at our phones than talking to our friends. We simultaneously watch Netflix and scroll Instagram like we're born to. And as business owners, we often focus so heavily on our digital presence that we forget how valuable and important creating and nourishing real world connections can be for growth.
Today’s blog shares three of the key reasons why taking the time to meet and network with your audiences in real life is so important for your business. In sum, it supports you to:
THE ROI OF IN-PERSON CONNECTION
Finding ways to connect IRL with the audiences that matter to your business requires work, but to me it’s a no-brainer top-of-the-list marketing and business growth tactic.
It doesn’t need to be a costly or excessive exercise. It can be as simple as coffee catch ups, attending the right kind of networking event, or hosting mini pop-up style experiences in the spaces where your audiences go to buy your products. As a sole trader service provider, I aim to attend one networking style event per month, and to meet with one client in person per month.
Aside from the fact it can be a super cup-filling experience, the ROI of networking is more often than not worth its weight in gold. When you consider the amount of business generated from enhancing your customer relationships or meeting new faces and acquiring new customers vs. the time and money spent on the event, the outcomes usually speak for themselves. I will often get more value from the 6 or so hours per month spent on in-person networking, than from the 8-10 hours per month spent creating content for social media.
How and how often you should connect with your audiences in person will vary depending on the size, scale and type of business you run. If you’re unsure where to begin, stakeholder mapping can be a really useful exercise. If you’re like, “stakeholder what now?” shoot me a message and I’ll guide you through it.
1. IN-PERSON CONNECTIONS BUILD TRUST AND CUSTOMER LOYALTY
A study by Salesforce showed that 95% of consumers said they're more loyal to the companies they trust. One of the best ways to create trust is to show your audiences the real you. When you share a space with people, shake their hand, look them in the eye, have a laugh, etc you go from being someone behind a screen or product lavel to a physical being in this world. You bring perceptions into reality, and allow others to genuinely believe you are who you say you are, and you wholeheartedly believe in what you do. Through this trust people buy into you and your story and become more emotionally invested in your business.
2. IN-PERSON CONNECTIONS STRENGTHEN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
People love to be inspired and feel connected. Whether you’re taking someone for coffee, hosting an informal gathering for your clients or running a pop-up, when you create the space and opportunity for your audiences to surround themselves with others who have similar interests (yes this includes you), you become a centerpiece that brings positive experiences into their lives. You go from being just another entrepreneur and just another business, to someone that does things they want to be a part of. When people want to be a part of what you’re doing, they’ll go out of their way to make it happen.
3. IN-PERSON CONNECTIONS ENHANCE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
We live in a world where 80% of people say customer experience is just as important as the products and services that a company offers. While the customer experience for many businesses these days can live completely online, and be improved by savvy digital processes, a lot can still be said for simply showing face and proving that you care. Making an effort to meet and talk with your clients, to find out what motivates them, and to really do your part in ensuring their time with your business is magic and memorable will not only make them feel special, it will make their whole experience with your business one worth repeating.
So next time you're looking for ways to grow your business, start by looking for ways to grow your connections with those who make your business a reality.
P.S. If you’re a Perth-based gal in biz, Fusion Biz Co is my go-to for all things networking.