The Importance of Local Business Networking
In the modern day, with digital marketing strategies receiving so much attention, it’s important that the value of traditional marketing methods not be forgotten. One of the most valuable marketing resources in the traditional toolbox is local business networking, which also happens to be one of the most frequently overlooked steps in building brand recognition.
What is Local Business Networking
Local business networking is the practice of engaging with other local business owners at in-person functions, such as Rotary clubs and Small Business Association events. Also included are lead sharing organizations, and local members of relevant professional associations — many of which encourage this kind of activity among members who find themselves in close proximity.
Why is Networking Important for Small Businesses?
Many small to moderate-sized companies lack the advertising resources and the overall reach of large, well-established corporations. They simply don’t have a lot of exposure, which requires creative means to help spread the word. When local businesses network, they frequently help each other out passively, in a symbiotic relationship which seems marked improvements to either enterprise’s bottom line.
How Does It Work?
There are many benefits to local small business networking, which help to explain how it functions.
- Recognition: According to a wide range of consumer market research, more than 9 consumers in every 10 believe that it is important to support small local businesses, which are widely recognized as being the backbone of the American economy. One of the ways in which small businesses owners can most effectively “get the word out” about their status is to participate in local groups and events as a local business owner. This generates recognition and interest among their potential client base.
- Mutual Support: If you involve yourself in activities related to your local chamber of commerce, you open up your business to ideas and input from other local business owners — people who might have faced some of the same supply, logistical, or financial issues as you, who may have found useful resources for getting around them. By definition, they know the local area. Networking with other business owners makes a wide range of locally-relevant expertise available to you.
- Loyalty: Customers don’t just favor local businesses for spontaneous shopping needs; they’re more loyal in the long term as well. Surveys show that customers are almost twice as likely to remain loyal customers of a local business than they are of a regional or national chain, regardless of their respective shopping experiences. In turn, this leads to a greater appreciation on the part of business owners, who find the stress inherent to the running of a business to be much-reduced.