How free networking can help grow your business

Last week I hosted the first Digital Marketing Mixer – a FREE business networking event for everyone I know in the iGaming and Affiliate Marketing industry. We had a huge turnout from all over the industry and a vast mix of languages , time zones and sectors present at the event.

I wanted to share some of the things I learned from it here with you…

People buy People

Good business is still done with personal human interaction. Despite being in lockdown and performing under uncertain deadlines, we want to be able to look people in the eye read their body language and have a meaningful conversation before a deal is sealed and done.

Networking is a big part of our affiliate industry and getting better connected is half the battle won when trying to build an affiliate program or new brand. You have to learn to step outside of your comfort zone and be willing to have a lot of conversation, to talk about what you want , or need and to find likeminded people you can connect with to build new relationships, consistently.

If you want to succeed you can’t focus only on the top 20% of your portfolio or customers and you need to embrace new opportunities that allow you to meet the bottom 80% of people, affiliates, clients too. It’s easy for an affiliate manager to get more traffic from a partner they trust to meet short term deadlines, but what are you doing to build new relationships with partners who haven’t made it to the top of your sales funnel yet?

A key example of this was one of the affiliates who has just started out and joined us at this event.

“Test user” AKA Richard from Germany was one such affiliate, who has a keen interest in Casino and had started a twitch site the value he obtained from being at this event was a direct conversation with the head of a major affiliate program in a personal setting. It might have taken him years to get to have that particular conversation and a good few events travelled to before a deal like that could be done.

Free Networking offers immense value

It’s amazing what can get done in a few hours and how much you can really learn from collaborating with people all over the globe. This event was pulled together by my team to help small businesses get better connected. We had a lot of fairly BIG brands come long too and participate in the conversation and speed networking too!

There are 6-degrees of separation apparently between all of us, or so that saying goes. Who would have thought that you could get on a FREE networking call and be hooked in to an expanded digital community that can link you right in to marketing legends like Tim Ferris (4-hour work week) and Seth Godin. We discovered one of our event attendees services both these marketing “legends” with their innovative marketing automation tools (TextExpander) from smilesoftware.com.

The universe is a small bubble when you consider the power of FREE networking and the impact it can have on small businesses. Not to mention the fact that we’d had a potential affiliate deal signed and sealed before the networking call had even ended. Now – that for me, is a total R-E-S-U-L-T! 

You have to be willing to GIVE before you ASK.

Some of us remember speed dating and the awkward silences this could bring when the chemistry at the table wasn’t quite right. The first round of speed networking started off a bit like that. Everyone was a bit eager and nervous to figure out how it was going to work. Each group was paired up at random and given a topic of conversation to discuss to open up the room. The thing is – it was good to finally be able to engage in actual live conversation. With a lot of conferences and events postponed or run as virtual summits the human connections we enjoy at physical events has been reduce in the past few months.

Once we all got the hang of the timer the conversation and insights flowed freely – and that’s when the magic really started to happen. I was popping in and out of the rooms and could see some really great conversations taking place. Insight and ideas around COVID-19 strategy pivots, working from home, understanding what the “new normal” is, were taking place before the “Ask” for new business began.

My theory on getting new business has always simple.  “Give , Give , Give – then ASK”

Nobody wants to be sold to straight from the point of a first connection. Coming to events like this helps you to build rapport, and meet new people , have fresh conversations and give insight before asking for a favour or sale in return.

I wanted to support my community, now I want to take this initiative a step further. If you missed this event and would like to join our next Digital Marketing Mixer – we’ll be hosting this event again on TUESDAY 30th June . If you want to grow your business come and join us, be part of this great community of professionals and … now, what I’d like to call, industry friends.