When you run an online business there's a tendency to do all of your marketing and networking online too. While having a strong online presence is necessary, there are several benefits to logging out and doing business the old fashioned way as well.
This is also good news for those who are new to working from home and are having a difficult time adjusting to a more isolated career.
Here are some great ways to network with other professionals in your field and market your online business – offline. Do not forget your business cards!
Attend local business seminars, conventions and meetings.
Chances are there are more of these going on around you than you think. Small businesses owners in your community may meet monthly to discuss issues affecting business and to share valuable ideas. There are also professional association events that offer workshops, panel discussions and opportunities to meet people with the same business interests as you.
To find these opportunities call up local businesses, check online forums and classifieds such as Craigslist and do not underestimate the community newspaper.
Create your own networking discussion groups.
With the amount of social media available online it's not difficult to start up your own local meeting group. The best part about this course is that the discussions will circle around your business agenda. So spread the word on Facebook, Craigslist, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Make yourself known to your neighbors by attending local events.
Find out what's happening in your area and go. You may not think a community art show has anything to do with your business, but you never know who you're going to meet. If no one you meet is seeking your services, they may know someone who is or need them down the line and think of you.
Be a vendor.
Instead of just going to events, set up a booth and make yourself visible. Cut costs by sharing space with another complimentary business.
It's true that your online business is part of an exciting international market, but it's time to start thinking of yourself as a small, local business as well. There are many people who prefer to work with a business they can put a face on so use these strategies to make it your face they think of when they need your services.