Marketing Coffee and Connect

Seven years is a long time in business and even though the past seven years has seen a massive increase in the number of networking groups / organisations I am pleased to say that Coffee and Connect is thriving, with 35 – 40 people regularly attending our morning meetings.

Although Coffee and Connect is not a “Business” as such, in reality I run it as if it were so I thought it might be helpful to look at the marketing activities I undertake to ensure we keep getting new visitors through the door, as I am sure there will be many similarities with running our “proper” businesses.

The Product vs The Brand

Seven years ago networking groups were quite rare – today you could go to a different meeting every day of  the month however each group has their own format and “feel”.

For me there is clear distinction between the “product / service”, which in this context I view as the structure of the meeting and the brand i.e the feel of a meeting.

Initially I experimented with the meeting format but once I had a format that worked I have stuck with it – consistency is really important.

Equally critical however is the “feel” of Coffee and Connect i.e. the brand and I have always had a very strong vision of this, perhaps best summed up like this:

“Coffee and Connect is a friendly, genuine group and everyone is welcoming towards new visitors.  We are all serious about and have a professional approach to, our businesses, but we like to do business with a smile!”

In business you need to get both right – a great product and a brand that people love.

Marketing

 If you have ever heard me talk at a meeting you will know three key points I make in relation to marketing are:

  1.  Marketing is a necessity not a luxury – people i.e. potential customers,  won’t know about you unless you tell them
  2.  The most effective form of marketing is regular and repetitive
  3.  You need to undertake a range of marketing activities so you can tell people about your business in different ways

So what marketing activities do I undertake for Coffee and Connect?

Magazine Advertising

I continually run adverts in all four of my magazines …and it works! Every month new visitors attend because they saw my advert. (It always makes me happy when people tell me they have seen my advert in their local Connection magazine… without them realising that the magazines are actually my business!)

Mailing List

I actively manage my mailing list ensuring I am always adding new names – with permission of course.

Email Reminders

We are all busy so I send reminders about meetings.

Blog

Every month I write a piece for this blog – I always seem to have lots to say! (…and people often comment on it so I know they are reading it.)

Social Media

I have a Facebook Business Page for Coffee and Connect and a Twitter account both of which I update on a regular basis. So please do like me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CoffeeandConnect and follow me on Twitter @MelWardle.

Website

I often get calls from people who have found me on “Google” but I make sure I update my website regularly.

Postcards

I always have Coffee and Connect postcards with me to give out to people I mention Coffee and Connect to. If you would like some to pass on to other colleagues / business contacts please just ask.

Regular and Repetitive – Time and Patience

Above all however the key to successfully marketing Coffee and Connect is that I really do “practice what I preach” and I ensure that all these activities happen on a regular and repetitive basis (I have automatic reminders set up so I get emails telling me when to do things).

… and then it is down to time and patience… because with marketing the businesses that get the best results are the ones that have been doing it the longest – regular and repetitive works.

This entry was posted in Networking Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.