Marketing agencies are often hesitant to join a business networking group, even though it seems like the perfect opportunity for growth. And while there are some benefits to joining a network, you need to weigh them against the potential risks of wasting time and money.
There are many reasons why networking might not be the best option for a marketing agency.
First, most networking groups are focused on finding clients or employees, which may not be relevant to your business.
Second, you may not have the time to attend all of the meetings or events
Third, you may not be able to generate leads from the group.
Finally, networking can be expensive, and it’s not always clear what you’re getting in return.
On the other hand, networking does have some benefits.
First, it’s a great way to build relationships with potential clients or partners.
Second, it can help you learn about new trends and technologies.
Third, it can give you access to resources and expertise.
Fourth, it can help you expand your reach.
Ultimately, whether or not to join a networking group depends on your business goals and the networking group’s focus. If the group is relevant to your business and you have the time to attend meetings, it may be worth your while.
So let’s unpack this, but first, we’ll explain why BlakSheep Creative doesn’t focus on business networking.
Why we’re not in business networking groups.
Business networking is marketed as a great way to grow your business, but for us, it’s not worth the cost or time.
If our average web developer or SEO’s rate is $100/hr, then it would be $100 * 6 hours = $600 to attend an event. If our average project is $4000+, that’s not something we want to spend for one potential lead.
So should marketing agencies join business networking groups?
We don’t think so.
Someone who runs a marketing agency may think joining a business networking group is an obvious choice. After all, you’d expect these groups would be full of potential clients or employees. But in our experience, this isn’t always the case.
Networking groups are often focused on finding leads, and while this may be relevant to some businesses, it’s not always a good match for marketing agencies. In addition, marketing agencies often don’t have the time to attend all of the meetings or events, which can be a waste of time and money.
Plus, if you’re a marketing agency, isn’t it an oxymoron to join a group that’s focused on finding business?
Shouldn’t your agency generate leads for other companies, not the other way around?
How is this effective at all?
What does that say about your agency if you’re only relying on business networking groups for leads instead of having a diversified lead generation strategy?
If you ask me, it’s not a good sign.
But that doesn’t mean marketing agencies should give up on networking altogether.
There are still some benefits to joining a group, such as building relationships with potential clients or partners, learning about new trends and technologies, and expanding your reach.
But the decision of whether or not to join a business networking group depends on your business goals and the group’s focus.
If you’re not looking for leads or interested in networking with businesses, then it likely won’t be worth your time or money.
Of course, there are many factors to consider before joining a business networking group.
First, let’s discuss some problems with business networking.
What are some problems with joining a networking group?
Here are some main problems with joining a group:
Most networking groups are focused on finding clients or employees, which may not be relevant to your business.
For example, if you’re a marketing agency specializing in video production, you might not find much value in joining a group of dentists.
Many networking events require a lot of time to attend. You may need to participate in several meetings or events each month, which can be challenging to fit into your schedule.
Some groups go so far as to require that you attend. And if you can’t, to provide a stand-in for you.
That seems rather demanding, and it’s not always easy to find someone who can do that for you, especially if you’re busy.
Control over leads
Networking groups are often focused on generating leads, which means you don’t always have control over the quality of your leads.
Some events may be more successful than others, and some meetings may not lead to anything at all. Keeping track of this activity can also be time-consuming and frustrating.
Joining a networking group can be expensive. Most groups charge dues, and then there are the costs of attending events. This can add up quickly, especially if you’re not seeing a lot of return on your investment.
Most people have a very naive and incorrect idea of what networking is and how it operates.
Effective salespeople are measured not by how many cards they have in their wallets but rather by the number of connections made and maintained.
Not contrived or “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” relationships, but genuine connections that grow naturally.
Often, networking groups are so focused on getting you out there, making your business known, and “networking” that they neglect the human element – the connection. A good relationship is built upon trust and creating a meaningful bond between two people.
Most individuals do not utilize networking meetings to their full potential.
I’ve had my fair share of networking meetings, and some of them have been quite disappointing.
One time I met with a guy who had a terrible sales pitch, and he tried to sell me on something that wasn’t related to anything I needed. To top it off, he followed up with me days after the meeting to continue his sales pitch.
I had another one where I was very excited because it looked like they would be an excellent company for me to connect with. They did not show up, and I still haven’t heard from them. Why did they RSVP and then not show?
There are some benefits to business networking and making connections, but is it worth the investment when you could just find people on your own and skip the meetings?
Business networking meetings seem like they will be an excellent opportunity to meet with potential clients and make new relationships. However, things like sales pitches and showing up late or not at all leave people turned off and not interested in making connections.
Some people go about it all wrong.
At one business networking group, I met a marketing agency owner who wanted me to recommend her to BlakSheep Creative’s clients who needed help with their branding.
I’m always interested in talking with people about their businesses, so I agreed to meet for coffee.
(Bear in mind that I didn’t know her well.)
I prefer to work with people that I know, that I like, and that I trust.
She may be the nicest person in the world, but I’m not about to risk BlakSheep’s reputation by recommending her to one of our clients without getting to know her better.
Plus, she failed to realize that we do branding also.
Related Reading: The Importance of Branding
Networking meetings are like job interviews. You wouldn’t go into a job interview without doing some research on the company and the people you would be meeting with, would you?
The same goes for networking meetings. If you want to get the most out of them, you need to do your research and come prepared.
Now, let’s discuss some of the benefits of joining a networking group.
What are the benefits of joining a networking group?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some benefits to joining a networking group (if you’re willing to put in the time and effort). Here are some benefits that you might expect:
Networking can be a great way to build relationships with potential partners, clients, or employees.
But only if they’re nurtured and developed over time. Simply attending a few events will not be enough to make these connections.
Networking can be a great way to learn about new trends and technologies. Groups often have experts who are willing to share their knowledge with others in the group.
Networking groups often have access to resources that can be useful for your business. You might meet other members in the same line of work, and they may be able to refer their clients or partners to you (although this is highly unlikely.)
Networking can help you expand your reach within a community or industry. The more people know about your business, the more opportunities you’ll have to build relationships with potential clients or partners.
So, should you join a networking group?
The answer to this question depends on your business goals and the focus of the networking group. If they’re relevant to your business and you have the time to attend meetings, then it might be worth your while.
However, if you’re not finding enough value in these groups or putting in too much time and effort for minimal return, then there’s little reason to continue.
Networking is meant to build relationships with professionals who may be able to help your business, not to be a waste of time. If it’s not benefiting you, then it’s probably not worth your while.
Instead, of joining a business networking group, consider joining your local chamber of commerce. They tend to be more community-focused, which is a plus in today’s me-first business mindset.
In fact, just by joining your local chamber of commerce, you could receive leads and referrals from local businesses and professionals through the chamber.
We find that “chamber leads,” tend to be more reliable, more committed to working with us from the get-go. Plus, they tend to have a higher budget and are more focused on the importance of marketing.
Networking is one of the best ways to grow your marketing agency, but it’s not always worth the investment. Only join a networking group if the time commitment and relevancy are worth your while.
But for us, right now, it’s going to be a hard pass.
What do you all think? Are there any benefits to joining a networking group that I’ve missed?
Do you think it is worth the investment, or should agencies avoid it?
What are your thoughts on a marketing agency participating in a business networking group?
Please, share your opinion in the comments below, and thanks for reading!