NETWORKING: HOW TO LEAVE A LASTING IMPRESSION

by helen on July 20, 2011

A guest blog by Peter Biggins @Leedsprinter, Owner www.targetprint.co.uk

I have been following Helen’s 20 Day Challenge and comments I made on my networking experience prompted an invitation to add a few words on the use of printed matter in relation to networking.

Business Cards

There are 2 sizes of business cards you will come across, the standard size we use in Britain 85×55 and the American size which is thinner at 89×51 which the cheap card printers use and which I personally don’t like. However I am a professional and most people probably don’t notice.

Your card will be the first and possibly the only piece of printed matter your contact will take away, so you should feel confident in offering it. I do sometimes get offered a card with an apology, which is not a great start. Having said that I don’t advise too much ostentation such as foil blocking, embossing and forme cutting into fancy shapes. It creates unnecessary expense and can actually end up looking cheap. Of course this is a sweeping generalisation but the biggest businesses often have the simplest cards, so a clean design on a decent weight stock should fit the bill.

Flyers

Every type of business, from multi-nationals to corner shops use flyers. Supermarket chains, airlines, the NHS, nightclubs all buy shed-loads of flyers and they keep on doing it, so I assume they work. They do for me, certainly.

I never go to a networking event without some and I liberally sprinkle them around the room and so should you. The organisers don’t mind, they want their event to be a success. People look at flyers and sometimes carry one away, that way you can make sure that anyone you don’t have chance to meet gets to know about your services.

And it is a great feeling when you see someone with one of your leaflets in their hand. That probably means they are in the market for your services or know someone who is. That may even offer an opening to go over to them and comment on the leaflet.

It is difficult to be remembered a couple of weeks following a meeting, so it is all to the good if a contact can take away something tangible. It is worth remembering that your flyer and a conversation is the first and possibly the only exposure they will have to you. Flyers will almost certainly be the cheapest form of advertising you will find.

I am always amazed by how little printed material I see at network meetings. Even printers rarely use them, which I see as an open goal.

People happily pay £10 to get in plus parking and time off work but fail to make full use of the opportunity for the sake of a few pence per meeting. The flyers I print for nightclubs cost 2p each. You might distribute 25 or so at a meeting. That’s 50p a pop.

Helen asked me what sort of leaflet works best at network meetings. Well, I am no expert, that’s Helen’s field, but from a print point of view the world is your oyster nowadays. Excellent quality full colour print is as cheap as single colour used to be and images are easily available from your computer or photographer.

@ade_mcfade

@ade_mcfade

Personally I deliberately eschew fancy design as I major on price at network meetings (I have a different set of brochures for events and ad agencies) but if you can carry a memorable picture (Helen: fantastic shot by Adrian McFade!) plus logos and testimonials of companies you work for all to the good. A decent quality design printed on a decent stock will enable you to punch way above your weight.

By the way something printed at home and offered with an apology will be counter–productive.

You message should be simple. A primary purpose of your flyer is to drive prospects to your website where you can really lay out your wares. This might be an opportunity for a professional copywriter such as Helen to sum up your business in a few words. If it’s done right it’ll pay off handsomely.

I don’t claim flyers are a golden bullet, but if you don’t use printed material in your marketing mix you are almost certainly missing a trick. Of course you will be left with a lot more flyers than you need and you will find yourself wondering what to do with them. That’s the subject of a completely different post!

P.S. Thanks for a great post @Leedsprinter – and in terms of what works best, try Leafleting – 8 ways to make it work by Oma Edoja.

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