Over the years my local work has dropped way off. Luckily for my continued mortgage payments, work outside the market has and continues to increase. My website placement on the web is a great part of this, as well as direct target marketing, social media, various “agents” around the world and the introduction of pay-to-play websites.
My face-to-face marketing efforts had pretty much dwindled down to monthly MCA-I meetings where I would have the word Voice Talent written under my name on my stick on name tag. That is usually the extent of my “sell” at these meetings – primarily because most of them think that they can’t afford me. I should probably try to change that impression somehow. Or maybe they are right. But I should open the conversation.
But after a rather disappointing 2009 economically, where my electronic marketing efforts were dramatically reduced due to an increase in personal time after moving my mom out to be closer to me, I decided to jump-start my local marketing efforts with some more face-to-face networking.
One week I attended 3 such events in a row – two on one night – and followed it up the next week with another. With good results (see the end of the post for details.)
Now, not all of these networking events were worth the parking and glass of wine costs.
The first was a huge party for IT geeks – their March Mingle (sdtechscene.org). It was free and the food was fabulous – new Italian restaurant on 30th Street in North Park (Il Postino). Met some nice people there. Still following up with some of them. Cost – $12 glass of wine. Free parking on the street.
The next night I attended an industry event held by a vendor. It was free, parking was discounted, the food was great, and I had a chance to spend some quality time with of the folks I see at those other meetings.
On a tip from one of those guys, I re-parked my car in a $10 lot near the Old Spaghetti Factory where I paid $15 for entry (plus the fee for having to get money out of an ATM) and another $10 or so for a glass of wine to rub shoulders with multi-level marketers (Nu-Skin, Send Out Cards, and some strange ***IRS alert*** travel website), anti-aging compounds distributors and get out of debt plans. I did meet some cool guys running a non-profit for performers (sdeag.org). But most of the people I met must have taken some sort of super networking course where they clasp your hand and look you in the eye and with all the sincerity they can muster ask you who your ideal customer is. Over all it was a huge disappointment. I didn’t need food, but if I had, it was sparse.
So I was not really keen on going the next week to what looked like a similar kind of networking event, but ultimately decided to go (Campbell Networks). It was held at a brand new night club downtown on 4th (FLUXX) and the crowd was diverse and successful. I connected with several people, a couple of them I knew already who then introduced me to people they knew – which is always good. Came home from that event energized – $7 for parking and $11 for a glass of wine.
The result of all this crazy face-to-face contact? One job contracted and completed, another inquiry fielded, and several referrals (both directions). Additionally, I connected with potential support services for my mom. I also won a two-night stay at a beach side hotel in a business card drawing sponsored by “It’s all about the Kids!”
I’ll keep looking for the right face-to-face networking opportunities. But I promise I won’t clasp your hand and stare into your eyes asking who your ideal customer might be.