By Matthew Pavli

In the increasingly digital world of business, where does a traditional marketing approach such as face-to-face networking fit in? There is no doubt that SEO, PPC and social media marketing are all here to stay, but with so much competition for attention online, should you be looking at ways to interact with customers on a more personal level?

Here are five reasons why face-to-face networking is far from past its sell-by date.

1. Create More Personal Customer Relations

Whether it’s at a trade fair or local networking group, visitors who engage with you on a face-to-face level are bound to feel a more personal attachment to you and your business. These customers are far more likely to stay with you long-term and are also more likely to pass on a positive impression of your business to others

2. Get the Inside Scoop

Don’t believe everything you hear online, the really juicy industry news often comes out in face-to-face exchanges. Developing relationships with people within your industry will enable you to hear about all the latest news and stay ahead of the competition on key business matters.

3. Put a Face to Your Brand

You have a fancy website, positive social media presence and maybe even an active advertising campaign, but how many people actually relate to your small business? As a small business, once people know who you are and associate your brand with you or your team, they are bound to think of your business first next time they need that service.

4. Make New Partnerships

Meeting local business people at events isn’t just a one-way selling process, they might also be useful suppliers or potential partners for your business. Many networking groups also actively encourage finding referrals for people within your group: so if you’re looking for an introduction to a local business person, a referral at a networking event may be the answer.

5. Get Feedback About Your Business

You may have a network of family and friends around you, but perhaps they are too polite to mention the things you are doing wrong with your business!

If a customer isn’t satisfied with your product or service, hearing their ideas first-hand can be invaluable. In addition to this, more experienced business people can also recognize the mistakes you may be making before you do!