To quote entrepreneur and author Porter Gale, “Your Network is your Net Worth.” The beauty of networking with other business owners is you always “know a guy.” The trick is to do with that knowledge in a way that will make you money and still be ethical.
Why Should You Monetize Your Network of Business Owners
Building a network is a personal matter. It requires you to define yourself and with whom you want to associate. The main reason to build a network in the first place is to connect with people of similar interests and backgrounds who are also diverse in their skills. Staying on top of industry trends and looking for mentors, partners, and clients is what networking is all about.
We make connections and referrals all the time. Think of a time when you needed something, like a service or a product, and a friend made a referral. That friend helped connect you with another friend who had exactly what you needed. That person is now a part of your network.
You happily connect that friend to the person who met the need. Maybe that business owner gave you something in exchange for the referral, like a $25 gift card to your favorite restaurant. You got paid by a business owner in your network.
It can be that simple. But you are looking for a bigger payday. Right? All it takes is being intentional and learning how to monetize your network of business owners.
Benefits of Monetizing Your Network of Business Owners
Monetizing your network correctly has enormous benefits for you and your group members. Yes, selling yourself to others can feel awkward, even downright cheesy. However, if you go in with the intent to build mutually valuable relationships with each associate, it can take your career and business to greater heights.
Need proof? Here are just a few advantages of network monetization if done with integrity:
- Gain more knowledge and skills
- Build confidence
- Gain different perspectives
- Get an answer to any question
- Build lasting professional and personal relationships
- Advance your profile and career
- Help other people to do the same
Still not convinced? Check out our article on Why Establishing a Network of Peers is Important.
Approaches for How To Monetize Your Network of Business Owners
Monetizing business networks is not a new idea. If you are a member of a professional organization that requires periodic dues, you are a member of a monetized network. Typically with membership, you will have your name or business name on a list shared with other paying network members.
Individual businesses can do that same thing. Here are a few ideas to get you started on how to monetize relationships.
Now that you have developed a community with similar interests, it’s time to work out how to monetize your network of business owners on Facebook or other social media platforms.
Create an advertising campaign marketed directly to them via social media, direct messaging, or banner ads.
Premium Subscriptions, Content, or Memberships
Offer a tiered website or social media group with free content and fee-based options. You will attract more potential customers and clients by offering quality free information, content, and ways to interact with others as a part of the community.
Once they see the worth you are offering for free, with sneak peeks into what premium memberships provide, you could entice them to access additional value insider content, white papers, and case studies for a fee.
It is essential to make sure that both the free and fee sides of your networking group are current and seen as valuable. By staying current with the needs of your members and potential members, you will keep your business and network relevant.
Job Boards or Recruiting Efforts
Networks that cater to specific industries can invite companies and job recruiters to post jobs on your network’s website or social media group. For example, human resource officers and hiring managers have used networking groups to seek out qualified prospects for their firms.
By networking within specific professions, your network will have a distinct advantage over general groups. Allowing companies and job recruiters to post jobs or link to open positions attracts traffic to your group. Negotiate with the companies or recruiters for either a per-ad or retainer fee.
Cross-Sell to Other Networks
Another way to expand your premium site or group is to reach out to other similar networks. Cross-selling between networks benefits both groups and develops a virtual marketplace. In addition, it means more meaningful relationships.
Third-Party Transaction Fees
As your group grows, outside merchants will want to market their goods and services directly to your group. You can negotiate an upfront fee or fee per transaction to facilitate marketing and selling those products to your members. Many buyers and sellers find this type of niche marketing very appealing.
Connecting Businesses Together: Case Studies Of 2022
Social media may be where you start your networking, but don’t let it be your only option. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other popular platforms have constraints that make it challenging to figure out how to get paid as a connector and maximize your monetization potential.
On the other hand, websites alone are not the way to go either. People seek interaction with others, preferably on platforms they already use.
Combining the power of popular social media platforms, websites with free and premium membership options and transaction services like Paypal and Venmo make monetization much more accessible.
Although virtual events and groups have become more popular, people seek in-person opportunities. We crave it! We want to go places and meet people even more than before.
Coordinating virtual, hybrid, or in-person events with registration services like Eventbrite, marketing the event on your social media accounts, and linking everything back to your membership portal landing page makes growing and monetizing your network a reality.
The internet may favor larger companies when it comes to monetizing through traditional advertising. However, small businesses and individual professionals do much better through network monetization, relationship building, and maintenance.
Case studies such as Wharton Magazine show strategies and pitfalls that can assist you in monetizing your network. The 2022 outlook favors those who genuinely connect businesses and people.