Do you love to attend conferences? Me too!
Not only do you learn new content, you get to network with like-minded people – some of whom could be your future clients or referral partners.
Before attending your next conference, think about how you can prepare for it from a marketing perspective. A successful conference can boost your visibility and marketing, especially if you accomplish these tasks before the conference:
#1: Identify what you hope to accomplish with the conference
Some people attend conferences because they want to learn from the speaker or panels. Others go just for the opportunities to network. And other people do it for a combination of reasons – to learn, grow and network. Determine your main objective for attending the conference. Going to a conference is an investment in time and money, so having a clear objective will help you make your conference attendance a success.
#2: Network before the conference
Many conferences host social media groups where attendees can network prior to the event. These groups could be on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google Plus. When you sign up for the conference, seek out this information, and make sure to join the group. Then, spend time in the group every day leading up to the conference. Get to know your fellow attendees, and you’ll have connections before you step into the conference facility.
#3: Dress for ‘comfortable’ success
If this is the first time you’ve attended a conference, it’s important to know one thing: You need to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Conferences often require an equal combination of sitting and walking (especially if there are break-out sessions). Throw in a too-hot or too-cold room, and you could have a fashion disaster if you are not prepared. Being comfortable doesn’t mean you can’t dress to impress, but this may not be the time for stiletto heels.
#4: Order your business cards
Your business card is a must for any conference. Consider ordering a set of business cards just for the conference. These cards could include a message such as “We met at XYZ conference.” That way, when people get home and look at your card months later, they’ll remember where they met you.
Another tip: Include your photo on your business card. People often remember faces before names.
#5: Know your elevator speech
The #1 question you will get at a conference is “Tell me what you do.” And when you get this question, you want to be prepared. Take time to write out your elevator speech and practice it before the conference. Make sure it sounds natural and inspiring. Your elevator speech should tell the listener the benefits of working with you and be free of industry jargon. At the end, ask if they would like to know more, and this could be an easy transition into exchanging business cards.
Heading to a conference can be exhilarating, rewarding and educational, and if you plan ahead, it can be great for marketing your business. Make sure you have your “ducks in a row” before the conference begins. When you have your business cards ready, elevator speech memorized, early connections made and the right appearance in order, you are well on your way to having a successful conference experience.