I recently attended one of the most awesome events ever! Social Media Week Lima, hosted by the fabulous Jessika Philips of Now Marketing Group. So much phenomenal content my brain is still on overload.
I’m taking care of a few last-minute housekeeping items today as I prepare to head to Lima, Ohio in a couple of hours, to attend a social media conference. I’m so excited to learn some new tricks for me and my clients, as well as make some great new connections.
Marketing … how do I love (or hate) thee? Let me count the ways.
In the early days of my business, when I was office-based and worked only with local clients, I did a good bit of in-person networking.
I was an active member of our county’s Chamber of Commerce and volunteered for our much smaller local Chamber. I also belonged to a local networking group, and volunteered my services to a local Chorale group.
Next week I’ll be traveling to Phoenix for a conference (The Unstoppable Confidence Networking Conference to be precise!). Not simply to attend the conference, but as an event sponsor.
As I make my travel arrangements, I’m getting more and more excited about attending this event. I mean, at the very least, the conference name alone should tell me I’m going to come away from the event with at least one or two great contacts! Not to mention heaps of information and loads of insights that go along with attending live events.
As you read this post, I am in sunny Orlando for one of my favorite live events of the year: the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) Live Summit!
I love attending the IVAA Summit because I get to do all kinds of networking, make new connections, get the up-to-date info and skinny about my industry and tools of the trade. But I also love it because I get to reconnect with colleagues and friends I’ve made over the years. Colleagues and friends I only see at this yearly event for the Virtual Assistant industry.
Speakers – you know how important it is to attend and exhibit at live events. Trade shows, conferences, and other similar events provide you with the perfect opportunity to get your message out in front of your targeted audience. And more importantly, these events are your chance to show others the real you and the person behind the brand. These events can definitely make a significant difference in your business success, so you want to take the steps necessary to get the most out of them.
Here are tips for mastering your tradeshows, exhibits, and other live events:
Create a terrific booth – What sells you before you even say a word? Of course, it’s your booth. It’s the curb appeal, so to speak. Those walking by are drawn to those booths that are visually appealing and not too busy. They are walking, walking, walking and when they see something of interest, they stop and explore. That’s why you need to make sure your booth represents you well and is enticing to the passersby. Think fun colors that not only represent your brand, but allow the uniqueness of you to shine through. However, while you do want people to get a sense of who you are at first glance, you also need to consider the audience of the event and what will speak to them. By knowing your audience and then designing your booth with them in mind, you can ensure it conveys the right image that will appeal to them the most.
Talk to others you don’t normally talk to – So often at these events, you see two or three people behind the booth and they are chatting away, catching up on the latest gossip, and just not paying attention to the potential prospects passing by. Yes, we know working a booth with someone else can give you the opportunity to catch up with your friends, but remember you are there on a mission – a mission to network with others. What frequently happens is that attendees walking by won’t stop at booths where the people manning the booth are too engaged in their own conversations to really notice them. Many feel they don’t want to break into the conversation. So when working your booth, make sure you are actually working it and connecting with those who stop by, as well as those who simply glance your way as they walk by.
Prepare take-a-ways – With so much happening at these events, it is often difficult for your visitors to concentrate on all you are saying and offering. That’s why it’s so important to have take-home materials that rock. Include your branding or something that will spark a memory of seeing you there. Visuals are really important because they work so well. At some of these events, visitors could be seeing hundreds if not thousands of exhibits. What will make yours stand out and say, “Hey remember me? I’m the one who can help you master your online business.”
Plan ways to retrieve their information – It would be great if everyone who stops by and shows interest goes home immediately, looks you up and connects with you pronto. However, that is not always how it happens. That’s why you want to take steps to get their information. This can be done in a number of ways. You can have a sign-up sheet and ask for emails. You can have a bowl that collects business cards. You can even directly ask for it and get their business cards, so you can personally contact them. The way you do it isn’t important. It’s just important to do it.
Enjoy– Don’t get so caught up in the event and what you need to do, that you looked stressed and miserable. Those who pass your booth really pick up on that. Think about it; would you want to visit a booth where the person looks like they are having a bad day? It is doubtful. So relax and have a good time. Also, try and be focused on only the event. Clear your mind of all the work and tasks that need to be handled for your business back at home, in the capable hands of your online support specialist or someone else who can take over for you while you’re away. You can’t be at your best during the event if you are up all night just trying to catch up on all the business happenings at home.
These tips should help you have a great event. And remember, you don’t need to do it alone. An online support specialist can help every step of the way…from planning the event and preparing the marketing materials to even being at the event with you to ensure it runs smoothly. They take the stress away so you can sit back and do what you do best – represent your brand.
Terry L. Green, President of BizEase Support Solutions, and her team of qualified online support specialists, provide seamless online marketing implementation, technology and administrative support solutions to speakers and business coaches worldwide. Visit http://www.bizeasesupport.com to find out how partnering with BizEase can help you grow your business, have more time, and make more money.
by Michele PW
If you’re going to spend the money to go to events, this is the Number One thing you MUST do or you’re just throwing money out the window. Actually it’s three things. Ready?
Okay, you’re right, it’s only one thing. But it’s so important I wanted to repeat it.
Look, if you’re one of these people who go to events, gets a stack of business cards, comes home and piles it on your desk with all the other business cards you’ve accumulated over the years, you are leaving a TON of money on the table. (Or in this case, on your desk.)
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve gotten from events who told me the biggest reason they hired me over some other copywriter or marketing strategist was simply because I followed up with them. And some other copywriter or marketing strategist they had met at an event and had a good connection with, never got considered because they didn’t follow up. [Read more…]