We may tell others to never judge a book by its cover while also reminding them that first impressions matter. In this digital world, there are still plenty of offline ways to connect to others, grow your business, and become successful.
One of these ways is by attending business conferences. Business conferences offer businessmen and women, freelancers, and bloggers the chance to network, explore, make partnerships, meet new customers, and much much more.
If you have a conference penciled in on your schedule, go ahead and check out these tips for preparing and getting yourself ready.
Decide What You Want to Promote
Think of the last movie preview you watched that really drew you in. After watching the 90-second clip, you turn to your friends and say, “We gotta see that!”
Previews never tell the whole story, but aim to give you just a piece of what may lie ahead. They show the coolest scenes, the funny one-liners, and the best shots combined with glorious music and quick edits and cuts.
While your conference presentation may not inspire such inspiration as the latest Marvel movie trailer, you should still be thinking about the points you want to promote. Think about what makes you different and how you could work for others.
Tie in your expertise to the conference as a whole. If you’re a freelance social media manager, be sure and bring examples of past campaigns and how you could help out others in that regard.
Have Marketing Material
Hopefully, you’re going to be handing out plenty of literature about your work during the day. That could be fliers, business cards, brochures, or all of the above. Some people get quite creative with what they’re handing out.
Make sure all your contact information is on there as well as any relevant and important business information. You want to make things easy for people and answer any of their questions from the start.
As well as handing out information about yourself and your work, give them something else like a pen or tote bag to remember you by. Everyone loves some goodies!
Practice Your Pitch
Remember practicing for those high school speeches, standing in front of the mirror with notes in one hand and a stopwatch in the other? While you may not have to give a speech, you are going to have to come up with a great answer to the question “what is it exactly that y’all do”.
It doesn’t need to be fancy or cause people to clap their hands, but you want it to be short, sweet, and simple. Make it where they will remember your name, your business, and your basic activities.
Be An Active Participant
When you’re not hanging out at your booth, you should either be having a break to grab a bite to eat or mingling at various seminars or other events.
You’re not at this conference because the food table is great (well, maybe you are), but you’re there to network, learn, and interact with others. Offline marketing can be just as powerful as all of the online tools you have invested in.
Plan out which seminars or events you’re going to and think about how you can be active during these sessions. Not just meeting people, but asking questions or taking notes.
You might remember that your teachers used to warn you that not reviewing that day’s material meant you were likely to forget it. The same goes with connecting people. Even though you made a number of great contacts that day, you’re going to need to follow up with them.
Just like your initial pitch, it doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. You can send them an email, give them a quick call, or reach out to them via LinkedIn. You can invite them for a lunch out, plan to meet with them soon, or say you plan on seeing them at another event.
Either way, it helps to plant yourself in their mind so they remember you for the future.