How to Get More Out of Digital Marketing Conferences
If there’s one thing that the world of digital marketing certainly has enough of, it’s marketing events and conferences. Within the United States, there are about 150 significant marketing conferences every year. With so much going on, it’s hard to imagine when marketers could possibly have time to apply the important techniques they have learned through these conferences to the jobs that they do on a daily basis.
Although simply getting out of the office for a day might be enough of an incentive to get you onto your feet by itself, it can be difficult to distinguish between a conference that you go to just for a time out, and one that you can actually gain something from. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you get more out of your next digital marketing event.
- Plan Ahead
If you’ve already decided on which conferences or events you’re going to be attending this year, then take the time to look at the schedule weeks in advance. The chances are there will be a number of different sessions and speakers to see, to create an outline of the ones that are most relevant, and potentially beneficial to you.
In the chaos of the day itself, it can be all too easy to lose track of what you had wanted to get done, meaning that the entire conference ends up being something of a bust. Having an agenda of where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do throughout the event may help to keep you on track. Sometimes, bigger conferences even have a mobile app that you can download, which will remind you which sessions are taking place, and when.
- Create a list of must-meet attendees
Most of the time, the value of conferences makes itself known in the people that you meet. However, you’re only going to gain something from these interactions if you’re willing to make an effort and put yourself out there.
If you’re attending an event by yourself and don’t know anyone else that you can meet up with when you get there, try doing some social media outreach before the event with other people that are going. Twitter hashtags, for example, can be an amazing and simple way to find other people who are going to the event that you could potentially benefit from the meeting.
Of course, if you’re not going by yourself, it’s important that you don’t allow yourself to spend the entire conference within the comfort of your existing social circle. It’s great to catch up with friends from the same industry, but making the effort to get to know new people can put you in an amazing position when it comes to expanding your brand and improving your business for the future.
- Use Content to break the ice
During the weeks running up to the event, make sure that you are promoting and publishing content that is relevant to the sessions, discussions, and conversations that you expect to be relevant at the conference in question.
If you have made a list of people that you really want to meet on the day, try to send them some relevant content in advance to give them an idea of your background and break the ice for that initial meeting.
When you’re at the event, consider doing some live-blogging and promoting yourself, and the event through hashtags. This will function as a method of outlining your profile to other attendees while helping you to document important information for later.
- Meet and Greet
Depending on your social confidence, this can either be the easiest, or hardest part of any conference. With a bit of luck, if you have been active and engaged on social media in the weeks coming up to the event, you will have already identified yourself to the people that you want to talk to, and may, therefore, feel less uncomfortable about striking up a conversation.
Remember, when you are engaging with new, and potentially beneficial industry experts, make sure that you write down their information or grab business cards whenever possible. In the same strain, make sure that you also have enough of your own business cards to give out to others.
- Follow up After the Event
The days after an event should be spent following up with any important people you might have met during the conference. For example, send out some personalized emails letting people know that you enjoyed meeting them, and perhaps even drop a note about something that you spoke about on the day.
The truth is, not everyone you meet at a conference is going to end up being a valuable lead for the future of your business, but adding them to your social media platforms and LinkedIn network will at least add yet another person to your audience list when you start posting new content.