As a marketer, you may think you don’t need to go to conferences because you have already established your brand and strategy and it works for you.
But, not only do conferences serve as a time to get out of the office but they can be extremely informative. It can take your already existing strategy to the next level! A lot of the benefits that come from attending events can be boiled down into 3 categories: ROI, ideas and feedback, and professional growth.
ROI (Return On Investment)
ROI is one the biggest reasons why marketing professionals struggle with attending a conference and justifying it is the ROI. Conference prices range from $200 – $2,000 and spending those marketing dollars can be hard without showing some kind of return.
By connecting with speakers, other attendees, and vendors you are growing your brand’s presence within the industry which can lead to a sale. Take this time to perfect your elevator pitch. Your 30-second pitch about your brand and your goals should be short, sweet, and straight to the point. This is the chance for you to plug your brand endlessly and without any shame. Trust me, everyone will be doing it! Pitching your brand to conference attendees is common practice—it’s expected—so brag about your brand. You never know who will take notice.
Being at a conference, especially one that is a niche for you, connects you with like-minded people that are all there to do the same thing, learn and meet people within the industry. You are also exposed to networking with speakers, which are usually some pretty big names in the industry and can be used to ask those burning questions! Speakers want to talk to the audience after their sessions—don’t be afraid to approach them and ask your questions one-on-one. They are there for the same reasons that you are.
Attending a conference and networking at breaks is the easiest way to build up your network and create a group of people that you can lean on.
Networking is also good for business and marketing professionals as a whole, because we all know the world that we live in works on who you know. You might be able to meet a new donor, a new client, or even a mentor who can help your company grow at an exponential rate!
Donors and mentors are usually at the conference for that very reason—to find the brand that they want to personally invest their time or money in. You might be surprised at how many people will tell you that they attended a conference and walked out with a huge opportunity and didn’t even know it.
Ideas and Feedback
Are you trying something new in your brand marketing and you aren’t quite sure how it is going to turn out? What better way to get direct feedback than by attending a conference and asking questions of your fellow attendees. They might be able to give you better feedback and quicker than your audience would.
Your brand may be popular in your local area, but chances are not everyone in the world knows (or even) cares about your brand. If this sounds like the position you are in at present, attending a conference is a great way to get ideas and feedback from others who may have a solution to the marketing problem you are facing.
Not only are you introducing your brand to a future fan, client, investor, or customer through networking, but you are also getting the much-needed advice in terms of ideas, work, manpower, money, and effort to take your brand to that next level!
For example, say you are having trouble with choosing the right hashtag for your brand and you are hitting a creative block. Someone at the conference is going to have a great idea or a successful strategy that they can share with you. By attending the conference, you will be able to connect with someone and get some insider tips and knowledge. Also, once the conference is over, you will have a person who is emotionally invested in your brand.
Attending a conference
So, if you plan to attend a conference and build your networking and your brand, such as attending #SMSsummit in Chicago, make sure you keep these tips in mind.
- Have your business cards and your elevator pitch ready.
- Think about the challenges you are facing and have specific questions ready to ask speakers and other attendees.
- Interact outside of the conference at the special events, such as nightlife and entertainment.
- Don’t be afraid to network and talk with people.
Now that you are ready to attend a conference and have those tips in mind. Networking can be tough – especially if you attend conferences alone. Check out our last blog post on the 9 expert tips to make the most out of your conference networking.
If you have some great reasons why you attend conferences share with us below! We would love to hear about them. Make sure you join us at Social Media Strategies Summit, Chicago (April 24-26th). Stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest in the social media marketing industry and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.