So you’ve decided to go to an event (attending the event can be an event itself, so congratulations). Now, you want to make sure you get the maximum benefit out of the event: Load up your business cards, top up your coffee, and we’ll take you on a quick ten tip trip on how to get what you want from a digital marketing event.
#1 Do Your Research
Arrive prepared. Research the event you are looking to attend; who is running the event and have they run an event before? Is it easy to get to? Who are the speakers and what are they talking about? If they are on LinkedIn it can be interesting to see how has their career progressed and what makes them an expert. The most important question you need to ask is ‘how will this benefit me?’
Not only does answering these questions mean you are prepared for the action on the day, you should also have enough information to convince your boss that you should get a day out of the office!
#2 Get There Early Doors
It’s said that people who are late are more creative and successful, but there’s a good reason to arrive early (and leave late) at a digital marketing event.
Get your bearings, know where you’re going and don’t stumble into a talk halfway through looking like you’ve just been to a spin class.
Grab yourself a coffee, take the time to enjoy it and read through any research you’ve done. Make sure to get a decent seat and set up base camp (by hanging your coat off the back, you rightfully claim this area as yours for the entire event – fact) and make sure you pick a place that you can see the screen.
Arriving early also gives you time to network and find an event buddy (especially if you are there on your own). Leaving later can also give you the opportunity to chat in a more relaxed environment. Gauge the atmosphere though, no-one wants to be the last hanger on.
#3 Make Sure You’re Fully Charged
Is your phone battery full? Your phone is one of the best tools to bring to an industry event. Google Maps are the saviour in a poorly signposted town or city. You will also need to show the organisers your confirmation email. Take pictures to capture your day, share and engage on social media, exchange phone numbers and save enough juice to add people on Linkedin on the journey home.
#4 Make a Note To Take Notes
Some events don’t provide note pads or pens, so make sure to bring your own. There is always lots of free information at these events, speakers to follow, tools to use and websites to check out. It might be worth writing a little note about how some of these ideas could be implemented within your business (proving the worth of the event to your boss).
Speaking from personal experience, make your notes legible as possible as returning to them a couple days later may not make a lot of sense to you! Some talks have downloadable slides – take note of the speaker as you can always see if you can contact them for the slides afterwards (and commend them on an excellent presentation!).
#5 Grab The Swag
Information is a valuable resource, but some events will have other fun stuff to get your hands on; free notepads, pens, stress balls, bags (handy to put business cards in). Free food and drink are always a bonus as eating areas are a great place to spark a conversation with a fellow event attendee.
The event itself! Is it a free event? This makes the sell to your boss even easier (or yourself) as they don’t have to fork out for a ticket.
#6 Work The Room
Another advantage of attending an event is that they tend to have networking afterwards which is a great opportunity to meet and greet new people and expand your business network. So make sure you bring your game face and your business cards.
Top tip for getting business cards is to make a note of something memorable about the individual on the card – it can help you recall faces and facts!
#7 Get Those Niggling Questions Answered (and look interested!)
Whether you have a specific question, a general area of interest for your business or would like to discuss something further, this is the time to do it. If you are going for a certain speaker or a talk you’re interested in, then think of some questions you would like to ask BEFORE the event.
Some talks have a Q&A panel which can be really beneficial as you aren’t just getting one answer but you could also spark an interesting debate. Plus, you look like you are actually interested in your specialism!
#8 Be Socially Acceptable
Make sure you are social media ready; your profile should be up to date and relevant. Engage on social media on the day; a lot of events will have a hashtag, use it to display your creativity with tweets, pictures and posts. It’s another great way to get people’s attention.
#9 Make Your Mark
Are you dressed for the occasion? Are you there for yourself or are you representing your business; consider how your attire reflects your brand. Make a good first impression with people, be confident and get involved. If an event has a free bar then feel free to take advantage, but don’t overdo it!
#10 Make a Day Of It
Remember to have fun! Some people take it very seriously and give themselves a hard time if they don’t give out a certain number of business cards or speak to certain people. Think of it as a day out of the office; it’s nice to have a plan of action but sometimes it’s nice to be spontaneous and go with the flow.