Fact: There is nothing that influences potential clients and business partners as much as you. That’s why events should be an integral part of any marketing strategy.

Participation in events and conferences provides a unique level of in-person interaction, which is an extremely effective way to connect with others and communicate your value and even your company culture. If you are not currently making the effort to participate in relevant events, then you are missing out on a massive opportunity to spread awareness of your company, position yourself and your company as a resource, and meet new people.

But before you dip your toe into event marketing, make sure that you’re doing it right.

Define Your Goal

First, you need to decide what you want to get out of attending events. Are you looking to land new clients? Do you want to gain influence as a thought leader? Or, are you simply looking to network with people in your field? There are many potential options, but being aware of your goal is essential to make your effort a success.

Define Your Audience and Choose an Event Type

Consider what type of audience you need to interact with to accomplish your goal. All events cater to a uniquely segmented demographic, so it’s important to do your research and prioritize a type of event (e.g. industry, professional association, geographic, or interest-specific) by its audience.

For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to attend an informal meetup that doesn’t have a planned agenda if your goal is to establish yourself as a thought leader in a particular industry. A better option would an industry-specific conference where you have a speaking role.

Choose Your Level of Participation

When you know what your goal is and who you need to interact with, you then need to decide what level of participation is necessary to accomplish that goal. Here are the four most common options:

  1. The most influential option is to host your own event. If you have a large database of contacts that would be interested in the subject matter, then go for it. This immediately brands you as a leader in your industry and makes you the primary focus of the event. Consider options for in-person events (e.g. a client appreciation event) and online events (e.g. a webinar).
  2. The next option, and the one we advocate for the most, is to speak at an event. You can participate in a panel, facilitate a session as a moderator, or secure a speaking slot. While you won’t be the focal point of the day, you will still be able to speak from a position of authority on a subject you know about. This will put you and your business at the forefront of an issue that your desired audience is interested in.
  3. You can also sponsor an event. Sponsorships provide a secondary marketing channel through the event organizers’ marketing efforts and prominently display your business as a supporter of the event. Sometimes, sponsorship includes a booth. Depending on the event itself, this can be a valuable opportunity.
  4. The last option is to simply attend an event. This option allows you to take advantage of networking opportunities without having to deal with preparing a speech or spending considerable money on a sponsorship.

Get Out and Market Yourself

Speaking to your potential clients through digital channels has become and will continue to be necessary. It’s something we help our clients with every day. However, don’t let the importance of online marketing make you forget the importance of in-person interaction. Getting in front of people and marketing your real, live self is irreplaceable.

We often help our clients target the events that best meet their needs. If you are looking to improve your marketing strategy give us a call.

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