Your company’s most successful marketing tool might not be advertising, press releases or social media marketing. Attending and hosting events can be a great way gain exposure of your brand and increase sales.
The easiest way to interact face-to-face with other brands and potential customers is by attending networking events and conferences. Larger cities usually have industry organizations that list their events online. Many host weekly or monthly mixers or networking events, and these are a great place to learn and share.
Be prepared to ask questions at these events. People love talking about themselves and their brands, and a smart marketer knows that the way to a sale is by asking the right questions. At the end of the night, even if you didn’t talk much about yourself, others will remember you, simply because you seemed so interested in them.
Conferences are wonderful for establishing good business partnerships. Even if you don’t exhibit at one, by attending, you still get to meet key players in your industry, chat about their brands, and brainstorm on how to partner together. Invest in attending two to three industry conferences a year. If you’re into public speaking, even better. Speakers are known to get sales just by talking on what they know.
Host an Event
Even better than attending an event is hosting one. By putting your brand at the forefront of a successful event, you get mindshare of those who attended (and maybe even those who didn’t).
You can host a public event, inviting anyone interested to tour your facilities, or you can be more selective and choose bloggers, social media players and influencers in your industry who you hope will talk about their experience at your event.
Make sure your event is:
It’s not a live commercial for your product; it’s the opportunity to introduce new people to your brand or introduce those familiar with your brand to new products. It’s your chance to get feedback from customers on what you’re doing right, and what you could do better.
Plan your event well. Nothing will get a blogger’s attention faster than a poorly planned event. Set up a social network (Ning is free and easy to customize) or provide a hashtag so participants can connect on Twitter about the event. Provide plenty of information and resources so participants know exactly what they should expect at the event.
Analyzing the Event
Your event will have been in vain if you don’t bother to track results afterward. Give attendees surveys to help you plan the next event, and take copious notes if you’re opening the floor to suggestions and complaints. And then do something about them! Use customers’ ideas to make your brand stronger, and to show that you’re a company that cares.