4 Ways to Prepare Your Business for The Rise of In-Person Networking

 

When someone talks to you about marketing, chances are your brain automatically starts thinking about the digital world, right?

 

Social media. Email. SEO.

 

And that only scratches the surface.

 

The reality, though? In-person networking is making a serious comeback, especially for businesses in the startup and B2B spaces. Consider the benefits of attending conferences on behalf of businesses looking for potential customers, partners and new hires alike:

 

  • In-person events give you a true pulse on industry happenings, all the while providing a place to form meaningful relationships in your space
  • Attending an in-person event instantly signals that you’re serious about your industry, showing your intent as a vendor, buyer or job-seeker
  • In fields flooded with competitors, in-person events are a prime opportunity to make your product or service seem more compelling

 

But you’ve been out of the in-person game or otherwise haven’t thought twice about your next conference, you might be panicking a bit.

 

Don’t sweat it. Instead, consider the four must-do’s to getting your feet wet with in-person networking and how to make the most of your conference presence.

 

Assemble Your Marketing Arsenal

There’s nothing worse than attending a conference without being well-equipped. From marketing materials to product demos to displays and beyond, there’s a lot that you could potentially bring to any given event but also a lot of potential money to waste on such items.

 

Of course, tools such as note-taking apps and your smartphone itself are a good starting point. Also make sure that you have a calling card handy, if nothing else. You can find some great Vistaprint coupons for new business cards if you need something to hand fellow attendees.

 

We recommend simply playing spectator to a few events to see what your essential marketing items are. What are other businesses doing to “wow” the crowd? Notice anything different between bigger businesses and smaller ones? Take note and see how you can adapt their best practices to your own business.

 

Supplement Your In-Person Networking via Digital

Just because you meet others in-person doesn’t mean that your networking should be confined there – not by a long shot.

 

Following up with attendees and industry players via email and social media is totally fair game. In fact, doing both is a prime way to cement yourself in the minds of people you want to form meaningful business relationships with.

 

Just make sure you review the do’s and don’ts of networking follow-up, such as following up in a timely manner and not just blindly blasting LinkedIn requests to people you met. Focus first and foremost on people you had actual conversations with and reference those conversations within your communication.

 

Choose Your Events Carefully

There are tons of networking events out there.

 

In fact, you can probably find a networking event via Meetup right now in your city.

 

Thing is, you can’t just blindly go to conference after conference. It’s important to find a balance of attending relevant events or those which are cost-effective.

 

For example, it might make sense to splurge on a conference where all the movers and shakers of your industry are. On the flip side, free events are no-brainers. Just remember that budgeting for a conference doesn’t have to break the bank.

 

Perfect Your Pitch

Conferences move quickly. As a result, it really pays to have everything from your elevator pitch to a kitchen table explanation of your business down to a “T.” Same rings true for common customer concerns and sales objections.

 

It’s never a bad idea to practice your talking points among your team. Doing so can build some much-needed confidence and help you feel more prepared on the day of any given event. While you shouldn’t memorize such points, having a sort of mental script can make you feel much more comfortable.

 

Although we often obsessed over the “next big thing” in digital marketing, the comeback of in-person networking is rather telling in and of itself. Instead of staying holed up, consider the power of putting yourself out there as a business and how it can ultimately benefit you in the long-run.

 

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