Don’t Waste Your Time on Networking Events

A networking event is not the opportunity for you to carry a sales pitch.

As much as we’re all in-touch digitally through the power of social media channels when Friendster and MySpace introduced a networking concept to us back in the early 90’s  to early 2000’s, we still can’t discount the fact that offline events are still a staple in connecting aspiring and successful professionals to grow your business.

There may be few who no longer see the use of attending such gathering or have already transcended from believing on networking events. Deliberating whether you should attend or not; my take will always be, GO.

 

Going to offline events and organizing a self-hosted networking event will give you the opportunity to connect with colleagues, like-minded individuals and potential clients. You might have fun too. Alongside to the fun, It gives you the privilege to step out of the four corners of your office. It’ll always be aa purposeful engagement.

As the saying goes: “fish where the fish are” and you’ll be able to pull in a help line on certain business proposals or collaborations when needed.

How would you make a networking event even more fruitful? Here are few strategies you might want to arrange:

Be the Host

Preparing your own event gives you the control over the attendees, the setting and how you’d like the engagement to turn out. You would want to contribute value and set objectives when you pull in people together.  Always put in consideration the fact that these engagement aims to develop relationships not just with prospective clients but also with those whom you’ve been or is working with.

With the objective in mind, choose an activity your existing clients will enjoy. It should be up to date and good reason for them to interact to one another regardless if they’re introvert or extrovert. Sharing the same passion will ignite the connection.

 

Indicate the program in the invitation, would there be any games? Something that would entice them to tag their friends along. Most professionals enjoys it when there are wine tastings and raffles to be given away.

 

Reunions

If it hasn’t occurred to your senses yet, the world revolves around the same circles. Eventually, one way or another, everyone are connected and can help on each other’s needs.  Organizing reunions allows you to reconnect with dormant ties – which are even more highly valuable than your current relationships. These people are the kind who loves success stories and would want to know how you’ve been since you bumped into each other. Alumni reunions are actually the best way to get-together, reconnect and inform them of what you’re now doing. Less awkward, more catching up.

 

The difference between hosting a professional event and reunions lies on the tactics on how you invite. Each professional event is more connecting to get to know people, deepen relationship with acquaintances and to purposeful business ties. However, with reunions, as you organize the engagement, you get to have quick calls to catch up and talk more on memorable past than sole professional interests.

Both strategies will allow you to deepen both existing and future relationships as you build new connections and broadening your reach. Always make these engagements fun and comfortable, this way, you’ll leave a lasting impression to be remembered by.

 

What urges you to attend networking events? Share your thoughts! 

 

 

Guarantee your conference is SOLD OUT!

Top secret tip: Invite Warren Buffet and Tony Fernandes. End of conversation.

Just kidding.

On a serious note, consider your conference as the product you’re selling (well, it is). Just like selling any merchandise, you’d need to ensure your conference is packed with value added learning keynote speakers and topics worth every registration currency. As much as your objectives are clear, you’d have to bank on reputation. You’re bringing like-minded individuals together. Ask yourselves the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ prior to blasting. Think on how your event will stand out in the crowd and how will you get to make people (and their companies sponsor) spend the money to attend.

Let me share to you few learnings that have helped drive our campaign towards SOLD OUT and (unfortunately) lead to declining further registrants; hopefully these will help promote yours, too!

Early Bird Rate

For being ahead of the game, give those registrants a heads-up and reward them for being first in line. When offering early bird rates, you’d always have to have it posted side-by-side the regular rate. Have group rates. If possible, give a significant amount of difference. Giving them a sense of urgency and realizing there’s a huge difference would encourage people to buy before the price increase.

Let them feel as if they won the lottery of discounts!

Industry Partners

Forge partnerships with your target industry partners. In every Industry, there are certain professional organizations who’s database are rich in resources and may be able to promote on your behalf. Give them an incentive, this way, they’ll be more encouraged to push your event and legitimately reach out to the qualified people you wouldn’t normally have access to on your behalf.

Social Media

You know your targets and we all do know every professional have their own LinkedIN account and have access to Facebook for personal networking. Take advantage of the fact you’ll be able to be in-control of your campaign and promote your event to relevant people in the industry you’d want to tap.

The visuals, however, should be compelling enough and has the information they need. Albeit it’s great to have drive to your website; your website should supplement your campaign and your social media visuals has the call-to-action.

Be consistent with weekly updates, constantly include the registration link on the caption and image for easy drive and share; and leverage on paid advertising to target people in the industry.

Need help on getting started? here is a guide on how to create Facebook Ads and a guide on how to execute a LinkedIn ad campaign.

Sponsors & Partners

Forging partnerships through sponsorships builds trust and credibility, the more sponsors you get to tap to join you, the more it’ll give your event a lasting and positive impression. Although, you will also have to consider who your targets are and relevance. In return, you may also give incentives to your sponsors. Allow them to offer your event either interim or their consumers. It’ll be a win-win situation, cross promote and support each other.

Website

These days, the one-pagers hits the spot. It’s direct and straight to the point. Your webpage is your store and you’d want the menu to be presented crisp and clear. Answer possible questions your registrants may ask and provide an easy contact page should there be further queries.

Have your drive to action towards registering. Make the REGISTRATION tab available for both sharing and easy registration. Don’t allow your registrant to loose sight of that tab.

Promote the Location

The truth is, everyone hates traffic and looking for parking. Give them the solution. Situate your event somewhere accessible and easy drive. Promote the location, not just your conference. You’ll need to tell your registrants that you’ve thought of their convenience.

Media Support

Not only does it help in promotion, it actually makes your conference legitimately something for everyone to consider and refer to as an event that needs to be attended. You’ll also need the added mileage for your sponsors.

Gamify your event

Sure, it may probably a formal engagement but giving a little fun won’t hurt. In fact, it can also make your attendees stay longer during the event for a grand raffle in stake! If they paid a hefty amount for the registration, a probably same cost or higher, would make them want to wish for them to win.

Handouts and Certificates

If it’ll be added to their credentials, the better.

Always have kits for every attendee – provide a pen or pencil, notepads, and handouts they can write on for their note taking. Your registrants are there to learn, you’ll need these for their ease and convenience.

Coverage

You should always have photographers and videographers to cover your event. You’ll need these for documentation for your partners and for your next event. Have a short on-site video summary for you to show as reference or you may also have the entire conference recorded for future sharing (you wouldn’t know right now but it’ll always come in handy).

 

VIP

Everyone is a VIP.  Think of your attendees ease from the registration process, welcoming to the after-event experience. It’s always important to leave a lasting impression which you can also bank on for the succeeding efforts.

These are only but few. What other ways can you think of to drive sales for your event?