Digital marketers nationwide are creating their mental checklists as they gear up for the 2016 Email Evolution Conference in New Orleans. Business cards? Check. Pens, travel necessities and travel accommodations confirmed? Check. But what about that other checklist we sometimes forget to prepare? The one that’s oh-so-crucial to the success of all of the networking, learning, dining (you know you look forward to the food and drink) and event experiences we’ll have? Which checklist is that you ask?
The event checklist. The guide-rails you should be putting into place prior to attending a conference that will help you truly maximize the overall effectiveness and success that you, as a marketer, are hoping to achieve.
So with that, I give you the top 5 things you’ll want to consider before heading to EEC, or any event for that matter:
Define your purpose
Why are you going? What are you hoping to gain? Do you have measurable and quantifiable goals in place? What do you want to learn and how will that help you grow professionally? Defining and documenting the outcomes of the conference will allow you to walk in with a purpose, experience it with a mission, and, ultimately, allow you walk away with a greater understanding of all things email marketing.
Know before you go
Do your research. Plan which sessions you want to attend and prioritize which speakers you want to see. Familiarize yourself with the venue – locate the nearest business center, find coffee shops with free wifi and locate cafes you can grab a quick bite to eat in. Follow the weather (New Orleans is currently projecting warm thunderstorms during EEC so be sure to bring your umbrella) and pack clothes that you can easily wear in layers. Schedule yourself to attend all of the networking opportunities and always download the event app whenever possible (the EEC event mobile app is a great way to network and stay up to date on all event related info). The success of anything is 90% preparation and 10% action so set yourself up for event success!
Join in on the conversation
If you’re a digital marketer you most likely have a special spot in your heart for hashtags (#emailgeeksunite!) – so take advantage of them prior to an event. Follow #EEC16 to see what the community is talking about and take part: what to pack, travel photos leading up to the event, onsite shares of the booth with the best swag, what time the party is kicking off (did you see the EEC reception is being held at a bowling alley? Yes please!), etc. We have a plethora of people, information and conversations at our fingertips so take advantage.
You can also use the event hashtag + event apps to see who else is attending so you can network and identify top influencers to accidentally ‘bump’ into (‘I didn’t know you’d be attending this event’). Conference attendees may also start their own LinkedIn groups to connect and network – this will help you get to know faces and even kickoff conversations prior to the event even starting. There is no easier way to insert yourself and your brand into the convo than by using a hashtag, post, update, tweet, share or mention. So get on out there and socialize.
Dress to impress
You know the old saying – dress for the job you want to have, not the one you necessarily already have. And it’s even truer at events. While yes digital marketing conferences are known for being a bit more casual and fun than other types of events – you still want to look good and feel good good so you make a killer first impression with any partner, vendor, customer or another attendee you’re standing next to. Events equal long hours so think comfort (ladies, flats or wedges recommended) but classy.
Take it all in (and write it all down)
We all know the post-event slump – you get back from an event, you’re swamped, you’re behind at work, you have umpteen hundred leads to follow up on (the list goes on) – and unfortunately you’re having trouble recalling everything you learned and everyone you may have met at the event. Write. It. All. Down. This may seem archaic (and a bit obvious) – but trust me on this.
Meet someone in an elevator? Ask for their card and once you part ways jot down a quick note to yourself to remember who they were (what they were wearing, something similar you both shared, how you can help them specifically, etc.). Attend a super powerful session? Take detailed notes or record it. Capture the important nuggets of information and ask how to get the slide presentation post-session. See some brands doing it right when it comes to their booth experience? Take pictures. Ask questions. Grab a cool giveaway you want to be able to hand out at your next event? Go back and grab more. Heck – you should be walking around to all of the booths to get examples of what businesses similar to yours are giving out as swag – the good and the bad. What other time will you be able to get this up close and personal with your competition? Capture everything you can when you’re at the event and it’s fresh in your mind so when you return home you can have seamless and quick follow up on it all.
With anyone and everyone. Your experience, your results, your feedback – what you learned, what you thought could’ve worked better – the good, the bad, the ugly. Share it all. And document what you’re sharing – goals vs actuals, leads/conversations captured, memorable sessions you attended, etc. Having a solid and comprehensive view of the conference is something you can leverage for years to come when evaluating this specific one or other events you may want to attend in the future.
State your purpose, do your research, join the conversation, dress smart, write it all down and share when you get home to set yourself and your brand up for the best success possible at your upcoming event.
Speaking of great tradeshow swag – BlueHornet is excited to see you all at EEC next week and will be giving out awesome giveaways at the event: Swell-like water bottles, Beats by Dre Headphones and even a GoPro! (yes we’re serious). Be sure to stop by booth #205 to pick yours up.
See you in New Orleans!