3 Key Evaluation Points as You Plan for 2019
It's time to evaluate your conference schedule. Make 2019 the year you break conference bad habits, stop attending the same conferences that no longer yield anything, and start connecting meaningfully with existing clients and potential new partners in a way that earns you ROI for your marketing dollar. As you look at the calendar and evaluate your options, think about these key points:
1) Step out of your comfort zone
Not many people thrive on change. It's uncomfortable and there's an inherent risk involved when we shake things up. There's also an opportunity for growth and reward. Your law firm likely focuses on a core practice area, default servicing for instance, and has spent years cultivating and marketing that practice area. However, it's not your only practice area and there could be value in branching out to other focused events like bankruptcy, litigation, or collections. Replacing just one conference with a new event allows you to assess the opportunity without losing your standing in your core practice area.
2) Association vs. Event Company
Does it matter who's hosting? Depending on your goals it might so it's important to assess whether the event is hosted by an association or event management company. What's the difference? When an event is association-hosted, you’ll need to factor in additional costs such as dues (annual or monthly) or higher non-member pricing, if that option is even offered. From a networking perspective, when an event is association-hosted and closed to the transient traffic of an open registration model, you may find breaking into established networking circles difficult. Whereas at an event that is open to the general public networking is easier because the audience has been conditioned to see new faces at each event.
The tradeoff is that with associations, your dues should earn you much more than event access but year-long benefits such as continuing education and additional networking and marketing opportunities that aren’t provided by the event-only organizations.
3) Interview the Organizer
We encourage you to take a moment to 'interview' the organizer. You're investing hundreds or thousands of dollars and your time, not to mention your time away from the office and home so any reasonable organization should happily field a few questions about their event.
Five Tips in Five Seconds:
Keep in mind a lot of what makes or breaks your conference success is planning. It's essential you plan suitable before, during, and after activities. Prior to the event, think about a targeted communications plan, include both mass and direct outreach, inform your social media networks, post on your website, update your signature line, and send emails or personal messages. Be sure to promote your participation during the event and consider hosting or co-hosting a memorable experience for clients and prospects. Last but not least, don't forget the follow-up. Don't lose the momentum of the event or the energy we gain from making meaningful personal connections. Reach out, stay relevant and keep developing those relationships within your entire network, from prospects to vendors, and make your interactions count.