We like to party. After all, taking fun seriously is one of our company’s core values, and it also happens to be something we do incredibly well here at The Newsletter Pro. As marketers, we don’t shy away from the spotlight, and we can’t stand to miss out on social events. When we’re not out throwing a party for our team or volunteering in our community, we’re off meeting new faces and getting folks excited about newsletters.
On the road, all over the country, we’ve come across tons of new people who share our values about the power of relationships in business. And it’s working. In fact, events have been so successful for us that we’ve even had situations where existing clients have stood up to give us in-person referrals as we table at conferences. Talk about the power of relationships!
In this increasingly impersonal digital world, nothing beats a physical presence. That’s why we’ve already attended eight events this year and are planning to attend at least five more before December. On average, we find seven new customers at each event we attend, and we place a high lifetime value on each of our clients.
But we didn’t start speaking, hosting, and starring in events overnight. We had to think strategically and take action.
If you’re not already participating in an event this quarter, you’re missing more opportunities than you know. Here are five reasons showing up matters.
Increase awareness of your business.
Be honest. Is your business as well-known as you’d like it to be? Conferences and trade shows are the best places to get the word out about your business. You can’t expect people to know your name before you even go to the party, so it will take actual appearances at your field’s event nights or conference weekends to make people remember who you are.
You can be even more successful at building awareness if you host your own event, because you’ll be in charge of building an ideal audience of potential customers, partners, and mentors. Before hosting, attend and exhibit at as many events as possible to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.
Persuade the unpersuadable!
Lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales are all easier in a face-to-face environment where you can demand more attention and show your expertise in real time. People love putting a face to a name, so if you really want to stand out, don’t forget to introduce yourself and tell a story. Bestselling authors Dan & Chip Heath found that after a presentation, 63 percent of attendees remembered stories, where only 5 percent remembered statistics.
Though it is always good to support stories with data, the data shouldn’t be the focus. Give them a good story. Why do you do what you do? Make it personal. In addition, make sure you have attractive, well-written, and creative informational materials to give to everyone you talk to. Put some thought into what you say. You’re not the average salesman. You’re creating long-lasting relationships.
Be first in the know.
As skilled as you are, and no matter what level of expert you’ve reached, there’s no excuse to stop learning. The trends in your field are happening now, and if you aren’t learning how to implement them, you could be missing out on some major opportunities for growth. Have a slice of humble pie, and go meet experts in your field and hear what they have to say.
Just as you offer advice, learn from others who have more experience than you. Once you get back to the office, you’ll be armed with more knowledge and ideas than when you left. It’s a matter of imitating when necessary and adapting to the marketing trends that will work with your business model.
Seek out mentors, build alliances.
The best part about networking is collaborating with people in your field who have the skills to drive your business forward. Building relationships in which both parties are able to help one another is the ideal. If you find someone who has a skill you’ve been looking to hire for, give them your card. When you return home, send them a follow-up note letting them know you haven’t forgotten them. Stay in touch, because as with prospects, your relationship with a potential partner will die if you don’t make a conscious effort to nurture it.
Forming partnerships with folks who will be strong proponents of what you do can exponentially increase the number of new clients you obtain. What’s more, partners serve as a lead source, providing you with a lower acquisition cost, less time invested in frontend education, and they’re an easier, more committed sale because they already trust the relationship. Still think those connections aren’t worth your time? Last month, our company obtained 50 percent of our new clients from partnerships and referrals.
Create new content.
As you can see, you’ll be able to cover a lot of networking bases by attending events, but one of the most efficient things you can do with your time at a conference or tradeshow is use your experience at the event as fodder for unique new content.
Bring your camera and a designated media person to film your speeches for future blogs, or to put together a photo series to share on social media. The story you create from your event — the people you meet, what you learn, etc. — can be used in your next newsletter cover. People love to see where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to, so post your story wherever it will get the attention of your fans and future fans.
Not sure if events are really your thing? Afraid you’ll mess up? Aren’t sure of the benefits? Whatever your reasons for not attending events, it helps to first think about the consequences of NOT stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s like Baby from “Dirty Dancing” deciding to just lay low all summer. She’d have never met Johnny or learned to mambo. She’d have been put in that corner for good.
Networking at events and stepping out of your comfort zone can get you the referrals you need. Did you know that the lifetime value of a referred customer is 16 percent higher than it is for a non-referred customer? Not only that, the Journal of Marketing estimates that a referred customer spends 13.2 percent more than their non-referred counterparts. In other words, you can’t afford to not meet these people.