When you are considering attending a networking event, especially if the community is new to you, there are certain things you might want to consider to better prepare yourself and get the most out of the event.
Is It A Professional Networking- Or Social Networking-Event?
When looking into what kind of event you are considering the question of whether it is a professional or a social one will be important. Many events might look like professional events but in reality there are professionals who are socializing with each other rather than people networking for professional reasons and your expectations should be set accordingly. It is usually much easier to get to the point regarding a professionally related topic at a clearly stated professionally event but on the other hand you are usually able to build a much stronger relationship with professionals when you meet them socially.
Here some brutal honesty is in place. Do you plan to network because you need it for your business or career, or is it your boss who has told you to go and that’s it? Maybe you attend networking events under a disguise of professionalism while in reality your core reasons are entirely social – you want to make and meet friends, have a good time in general and have no problem staying on for that extra hour or even continue the night down town?
The honest answers to these questions should be factored in when you decide which events to attend and also how you act at these events. Otherwise you might miss your target altogether and doing so under a cloud of general boredom.
If you cannot find the appropriate event information online you can of course place an email or a call to the organizers even though they most likely will pimp-up the seniority of the expected guests somewhat.
If you know some of the expected guests it might of course be a good idea to meet up prior to the event and have a little pre chat where you also have the opportunity to meet some other newcomers in a relaxed setting.
Where Does The Event Take Place?
The venue matters in many ways for networking. It is not just about finding the way there; it is also about what is around. Are there other venues in the area that can be used for pre-drinks, dinner, relaxed after-talks, do you know somebody working at the venue? Have you been there before, where can you park your car, can you eat there, are there several rooms, loud music, an opportunity to stay on after the event is over?
The community culture can be a challenge for newcomers. Sometimes events are attended by a tight-nit community where everybody at least appears to know each other inside out and then it might feel like an obstacle to break into conversations and finding ones way at the event. Sometimes the appearance of a tight-nit community is only a fiction as people act like they known each other since childhood but in reality they have just seen each other before a few times. This is very hard for you to know in advance though.
The same challenge is presented by the professional cultures at various events. Industry oriented events might feel very introvert and the guests are happy using their most extreme jargon to further emphasize how important and special they are. If you realise the event is such an event and you are not a party to the industry in question you might just call it a day and leave instead of bouncing your head against the wall while looking like a fool.
Other cultural factors are age, strictness, mono- or multi-culture and gender division. Sometimes you will unfortunately find that some events are near fake as they might market themselves as for “senior management” while in reality all those seniors have sent their assistants in their place and whoever you speak with will have almost no decision making power at their company.
Special consideration should be given to the event host. Try to find out who is the host of the event and connect with him or her prior to the event. The host is most likely the most networked person at the event and therefore a key person to reach out to and say a few words to so he or she remember you. Also, and few people do this so you will stick out, approach the host before leaving and say a few words of thank you. Then you will surely be remembered.
Is There A Dress Code?
Appearance matters so make sure you look good and is well groomed but do have a look at photos from previous events and factor in the style of the audience; you want to stick out in a good way but not appear like you are from galaxy far, far away.
Does The Event Have A Program
Is there a program for the event and certain activities that will take place? The event schedule can have an impact on when you should arrive. What if you are there to meet people but arrive at a time when casual conversations are obstructed by a program? Try to find out as much as possible before the event and ask the organisers – they surely know the flow of the event regardless whether it has an official program or not.
What Are The Languages Spoken At The Event?
It is naturally not very easy to attend an event where you don’t master the language spoken. If you need – bring a friend or a colleague that manages the event language. Surely some people speak some of the more international languages though but who they are and which international language they speak might be harder to find out. One advantage of being the odd alien is that you are likely to attract attention and might even be specially taken care of by other guests or the host. Most event organisers like to boast that their events are international.
Online marketing is key to success for most companies nowadays, long gone are the days when only web shops paid for Internet traffic. To be successful with online advertisement and make sure your money spent creates a good return on investment there are some things you really have to get your head around, some of them fun and proactive and some to avoid disaster.
Why Do You Want to Achieve With Paid-For Online Marketing?
To be successful with online marketing there are many aspects to consider to achieving success; figuring out your overall objective should be at the top of the list and it is not always as easy as it sounds.
The best goal for paid traffic is of course a monetary one you pay $1 for traffic that gives you sales of $2. That is an easy to understand and obvious goal.
If you don’t sell on your website you might want to gain new subscribers to your free newsletter or attract users to other activities that you believe might generate money in the longer term. Those goals are much harder to measure in the short term though but in the long-term you might learn how many paid-for clicks you need to increase the value of your business with a certain amount.
If you live off advertisement on your site it is most likely very hard to make money from paid for traffic, as then you need to get traffic cheaper than the income per view you get from your own advertisement. It might work but it is probably a fish dead in the water.
What Is Your Message To Attract Users?
Is your target audience young, old, academic, sporty or have some other distinct characteristic? You should adapt your message, style and visuals accordingly. Is it text, photo, video or maybe a combination of those? What language should it be? You need to test various styles and you will learn.
Develop A Good Landing Page
A landing page is the page on your site to which the user comes after clicking on one of your ads on the Internet. There is an abundance of examples of how companies get it wrong with landing pages. Some drive traffic to pages not even remotely connected with the message they have or the goal they have with their Internet campaigns.
To get it right you should consider your page design and its usability together with making sure you have clear and visible Calls To Action – the thing you want the users to do such as buying, registering, watching a video or something else.
You might even need to create multiple landing pages, each one adapted for a single ad in your campaign.
Each one has its own advantages; some are good for traffic, some are better for brand building, some are cheaper, some are easier to target at a specific audience. Which one is good for you is something you will find out through trial and error.
For example Google search ads has proven strong for customers who know what they want to buy but not from whom, Facebook has a much higher average user age than many people think, advertisement networks are strong for brand building but be careful so your ads are not displayed on sites whose message goes against the values you have and email marketing is a good tool to resell to customers you already have.
What Content To Use To Attract Internet Traffic?
Every detail of your online marketing has its own aspects to consider. Your texts must include the keywords people use when they search on the Internet, your photos must be beautiful but yet easy to understand and your videos long enough to convey your message but short enough not to bore your audience.
Keywords can easily be tested and found by using search engine tools. Type in a few terms related to your product or service and the search engine will present keywords based on their user data but watch out for generic terms that are very expensive such as “buy a car”, better to use “buy a used Volvo in Chicago” if that is what you sell and that’s where you are.
Worth mentioning is that video is a media that is growing very fast in popularity among Internet users and is also being used by more and more Internet sites to share their content which are two good reasons to try video marketing even if it appears more complicated than text and images.
Analyze Your Internet Campaigns
There are plenty of risks involved in online marketing, your success in one area can become a disaster in another. What if your ads are great and you get an enormous traffic – which you pay for per click – but your landing page is not good enough so none of all those clicks are converted into business? There are even examples of small companies that have made bankruptcy after losing track of their advertisement spending on the Internet.