How Events Contribute to your Business Success
We’ve got a guest post with great networking tips from Augustas Kligys, founder of Orange Klik.
The article shares how networking can improve your business and also increase your Amazon sales! If you’re looking at how to take your FBA game to the next level, this is a great read for you.
At the time of writing, the global pandemic means it’s recommended to meet responsibly (social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and all that good jazz). While meeting face-to-face safely might be difficult right now, many conferences are running virtually, so you can still attend and apply a lot of these tips to great effect!
Take it away, Augustas!
Do you know what the secret is to growing your businesses faster than you expect, no matter what industry you’re in?
Well, the short answer is in-person events and local meetups. The long answer is explained in this article, as I share my experience of organizing five international conferences in four countries..
Reasons You Should Attend Events
If you ever wondered how to move the needle on your business growth, attending an event is one of the best decisions you can make. Many successful companies consider in-person events to be great growth and marketing opportunities. Even though getting exposure at events is much more expensive than simply running social media ads, it provides a strong return for its investment.
It contributes strongly to business growth while providing exposure, new connections, and potential customer meetings.
That’s why, as event organizers for Amazon sellers, we often talk about benefits that events can bring. However, to make the most of these events, you need to prepare or your high expectations might be ruined.
In this short guide, we will explore the opportunities available when attending events, how to maximize those opportunities, and what mistakes to avoid at all costs.
Networking Will Never go out of Style
Despite the setback we all had to endure in 2020, the impact of in-person events has not diminished. Quite the opposite—as event organizers, we noticed a huge demand increase for events. The latest marketer survey has shown that 93% of event marketers think events create distinctive opportunities to form connections in an increasingly digital world, and the majority of business owners (85%) believe that in-person events are critical to their company’s success.
For this reason, companies are establishing budgets specifically for events, since traveling costs, tickets, and accommodations quickly add up. Most marketers invest at least 21% of their marketing budget to live events and expect to spend more in the future.
So what’s all the fuss is about? Below you will find all reasons, tips, and answers to the most common questions when it comes to events as a business marketing strategy.
The 4 C’s of Event Return of Investment
If you ask any person why you should attend an event, it is most likely you’ll hear that it’s all about networking.
Indeed, networking is king. It’s one of the reasons why online events will never replace the live experience of meeting people in-person (which 2020 has proven).
But what does networking really mean?
There are four components (the 4 C’s) that explain the main benefits of attending an event.
If you attend a conference, you’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded people that share common interests.
One of the biggest difficulties an entrepreneur could face is not building a network of other entrepreneurs who share similar struggles of building a startup.
For example, business owners who operate as a one-man-band can miss out on collaborating with other entrepreneurs since it’s not necessary to do so in order to run the business. While you’ve got social media and Zoom, it’s hard to nurture connections and business relationships compared to in person gatherings.
Here’s why conferences are a great way to start building connections.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that attending an event is not only buying a ticket, going to the venue, and passively waiting for connections to develop. To gain as much as possible, you will need to be proactive and take the initiative to approach other attendees.
To maximize your connection-building efforts, you need to strategically plan who you’ll be introducing yourself to.
Every event announces its list of speakers and presentations at least a couple of weeks in advance. Make a list of people you want to meet and what exactly you want to discuss with them.
To accomplish this, you might want to do some research on LinkedIn or Twitter to find out what these people are posting about and what your common interests are (which can give you some really good ideas for small talk), so it’s easier for you to approach them.
However, be careful not to be overly familiar—you don’t want to be seen as a stalker. Keep things subtle and professional.
If you are a more introverted person, take a friend who shares your interests. In case you couldn’t find someone to bring, you’ll need to network early in order to find another person during the event who you feel comfortable teaming up with for the rest of the conference.
We know it sounds intimidating, but live events carry so much more energy than a phone call and people get more excited when they can connect with others in person. The chance to personally network with people can benefit you more than joining online events, where you just receive information without a sense of community. These added perks make investing money and time well worth it.
Tips for Good Conversation
Meeting people at events can resolve problems you are dealing with while benefiting you financially as well. You can ask for personal advice, attend a 10-minute mastermind on how to solve your business issues, and get tips from the presentations on optimal growth and marketing strategies. You can never know how much value these types of conversations can bring to your business until you’ve had the chance to talk with other entrepreneurs to share experiences and learn from.
However, when starting a conversation, do not start pitching your business the moment you approach someone. Instead, try to find common ground, and don’t be afraid to share your own story with others. Honest conversations are ones that keep you connected with people.
By the way, ending the conversation is no less important than the process itself. The most professional way to conclude a conversation is by handing out your business card or offering to stay in touch on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has become the epicenter of today’s business world. So before you attend any kind of event, make sure you already have an active LinkedIn profile with a few posts on it to give people an idea of what your professional interests and achievements are.
Posts with interesting insights on the industry or questions that serve as discussion starters give other entrepreneurs more reason to follow your profile and engage with your content.
On top of skilling up and potentially improving your business, you could also find new leads and increase your sales at conferences. Besides fellow professionals, you might end up meeting potential customers at an event. Some connections you make might be in need of your service, even if their initial goal was also to learn how to improve their business and operations.
However, attending a conference doesn’t guarantee you’ll land new customers. Let’s say you are a service provider attending an in-person conference for Amazon sellers. That means there will be many service providers (like you) and a bunch of sellers looking for new innovative services to implement in their businesses, so you’ll need to give sellers a reason to choose your service over the competition.
This is your chance to get yourself in front of your target audience, which is why most businesses would rather sponsor an event and secure a dedicated space to attract attention.
As a regular attendee, the only way to meet your customers is by hanging around and having conversations. If you are doing it honestly, people will definitely notice it and come back to you.
The bottom line—resist the urge to be pushy. Don’t try to sell your product right away and focus on long-term customers rather than one-time sales.
Getting to know your competitors is as important as knowing your customers. For this, every business invests lots of money and effort to perform market research and analyze competitors. Live events can give you even more valuable information about your competition.
Live events give you the opportunity to look closely into what your competitors are doing, so you know where you need to improve. You can even learn from their mistakes. Both scenarios will make a great difference to your business.
Lastly, speaker presentations are as important as building new connections. You’ll be learning from some of the best in the industry. To consolidate these innovative ideas, you’ll be surrounded by equally focused people, which research indicates will improve your learning.
Choose presentations that will bring the most value to you with actionable steps that can be implemented right away. It is also a good idea, when listening to a presentation, to keep your focus on the content and take as many notes as possible instead of taking pictures of the presentation with your phone.
Be sure to ask questions after the presentation too. Put yourself in front of other people, ask questions, and you’ll be surprised how follow-up discussions can lead to long-lasting business relationships or sales.
Speaking of discussions, don’t miss a chance to share your thoughts with other people after a presentation. These mini brainstorming sessions are where you can pick up some golden tips or dive deeper into topics.
Don’t Skip the Tech Side of Events
A recent tech development is the event application. Popular options include Eventbright and Whova. From an attendees’ perspective, using an event app is highly recommended since you don’t want to miss anything important. An app will allow you to:
- Chat with other attendees
- Get notifications on the newest updates for your event
- See the agenda and keep track of speaker presentations
- Ask questions during a Q&A session
- Schedule private meetings
- Post on a newsfeed and follow real-time content from other attendees
However, for event organizers, there’s not much difference between the app you choose, since successful app usage depends strongly on the features you want to have, such as your own branding, the number of attendees, and Q&A sessions integration.
All of these cool features enhance the conference experience so you can focus on absorbing the content and making connections instead of worrying about where your next talk is.
Attendees tend to create profiles on their event app that provide basic information about themselves—their field of knowledge, where they are from, the kind of business they run, and topics they are interested in. Take your time when you create your profile so it is catchy and interesting.
Keep your profile copy short but intriguing. People tend set up their profiles by briefly explaining what their role is, what their goals are for attending this conference, and a personal interest, hobby or fact about them.
Online Networking Opportunities
Some events offer the bonus value of post-event online networking sessions. If you feel like you haven’t represented yourself fully during an event, these are chances for you to improve.
During pandemic lockdowns, many events have gone online to make webinars and online networking the new normal. There is no workaround for this other than going with the flow. Everyone must adapt to broaden their professional network.
How Do These Events Work?
To access an online networking event, you need to register for it and, usually, wait until you receive an email link to access it. Some online networking sessions are held on certain networking platforms, such as Remo or Airmeet.
When the event begins, you’ll be added to a virtual table with a few other attendees. Sometimes tables are marked for a specific topic and you can jump from table to table to meet other people and discuss different topics.
If you haven’t done this before, don’t worry. The interface is usually quite simple and intuitive—you just click on the table you want to join and that’s it.
How Do I Prepare for These Events?
Like in-person networking, online networking requires preparation. Here are some ways to keep in mind so you can leave a good impression on other entrepreneurs when online networking:
- Have a good Internet connection. If you often struggle with weak connectivity, switch to your mobile data.
- Use an external mic (if you have one) or at least a headset. You don’t want your audio to echo or be unbearable to listen to.
- Set up good lighting and background. Make sure your location isn’t too bright from the front and not too dimly lit. There are many Youtube tutorials demonstrating how to set up effective lighting at home. Also, remember to clean up your background or move to a place without clutter. First impressions are crucial, so do not forget to choose the right spot with good lighting.
- Look presentable but not too formal. While setting up the correct camera angle and lighting, you’ll also need to look professional yet comfortable in the casual atmosphere of online networking.
Common Mistakes when Attending Events
Among the things people tend to forget when networking at events are:
VIP opportunities. Events usually offer a VIP experience. If there’s a party going on only for VIP ticket holders one day before the event, believe me, you want to get in there.
VIP tickets can include in-person meetings with speakers and, most of the time, few people will be around, so you’ll have a chance to pick the expert’s brain and make valuable business connections.
Bear in mind that access to VIP events can be expensive, but getting exclusive access to certain individuals could be worth the entry fee.
Having a clear plan beforehand. This point cannot be stressed enough. Make a list of goals you want to achieve during an event, such as what presentations you want to attend and who you want to meet.
Their business cards. As a business owner, you should prepare at least a few business cards to give away. If the worst happens and you don’t have any on you, you can always suggest connecting on LinkedIn.
Efficient networking. The tips and tricks mentioned above will help you network as efficiently as possible by setting a target number of people you want to meet and not expecting those people to approach you first. Be proactive but don’t try to meet as many people as possible, since you’ll get exhausted quickly. The fewer connections you have, the more value you are likely to obtain.
To sum up, here is what to remember:
- Make yourself more comfortable by finding a person you can relate to and bringing them along with you.
- Pick a person and connect with them. When they start talking with someone else, reintroduce yourself since you already know one person in the conversation.
- You can broaden your network by doing so.
- Always take notes. They will help you memorize new information.
- Be proactive and initiate conversations. Don’t be afraid to share your story with others since honest conversations are ones that keep you connected with people.
- Choose wisely when selecting presentations to attend. You’ll want ones with clear actionable steps instead of general advice.
- Always ask questions, create discussions, and be sure you are seen among other people.
- Attend pre- or post-event parties, especially ones for VIPs, if there are any.
- Use event apps to connect with other attendees and keep track of what’s going on.
- When attending online networking events, make sure to set everything up in advance.
And last but not least—always keep track of upcoming online and in-person events. As an event facilitator myself, I always announce upcoming events on my channels. So if you are an Amazon seller waiting for your next event, visit Orange Klik’s website for the latest.
About Augustas Kligys:
Known in the business as the “Amazon Summits Guy”, Augustas has become a bridge between industry experts and Amazon sellers. He is the founder of the Orange Klik Company and the creator of various in-person events for Amazon sellers: European Seller Conference, Seller Fest, and PPC Congress.
Over time, Augustas has recorded over 400 sessions with Amazon industry leaders, experts, and speakers. He also runs a YouTube channel where he regularly interviews Amazon experts and service providers, bringing their knowledge to sellers with up-to-date tips and expert recommendations on growing businesses.