Now that maximizing the event potential of your annual Christmas party is behind you, it’s time to focus on events for 2016. If you haven’t already eye the event playing field for the next year, now’s the time to do that.

For companies still in a start-up mode, it’s likely that you’re still in raw attendance mode. Your goal is to attend a seminar or conference in the next year and build your team’s skill sets, maybe get a few new clients.

For enterprise organizations, the goals have changed. You might (should) still be building on your team’s skill sets, and you’re probably more aggressively looking to build up the sales funnel.

No matter which option you’re routed for, the steps you need to take to effectively engage in the event marketing world will look similar. How much you can take on will depend on your willingness to commit to creative solutions.

Networking During the Event, Before the Event

Scope out who is going to be there and reach out to them in advance. Once an event has started, it’s almost impossible to get anyone’s attention since everyone has their own agenda. You’ll likely also be overwhelmed by your own agenda. That said, the best way to take advantage of the other attendees is to plan ahead and set some time apart. Most event organizers will have a list of attendees that you can use. You can also go on social with the official event hashtag and throw it out there on Twitter to see who is interested in meeting up. You can host several smaller intimate 15 minute coffee-breaks which also helps keep you from feeling lost at a larger event where no one really knows each other and it feels like the first day of school in a new place.

Host a Lecture or Discussion

Hold a panel or a lunch seminar to draw in a larger crowd of people. This can be something informal like a social gathering or if you’d like it can branch off on a topic you’re knowledgeable in. In order to not step on the toes of the event organizers, it’s best to do this after hours and off-site. This is a prime opportunity for you to stand out from other attendees, especially if you’re looking to score clients. A great and effortless way to do this is to host a comped breakfast and a happy hour on different days with a limited number of guests. Take to social with the invite, extend it to anyone you want to network with, and let the event organizers know too. As long as you’re not stepping on their turf in space/time, they’ll likely be more than happy to blast it to the network.

Offer a Write-up or Launch an Event-Specific Email Campaign

Nobody wants to take notes – They’re two ideas that can be rolled into one or played out on their own. The event organizer would love a write-up on the event from an attendee. They’ll be enthused about your offer and it gets you additional post-event exposure. Industry blogs will feel the same way.

You can also host a post event email campaign that summarizes key points from the event. If you pair that with direct quotes and professional photographs, it’s something I’m confident event organizers would be happy to market for you. The goal here is to get subscribers to your email list. If this play sounds good to you, create an event-specific landing page and some print outs directing people to that page. And of course, post it to social too with the appropriate hashtags.

Whether you’re a start-up or enterprise operation, every business is eager or exposure, brand awareness, attracting viable partners and new clients. However, to be successful in doing any of that, companies need to realize that ‘show time’ starts months before the event and continues through and after it. A solid email campaign can tackle that problem, but an email campaign paired with the other three strategies can get you noticed by event organizers as well.

That’s really the goal here – to rise as a thought leader in the event so that you’re able to stand out from the crowd.