There are two types of events. The first is the one you’re hosting. It involves a lot of time, planning and expense. Then there’s the other kind. It’s free, features you, costs you next to nothing and draws in a crowd without any work on your part. This is the type of event where you’re invited to speak as a guest, and it’s a marketer’s dream.
If you’ve established yourself as a leader in your industry or field, you’re likely going to start receiving invitations to speak. Aside from the time it takes to prep and attend, there’s very little you have to do to actually invest in making the event happen. The mistake most speakers make is treating this event as just another gathering rather than an event marketing opportunity.
But how exactly is this different from any other event marketing opportunity that you would engage in actively? Sure, your logo might not be readily visible, but in most cases that can be sorted out through an arrangement. Larger events will include you in all the printed material and both small/large events will allow you to present and disseminate your own content marketing materials. For smaller events, you can offer to bring a backdrop that includes branding for all speakers and/or vendors (even if just their names). This allows you to market yourself, ensure a niche well-branded spot for all picture opportunities, and nudges the door open just a bit more. Smaller groups will be happy to have the burden of cost shared graciously by a speaker through such a gesture; they’ll be more likely to envelop other branding and material sharing ideas if it’s attached with something so generous and central to their own efforts.
In more humble cases, where time and budget may be a factor, there’s still plenty that can be done to boost your own marketing efforts. First, make sure you offer a printout for all attendees. Keep it in a central and accessible area where all attendees are sure to see it. This could be something as simple as an entrance table. If you’re giving a longer speech or offering more detailed data, this is key to ensure people are following along with what you’re saying.
Make sure you’re not just giving out a piece of paper. You’re giving out a marketing piece. Even if your handout is just a few pages long, take the time to create something that visitors are going to want to use and keep. Set a couple of pages for “notes” at the end and be sure to include an “about” page along with contact information. You can also have a call to action page or a resource page. The point is that while this is an informative handout, it doesn’t have to be just about your exact speech; take the opportunity to give more than expected. You’re more likely to have people follow up with you if they have your data on hand.
If you really have the time, offer a mini press kit for each attendee. In addition to the information above, including the handout that goes over your speech, you can have a branded folder that includes a social media card, a fact sheet, a call to action sheet, a business card and more.
In larger group settings, it’s difficult to get the details of all attendees, but it would be gold if you could. After all, they’re all there to see you. If the event organizers aren’t willing to share the contacts directory with you, you can get creative and take your own approach. Have your folder include a stamped return envelope with a contact form and simple questionnaire. Also give people the option to fill this out online; you can include a link to that on the same page. Either way, offer subscribers and form fillers some reward. Perhaps they’ll get the free copy of your next e-book?
The point of any event is to get people interested and keep them talking. It doesn’t matter if you’re hosting the event or not, you can get the same results from any of the two scenarios.