The face of marketing for small to medium sized businesses is always evolving. We love attending networking and other industry relevant events because no matter the current trend in marketing, meeting new business contacts is a timeless addition to your marketing strategy.
This year, we attended the 2016 Austin Startup Crawl and admittedly were initially unsure of how that would benefit our company. With the initial costs of buying our spot in the event, to purchasing new branded materials, like many business considering participating in events, we wondered if we would see any ROI or if we were wasting our efforts.
Fortunately, within the first hour of the event, it was clear that attending this event was a valuable marketing opportunity and even introduced us to some potential new clients! So how exactly can your business benefit from similar events?
Fine Tune Communication Skills
No matter your industry, having solid communication skills is vital. Large scale events challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and speak with other industry leaders you may not have encountered otherwise.
Our team ranges from outgoing sales and customer support specialists to those who may be a bit more introverted and spend the workday perfecting things behind the scenes. For the novice speakers, this event presented a chance to conquer any lingering fears of pubic speaking. Even our amazing speakers found ways to fine tune their skills or perfect their sales pitch. By the end of the evening, everyone delivered a solid, consistent message about our business. We may not all be in shape to deliver the next greatest Ted Talk, but everyone improved within a few hours actively networking.
Especially for newer brands, introducing your company to a variety of other similar businesses and potential new customers is vital to your continued growth and success.
Our parent company, Contractor Marketing Pros, has been around for ten years, but as a brand, Service Direct is relatively new, launching in March of 2016. Finding new ways to introduce ourselves to the world is always on our minds, so when the Startup Crawl was announced, we knew we wanted to attend.
Throughout the five hour event, we met hundreds of people from job seekers, to potential clients, to people simply interested in what was going on in the small business world. We passed out branded swag, showcased our website, traded business cards, and connected with new fans on social media. The event put us in front of people who otherwise may not have learned about our brand, which, for us, confirmed the importance of attending networking events.
Leads, Leads, Leads
As a business owner, sales will always be at the forefront of your mind. After all, increased sales directly impacts success and growth for your business! Industry events are full of potential customers, even if you’re not in B2B sales.
During the Startup Crawl, we actually met quite a few potential clients — some that we didn’t initially even think were leads until we spent time chatting with them. We may not have set out with the intention of closing deals at the event, but speaking to people with passion for what we do got them excited and interested in a potential partnership.
Renew Focus and Drive
There is something powerful about being in a room with other successful businesses that renews your drive and passion for what you do. Whether it’s a peaked interest in other industries in your area, or insight into successful marketing strategies by other businesses, industry events ignite a renewed fire in you and your team to succeed.
At the event, we saw how different businesses present themselves to the public. It was interesting to hear how they got their start and how similar their journeys were with our own. For us, connecting and aligning with other local business owners helped us get even more excited for what we do and what our future may hold.
No matter how amazing your office space or how much you love your job, getting out of the office to do something new breaks up the monotony of work. Attending networking events and conferences of course helps your business in all the ways we’ve mentioned, but they’re just fun.
At the Startup Crawl, we all got to come together as a team and share our vision and passion for our business with the world. We met a ton of new people and maybe even made some new friends along the way. Plus, there was a catering company handing out samples of their goodies and the Crawl provided beer (for sale, of course) and who doesn’t like food and beer?
We had an absolute blast at this event, and the benefits we reaped were clear. We’ve made new contacts in the local business world, potentially found some new additions to our team, found some potential new clients, and got our name in front of Austin business world. We can wait to find new events to attend and have even more success. So get out there, find some events, market yourselves, and have fun!