Making the Most of Your Show Experience – By Dina Riccobono

by FeedFront Staff on October 26, 2009

If you missed Affiliate Summit East 2009 (“ASE”), you missed a great business opportunity. While sessions are educational, the best networking occurs after-hours. You can wait until you get to town to plan your schedule, but your best bet to maximize your time is to plan ahead, stay connected, and always follow up after the show.

Before you book your plane ticket, know what your goals are. What does success look like to you? Whether it’s developing new connections or taking advantage of open bars, keep your end goals in mind when planning your show strategy.

Take a look at the attendee list and pick three potential partners you’d like to do business with. Set up meetings during the show well in advance. It’s almost impossible to track down big names during the show and when you do, they’re overbooked and may not be able to chat before hopping on a plane.

Do your research in advance; know what your business goals are and who can best help you accomplish them. Find those people now, set up a meeting, and put together a business proposal. Don’t oversell, but do show up prepared.

If you want to make a big impact and get the most out of the show, get the word out that you’re attending. Announce your presence prior to the show on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and the Affiliate Summit social network.

While you don’t have to set up meetings with every person who replies, you can stay in the loop with the important events that allow you to make the most of the show.

The biggest thing I learned from ASE and really all the shows I’ve been to is that it’s a 24-hour event. There are keynotes, panels, dinners, and parties. If you don’t plan ahead, you end up missing some great opportunities for meeting unexpected guests.

Pack some Red Bull and save up cash for cab fare around town, because the longest nights are the best for getting to know people.

When you exchange contact information, keep notes on the back of cards of conversations or points you want to remember. If you did your job, you’ve ended up with so many cards you won’t remember every person you met.

Even if you can’t place faces with names, do not make any exceptions when it comes to following up. At the very least, send a courtesy email to each person and try to include something memorable about your prior meeting.

While you won’t end up working with everyone you meet, connections go far in any industry. The social media whiz you meet today could be friends with the super affiliate who helps get your campaigns to the next level tomorrow.

Approach each and every show like a business opportunity; at the end of the day, the goal is always the same – to make more money.

Dina is the Marketing and Social Media Manager at MarketLeverage Interactive Advertising, Inc., a performance-based online marketing services company.

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