As mentioned many times before, small business owners tend to wear many hats and typically don’t have their own marketing departments and/or expansive marketing budgets. Marketing strategies tend to implemented on an inconsistent manner and seem to stem from an immediate need to grow sales. Marketing isn’t a one time strategy, nor should it be a fall back when sales slide. Marketing needs to be a conscious and consistent focus for any small business regardless of the industry.
So, how can a small businesses use education to improve market presence?
– Regularly Attend Industry Focused Conferences
– Regularly Attend a Marketing Specific Conference or Workshop
– Implement 3 Items Learned from an Attended Conference or Workshop
Conferences, like Pubcon 2015, can be a day retreat or a week-long extravaganza with a multitude of topics that can quickly overwhelm a first-timer or season veteran.
Back in 2009, when attending Pubcon for the very first time, I had no idea what to expect, what I should learn, or what to implement afterwards. There was no conference focus other than having some fun, learning more about search marketing, and networking with some real estate buddies that were attending.
Since then, I’ve learned to be more calculated with conferences and detailing specific goals that are action orientated. From the three bullet points, number 3 was the most valuable takeaway learned over the years.
That is why is best to prepare before the conference and outline the strategies, or rough ideas, the business could most benefit from. In the previous blog post, I did just that.
3 Steps to Getting Most Out of a Marketing Conference
1. List out topics you would like to learn more about (Social Media, PR, Growing Community, Local Search).
2. Sculpt conference, or workshop, curriculum around the listed topics.
3. Detail 3 items, strategies, or ideas that are actionable and can be implemented over the year.
When choosing 3 items, make sure to tailor offered courses to maximize what can be learned for those action items. No sense in taking a HTML 5 course when wanting to implement Facebook advertising. That way a high-level of understanding can be achieved in regards to that topic. Now that may seem like common sense yet I find myself going through those very thoughts. In short, stay focused.
Attend networking events or parties offered at the conference. Here is where industry leaders can be met and maybe you can get that question answered you where to shy to ask in front of others. If Facebook advertising is the focus, seek out one of the panel speakers and ask for a moment of their time (a moment, not an hour). Talk to others and find out what why they came to the conference as they may have similar questions or can share some insight. Oh yea, take part in the free drinks.
Lastly, write thoughts, ideas, plans, and/or questions down because a short pencil is better than a long memory, as my 8th grade English teacher used to say. Use a notepad, tablet, computer, blog or social media to get thoughts out as that will allow those thoughts to organized into something useful.
Now, three action items may not seem like a lot, especially from a week-long conference, but don’t forgot that there is a business to run as well. Have fun and get out there learning because sometimes its good to learn offline.