By Nicki Kamau
If you’re trying to prepare for INBOUND to get the most you possibly can out of the conference, you’re in the right spot — and you might enjoy reading what could be considered the prequel to this article, “Must-Have Packing List for INBOUND22.”
If you’ve already read it, these next few sentences might sound familiar:
Whether it’s your first time as an attendee, or you’re a seasoned veteran sponsor dusting off your walking shoes from the two-year hiatus from the great Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC), this article will have something for you.
As an eight-time attendee (two of those being virtual, four as a sponsor) looking forward to year nine, for me, going to INBOUND is like going home. Keep reading to learn from what I’ve experienced over the past eight years about what to bring back to make sure you get the most out of your week in Boston among the HubSpotters.
Identify Your INBOUND 2022 Goals
Without even trying, you will likely acquire some swag from HubSpot partners, merch from the INBOUND shop, a blister or two, and a new friend. But let’s circle back to what you want to bring back from INBOUND, back to your original goals.
Why are you personally attending INBOUND? Are you going on your own accord to learn everything you can from the live sessions? Is your company sending you with one sole purpose, or do you have deliverable requests from colleagues who aren’t able to attend? Is your mission to connect with like-minded INBOUNDers to create a trusted collaboration network? Are you going to use the “trade show floor” (formerly Club INBOUND) to source new technology and services to improve your marketing ROI?
Likely, your goal is a combination of the above, meaning you’ll need to create a hierarchy of importance. Clearly defining your intentions with your team will ensure everyone feels the ROI when you return to your computer after INBOUND.
INBOUND 2022 Goal: Learn
If you’re attending INBOUND with the primary purpose of professional development or improving your marketing programs with new strategies or skills, try to identify specific questions you want answered and build your schedule around that. For example, “How can I get our company to rank on page one of Google search for [your desired search term here]?”
Find the Experts
Once you’ve identified your questions, comb through the INBOUND agenda and identify the sessions that will answer those questions for you, in this case with topics such as search engine optimization (SEO), pillar content, paid search advertising, and so on. It might also be useful to review the INBOUND sponsors ahead of time to see if any of their tech or services can help you in either answering your question or solving your actual problem.
Create a Plan
Make a goal for yourself for the Friday following INBOUND to review what you have learned. Taking the time to sit down and recap the answers that you’ve found to your question will help you with the next step: Creating a minimum of three actionable new strategies to try, learnings to apply, and so on, to your next campaign.
INBOUND 2022 Goal: Network
Maybe you’re looking to land a new job, hire someone, or connect with another smart marketer to collaborate with. Whatever your networking goal is, the strategy to achieve it is the same: Be social.
Chat with the person behind you in line for coffee. Sit down early in a session next to someone and introduce yourself. When you see someone taking a selfie, ask if you can take it for them. And attend all of the after-hours events possible! If you aren’t making the effort to meet new people and make meaningful connections, you won’t grow your network.
Practice Your Elevator Pitch
Getting the conversation started is the first step, but knowing what you’re going to talk about is the next. It would be helpful to know and practice your elevator pitch before heading to Boston.
That pitch will change depending on your networking goal, for instance:
- If you’re looking to land a new job, your pitch should include your current skill sets, what you’re looking for in a new career, and what that company looks like.
- If you’re looking to hire someone make a list of all of your favorite things about your company so you can pitch your company’s employer brand.
- If you’re wanting to connect with someone to collaborate with them, you need a pitch too. Let them know what kind of projects you work on, and how you’d like to interact.
Reach Out to Follow Up!
Make a goal to follow up with your newly connected INBOUNDers within one week—and provide them with something valuable. Whether you’re introducing them to someone else in your network, sharing a company you trust with them or an article you read, or something else that will help them in their day-to-day goals, that added value will make you stand out. And don’t forget to drop in a memorable note like “We met in line for lunch at the Bon Me food truck on Lawn D last Tuesday,” because who knows how many Sarahs they met at INBOUND.
INBOUND 2022 Goal: Sell
If you are going to INBOUND to sell, I know you’ve already planned out your follow-up and goals for the number and quality of connections at the event, so my tip here is to make things memorable and personal in your follow-up. And if you need to prioritize who to reach out to, here are some tips for Further Qualifying Your Trade-Show Leads with Inbound Marketing.
The people you’ve talked to have just been with 10,000 other INBOUNDers for four days and might need some help placing your face. I suggest responding with a video message through Vidyard — reps who use video in prospecting, relationship-building, and sales emails see five times higher open rates and eight times higher open-to-reply rates. A follow up video like this one from INBOUND 2019 will ensure there’s no question about who you are.
Bonus: If you’re a sales rep who needs some help “Pushing Past the Fear of Using Video in Your Sales Cycle,” these tips are for you.
INBOUND 2022 Goal: Buy
If you are looking for some new martech to add to your stack or an agency to partner with as you grow your business (Hi! We’re right here!), look no further because the sponsors at INBOUND are top-notch. Prepare for your conversations by prioritizing who you want to talk to and booking meetings ahead of time with vendors when possible.
Whatever your goals are while you're at INBOUND, don’t forget to take a minute to breathe in the energy around you and learn as much from the experiences as you learn from the session content. Stop by the Intelligent Inbound Lounge at Row 34 during INBOUND to say hi. I can’t wait to see you there!