October is full of different conference opportunities for me, so as I start to take care of the usual client communication (not to mention deciding what to pack), there are a few marketing items that are on my list too.
This is the most obvious thing, and it’s one that many photographers forget to bring. Business cards are a tried but true method of getting your name out there. You can use these to network with not only other photographers but also exhibitors, instructors, and others at the conference your attending.
Make sure your business card stands out and is of good quality. Ordering a heavy card stock from Moo.com or elsewhere is just as essential as it is to provide a card that’s designed effectively. Put a photograph on the back of your card to act as a sort of mini portfolio piece, so it will stand out amongst the hundreds of other cards out there.
While there are plenty of opportunities to network at conferences, you still have to be the one to reach out and explore these. At Adobe MAX, for example, there are several after-parties that take place throughout Los Angeles. PhotoPlus Expo has after-parties as well as photowalks, too, so be sure to seek these out.
When networking, remember your elevator pitch. Networking events are often a whirlwind of meeting different people, so remember to have an effective elevator pitch that will make you rememberable to people after they leave the conference.
Engage with exhibitors
Sure, you’re at the conference to learn, but be sure to check out some exhibitors on the show floor. And not just the ones you’ve heard of either. At WPPI, I saw some really great startup companies with some ideas that were extraordinary. While it might not help your marketing right away, keeping an open communication with who you talk to over time can possibly lead to a relationship that can help you in the long run.
Engage with instructors
At WPPI, I took the time to attend a few classes. One of those was taught by Australia-based photographer and business coach Mark Rossetto. I asked him to lunch, and we chatted for a bit, and we continued after he got back home. I signed up for a half day virtual marketing coaching session with him, and to this day I use the techniques I learned in both his class and in that session when booking and talking to prospective clients.
Take some time for yourself
No matter what you do, you probably won’t get more than five or six hours of sleep per night when you’re at a conference. This is why it’s important to take some time for yourself. Sit down for all three meals, and take snack breaks. Take a night off from networking if you’re feeling exhausted (it’ll show if you are). Leave the conference for an hour or two to explore the city and make photographs.
Most of all, make the conference you attend for YOU, in any way you see fit. I hope to see you this month at Adobe MAX and PhotoPlus Expo!
For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.