Why You Should Host an Off-site Conference Next Year

It’s too late to host an off-site conference this year. The conference season is already set. Businesses have already decided which events they are sending their teams to attend. Convention centers have already been booked. You can’t just muscle your way into the conference space at the last minute.

What you can do is get to work on next year’s conference season. Even so, there is not a lot of time. While you are not competing with the big shows like CES and the Apple Developer Conference, as a small business, you might want to enter the orbit of one of the bigger conferences.

Smaller conferences do well when riding the wave of bigger conferences because there are already a lot of people in town with time on their hands between sessions, and an itch to explore. If you don’t already have a conference planned, here’s why you should get started right now:

Generate the Best Kind of Leads

Conferences are not simply a matter of generating the greatest number of leads, but generating the best kind of leads. Every sales person knows that a thick stack of unqualified leads may keep you busy all day. But they won’t put food on the table. It is always better to have a few, well-qualified leads for that extra spark in your funnel.

Custom event apps such as the ones made by DoubleDutch are designed to:

  • Turn passive attendees into active participants
  • Make connections with the right people, content, and sessions
  • Communicate in real time with tools like promoted posts and location-based messages
  • Increase engagement with user-generated content

Any attendee making full use of such an app at your conference is not just a good lead, but a supercharged lead. These people not only spent money to attend several days of your conference, but they were among the most active and engaged. That is the kind of valuable lead that money can’t buy. Except money can buy it, especially if that money is placed in next year’s off-site conference budget.

Engage in the Most Effective Kind of Networking

There are many reasons why you should meet face to face whenever possible. But they all boil down to the fact that face to face meetings are the best kind of networking you can do. Much is lost without the nonverbal communication cues that help us understand intent. A handshake cannot be done remotely.

Beyond these obvious truths is the fact that most of the beneficial encounters at conferences happen in the hallways, local restaurants, bars, and parties surrounding the event. If you weren’t at those gatherings, you weren’t at the conference. You didn’t share the laughs, taste the food, catch the cold, or any of a thousand other things that bond us together – things that only happen in person.

Priority will always be given to the person you met over the person you spoke to by phone. After the conference, it is just business cards and memories. If you were not a part of the memories, you are not a part of the call backs.

Gain a Better Reach

This is not to say that there are not more businesses you can mine in your local area. But if you have done your job well, you probably have all of the low and mid-hanging fruit from your local market. By going off-site to a potentially bigger market, you gain exposure and reach beyond your usual area of influence.

If you hold your conference in a larger market with better infrastructure than your home market, you stand a better chance of attracting people from further distances. That is because travel and lodging will be cheaper, the nightlife will be better, and the opportunities to play tourist will be greater. Let’s face it: more people will attend your conference in San Francisco than Oakland.

There are a lot of good reasons for small businesses to host an off-site conference. Among the best are that they generate better leads. They facilitate better networking. And they grant your business more reach. Get started today for next year’s conference calendar.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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