How to Market Your Business at a Conference Without Sponsoring It | Ep. #422

In Episode #422, Eric and Neil discuss how to market your business at a conference without sponsoring it. Tune in to learn what you need to do on the day of the conference to market your business tactfully and effectively.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:27 – Today’s topic: How to Market Your Business at a Conference Without Sponsoring It
  • 00:41 – It’s better to speak at conferences than be a sponsor at one
    • 00:50 – Talk with people in the conference lounge
  • 01:16 – Networking is also a good strategy to market your brand without spending
    • 01:49 – Networking doesn’t mean passing your business card, it means getting to know people’s story and expressing how you can help them
  • 02:55 – Prior to the conference event day, figure out your target market
  • 03:13 – Eric shares how his friend bombarded the booths in an event they went to in order to market his service
  • 03:55 – Marketing School is giving away a free 1 year subscription to Crazy Egg which is a visual analytics tool
  • 04:10 – That’s it for today’s episode!

3 Key Points:

  1. Rather than sponsoring a conference, it’s better to speak at one if you can.
  2. Network with people by understanding their struggles and stating how you can offer a solution to their problem.
  3. Make sure you know your target market first before coming to a conference.

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Full Transcript of The Episode

Speaker 1: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to marketing school, with your instructors Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: And I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: And today, we're going to talk about how to market your business at a conference without sponsoring it. I'll keep this one simple: The best thing you can do ... I mean, for myself, I think this goes the same for Neil is, you will speak at a conference instead of sponsoring it, and often times I've mentioned in the past of benefits ... actually we've mentioned this, is meeting the people that are actually the speakers at the conference or hang out in the speaker's lounge. I've gotten so much more value out of that, and I've seen other people that are sponsoring, like marketing agencies, things like that, they actually don't get much business from it at all. I think being forward facing, being able to connect with the great people at the conferences, that's going to lead to more opportunities down the road. It certainly has for me. I keep talking about the value of in-person, so that's my way around it. I don't know what you think, Neil?

Neil Patel: Yeah, speaking's a great way. The next thing that I like doing is networking, because through the networking from the exhibit halls or just talking to other attendees, you'll find a lot of business. You can market yourself, your company, your brand, without paying any money, because it's like, if you network with enough people, you go to that after-hour event, you're there for all the sessions, you're there for the cocktail hours, you'll find that you'll get to meet a lot of people. They get to know you, your business, your product, your service, and some of that will turn into leads and customers.

Eric Siu: Yeah, and I think it might help for us to even recap. I know we've talked about how to network in the past, but when I go to these things to network, it's not generally just to pass out business cards, I think that's the most ineffective way to do things because people don't remember you. Easiest thing to do is just to get people to talk about themselves, learn about their story, learn about what their struggles are, and learn about how you can be helpful, right? It's the same thing when I throw dinners. It's just about people talk about one big thing they could use help with, or one big struggle that they're facing, and then you figure out how to connect everyone together afterwards and how you guys can all help each other out. And then from there, you're actually building a relationship, you're not so much just focused on a transaction, right?
And that's why the word networking can be seen as a little bit too transactional, at least to me sometimes, but if you focus on building a relationship with people and if you can get one good relationship instead of handing out 50 cards, you're probably good for in the long run. I don't actually remember a lot of good things happening from just handing out cards in the past. I still see that happening today, even in 2017, people just bum-rush me with a card, and that card goes into the trash at the end of the day.

Neil Patel: Yeah, and the last tip from me is, if you're thinking about generating business, marketing yourself at a conference, you don't want to pay any money and you want to generate customers, ideally, think about who the best person to market yourself to. It's anyone who sponsors the event. If someone else already sponsored the event, whether it's a booth, or some media buyers, or whatever, maybe, you know they have money. Those are great people to network with and pitch on your product or service.

Eric Siu: On that point, when I was at a conference in New Orleans earlier this year, I was with one of my buddies, and he runs a company. The funny thing is, he didn't sponsor any booths but he bum-rushed every single booth out there and he pitched them on his services. I think it actually worked for him, so that is certainly ... that's one way, to go to a conference ... it was a pretty big conference, without even sponsoring it, and again, like Neil mentioned, these people have money that they're spending on booths, you can definitely build relationships with them. You don't necessarily even need to pitch them on your product, but they're good people to build relationships with.
So, that's it for today, but before we go, we have a one year annual subscription of Crazy Egg that we would like to give away. So, if you want to learn more ... Well, it's a heat-mapping tool, first of all, a heat-mapping analytics tool. If you want to get in, just go to, to learn more. If you want to get multiple entries, again, just go to, and we will see you tomorrow.

Speaker 1: This session of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing stratergies and tactics, to help you find the success you've always dreamed of. And don't forget to rate and review, so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow, right here on Marketing School.

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