What’s on your radar?

Battleships

BattleshipsYou’re busily going about your work, doing what’s necessary to keep things moving, reacting as things come in.

What can you do to be more take a wider view and be more proactive?

A good start is to get an idea of what’s going to be taking place in your city over the next three to six months – we’re talking conferences, festivals, exhibitions, even concerts.

You will be amazed at the variety and number of events taking place right under your nose.

Fortunately the Internet makes this kind of research much easier than it ever used to be.

For general events check out eventful.com or upcoming.org, for conferences and trade shows worldwide then biztradeshows.com is indispensable.

Ninja tip:
Many of these sites provide information in the form of public calendars or RSS feeds. Make sure to subscribe to them in your calendar (iCal, Google Calendar etc) or RSS reader to keep up to date.

What to do with this information?

If you’re a local business, think what you can offer to people in town for just a few days. Some conferences have twitter hashtags and other ways to find out just who is attending. If you’re a restaurant or cafe, there’s probably a list of places nearby on the event website. See about getting a link there (for an SEO boost that keeps on giving as well). Not all conferences are in hotels, and even if they are not everyone can afford to stay at the conference hotel. For concerts, there’s always plenty of people who buy tickets then figure out where to stay later. If you’re an accommodation provider, watch Twitter for people looking for somewhere to stay, then offer your services. Got a blog? That’s a great place to put a post about your special room rates for the event – competition for “{Event Name}+{City name}+hotels” is never going to be as stiff as for “{City Name} hotels”.

Even if your business doesn’t offer local services, this information is still useful. It’s a rare conference season that won’t bring a whole heap of potential clients to town. Use that opportunity to deepen relationships with people you’ve only met online. Play host. Everyone loves to be shown around by a local.

What are the resources you use to put events on your marketing radar? And how does having that information power your efforts?

Image credit: Amanda M Hatfield, via Creative Commons on Flickr

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