Guide to Attending a Domain Conference | DomainInvesting.com

Guide to Attending a Domain Conference

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I received an email from a reader named Bernard, who is new to the domain industry:

With the Traffic domain conference coming up, is there any chance you could do a blog post on how a newbie such as myself could maximize their 1st time domain conference experience?  I hear so much about ‘networking,’ and how valuable it could be.  I just want to make sure I can be properly prepared for this and any other important considerations! Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

First off – I want to say thanks for the email and for asking this great question. My first domain conference was TRAFFIC New York, which also happened to be the first time I received significant traffic to my blog, as I live blogged the auction results. Going from being a passive domain investor, where the only communication is done via email and message boards, to attending a conference can be exciting.

Below is some advice I’d like to share on how to make the most of attending a domain conference.

Before the conference:

Before you make your trip, I think it’s vital that you have business cards printed along with the name of your company or your focus (ie Domain Investor, SEO Expert, Venture Capitalist…etc). Whether you have a private company or you are an independent entrepreneur, you should have business cards made that identify you and provide your contact information. You are going to meet many people, and a business card exchange will enable you to keep in touch after the show.

It might sound silly, but prepare a brief description about who you are and why you are attending the conference. You will bump into people all over the place (I met the partner of someone who is now one of my closest business friends while leaving the bathroom at TRAFFIC). Sometimes it’s difficult to really describe what we do as domain investors, so it’s always good to think about it before being asked.  For example, “hi, I’m Elliot Silver. I am a domain investor, domain developer, and I have a domain blog.”

Email all of your domain colleagues to ask if they are going to the conference. Although the conferences aren’t filled with thousands of people, it can still be difficult to meet everyone you plan to meet due to a variety of circumstances. Make plans to meet ahead of time, and exchange cell phone numbers to make sure you are able to meet up. Before you go, set up meetings with suppliers/partners to introduce yourself, because it’s much easier to communicate when you know the person with whom you are dealing.

During the Conference:

One of the nice things about domain conferences is that just about everyone is eager to meet other people in the industry. My advice is to introduce yourself to as many people as possible – especially at lunches/dinners, outside of panels, and inside before the panels begin. One thing to be cognizant of is that many people have known each other for years. If you see a small group of people in a discussion, it might be private. Try to meet people who look like they aren’t in mid-conversation – especially because there are going to be many others who have never attended a conference either. Trade business cards where possible.

Attend as many of the panels of interest as possible, and if you have follow-up questions, try to meet with the panelists after their presentation. Most are more than willing to share, although some may have other meetings or people waiting to speak with them. It’s best to keep an exchange short, get contact information, and follow up with any questions in an email. Also, if you will remember a discussion better with notes, then by all means take them with a pen and paper or on your computer.

Take your laptop to the show floor. You can connect to the wifi network, send emails when an idea is triggered, and you can take detailed notes. Just keep an eye on your laptop for obvious reasons.

Be sure to mention  your domain forum nickname when you introduce yourself to people, as many people don’t even know other peoples real names! You may consider adding this info on your name badge for easy reference.

This might sound silly, but at the events there is always tons of free booze (who doesn’t like free beer and liquor?). If you are attending your first conference, I’d take it easy on the drinking so you can remember everything and everyone you meet. You will also have an easier time getting up in the morning, too!

After the Conference:

Go through your conference notes, conference guidebook, and business cards you collected, and follow up on all of those things that you said you would. It’s important to tend to the things you’ve learned ASAP, otherwise you are bound to forget!

Email the people you met to give them your email contact information and follow-up on anything you may have discussed. If you meet dozens of people, you will want to be in contact with those who may be able to help you and your business.

I am sure there are plenty of other things that people can think of, and it would be great if you post your advice, comments, or feedback to help others who may be attending their first domain conference this year.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (13)

    Jason

    Great post Elliot! I’ll be going to GeoDomains — my first domain conference…

    April 9th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Tim Davids

    Come early to Everything…come early to the cocktails the opening night, come early to every meal…you get the picture.

    You’ll catch alot of people before the “noise” starts. You’ll each have more time to talk in depth with less people around.

    April 9th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Alexander

    Great post Elliot! Informative as always.

    April 9th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Steve M

    Meet all the show sponsors & vendors.

    Tell them who you are (give them your cards as well), what you do (and want to do); and ask them how they can help you reach your goals.

    Thank the show sponsors for the great job they’re doing and have done (because they are, and have).

    Stay away from Elliot.

    O.K., O.K.; I may be kidding on that last suggestion. 😉

    April 9th, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Bernard

    Thank you so much for the post Elliot! It is very, very helpful. Especially since this is my first conference! I hope others can also share some of their tips on how to best use their conference time… Does anyone think that bringing a printout of the domain names you own could be a good idea? Just a thought…

    Also, are you planning to be at Traffic? I hope so!

    [If you are, you will be able to find me, as I will be the one attending as many sessions as possible, with business cards and hopefully a laptop! :)]

    Thanks again!

    April 9th, 2009 at 9:12 pm

      Elliot

      @Bernard

      I will be in Burbank in meetings after the geo show, so I won’t be at TRAFFIC in Santa Clara (although I will be at the show in NYC).

      It can’t hurt to bring a list of names you own for reference, but I personally wouldn’t try to sell them during the show to people you just meet. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

      April 9th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Peter Frank

    Great suggestions. My first time at TRAFFIC I was pretty nervous, being much younger than the majority of people there. I just had to realize that (almost) everyone is trying to meet people as well.

    Absolutely have business cards printed out. I met some very interesting people that didn’t have cards, and I had no way of following up with them. I wrote by hand some of the names I owned on some promo brochure, mostly because people kept thinking I own Texas.com (I own Texts.com).

    Have fun :)

    April 9th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Alexander

    Anyone gonna pimp their name.tel instead of a traditional business card? What if someone just gives you a white card with TheirName.tel in the middle and nothing else? Would it be cool…or weird?

    April 10th, 2009 at 12:20 am

    Jason

    @Alexander, lol I thought about that… I listed by .tel on my card with my other info, not by itself. I suppose if you had a good call-to-action or strong generic… but it’d be hard to avoid the roll-your-eyes factor at having *just* the .tel on there…

    April 10th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    doemainer

    I have to agree with attend everything, bring your business cards, and do your pre-show networking.
    A little trick, I write on the back of everyone’s card the date that I met them as well as interesting information (where they are based, hobbies, common interests).
    Hint, the badges are great for storing your business cards and those of others.
    BTW, I will be at GeoDomain.
    Doemainer
    http://www.thedomainscene.com

    April 10th, 2009 at 10:33 am

    doemainer

    BTW, I do have a .tel, but I have yet to convert it to my business cards. I am still waiting for critical mass.
    Doemainer

    April 10th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Adam

    Pre show : stop drinking any and all alcoholic beverages. Get plenty of sleep.

    During show : prepare to be up late talking and drinking (if you aren’t a drinker you will still be up late)

    Post show : see pre show guidelines

    IMHO do not bring a list of names. Maybe have it “just in case” someone asks.

    Spend your time building relationships. This is much more valuable than trying to get one-off sales.

    .tel domains ? Ummmm why wouldn’t you just put your contact info on a .com like any other business person :)

    April 10th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Rob Sequin

    “.tel domains ? Ummmm why wouldn’t you just put your contact info on a .com like any other business person”

    Exactly.

    Regarding meeting people, ask people about themselves, what they do, what they buy etc. If you do all the talking you won’t know who you are talking to.

    Go there “buying” information rather than “selling” yourself.

    Listen and learn but also contribute to the conversation with your own expertise or ideas.

    April 11th, 2009 at 10:54 am

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