Events are undoubtedly an extremely viable marketing tactic, but you don’t need to go to the cost of presenting to make the most of them. Here are my key marketing tactics when it comes to events:

  1. Segment and prioritize: Many events are so big these days, spread across many arenas with parallel activities so it’s hard to keep up with everything. Thus, identify the event/people/area you want to focus on beforehand and only focus on that. Ideally two of you should attend to split the work.
  2. Stand out: Wear something that makes you stand out such as a branded t-shirt, hat, big glasses — anything, within reason, that will make people remember you.
  3. Stop and chat: Don’t just pass people, speak to them. If there is some value in conversation, then develop on it. If not, then quickly move on. May sound hard but remember, chances are, they’re there for the exact same reason as you.
  4. Network everywhere: Do the above in queues, café, toilets, to and from the venue.
  5. Handouts: Bring a lot of these to give out as you talk to people — it means they’ll be more likely to remember you.
  6. If they’ve got an app use it: These are a great way to identify people with common interests, but a tool often completely overlooked. Again, don’t be afraid to send a cold intro to them; they’ll be using it in exactly the same way as you.
  7. The Golden Rule: Absolutely ensure you follow up with everyone individually after the event. I’m constantly amazed how many startups do all the hard work, but then let it all fall away on returning to the office.

There are, of course, plenty of other marketing activities — PR, advertising, direct mail, sponsorship, social media, and so on — all of which can help. However, in my opinion, they just create a bit of noise and are likely to have involved spending a lot of effort and money to convert them into customers.

The most effective marketing tactic, by far, is to make your existing customers your de facto brand promoters. This is done by focusing on delivering good products and services at the right cost.

It’s about letting your product — and the service you provide around it — do all the marketing for you. It’s the most overlooked tactic.

If your existing customers are happy, they’ll bring a lot more customers to you.

This story originally appeared on Tech City News. Copyright 2015