Working online has huge benefits. We don’t need traditional offices. We usually set our own schedules. And, we’re able to do business with people from all over the world like it’s child’s play. As much as the Internet has the power to change our lives and provide better lifestyles than other means of employment, it’s also got a HUGE weakness… the Digital Divide.

The digital divide is the natural social gap that’s formed between people who only know each other from their online interactions. People meet all the time in Facebook groups, forums, and even through the JVZoo marketplace. However, these relationships aren’t quite the same as those formed by meeting in-person — they’re a lot less personal. In spite of forming new friendships and partnerships online, there is still a natural gap in trust and confidence when compared to the relationships formed by meeting someone in person.

The digital divide affects new and experienced marketers alike. Newbies are probably hit the hardest though. As the gurus become more and more in-demand, the newbies have a harder time convincing big affiliates to promote for them. Often times, it’s not that the more experienced marketer doesn’t want to give the newbie a chance… he does. But then he just doesn’t really know if he can trust the newbie to do good work. To the guru, the newbie is just someone they met on Facebook. The relationship is strictly digital.

There is a way to break the digital divide… GO TO LIVE EVENTS! Yes, one of the biggest things you can do to improve your business is to attend live events. A live event will give you the chance to meet some of the biggest names in Internet Marketing in-person. You’ll have the chance to hear many people speak on stage. You’ll even have plenty of opportunities to shake hands and perhaps have dinner or drinks with the speakers. And once they’ve met you in person, the divide is gone!

Success online often comes down to who is willing to work with you and even take a risk to support you. More often than not, the Internet itself can act as a barrier to the kind of relationship you need. The best way to overcome this is to simply break the digital divide and meet your future business partners in person.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE HEADING OFF TO YOUR FIRST EVENT

Live events take some careful planning… not just for the hosts, but the attendees too! Ideally, you’ll have plenty of local events to attend. However, you may have to travel from time to time. If you plan properly, you’ll be able to make the most of your time and resources. Here’s how to get started…

Chances are, there’s a good number of events taking place near you. Now, most of them will be smaller events. They may take place for a few hours in the evenings. Or they could be huge like JVZoo’s Marketing Mayhem and some of the others. You’ll want to ask around in various Facebook groups to see what the next event is happening near you. As you look at event websites you’ll begin to see more and more Ads for upcoming events!

PRO-TIP: Stay tuned to the Shoutouts sections of the JVZoo Live episodes. We often announce upcoming events! CLICK HERE

If you’re going to a multi-day event, you want to consider showing up the day before registration. That’s because the day before typically sees a lot of people trickle into the hosting hotel… and inevitably they end up at the bar. That’s one of the reasons that the day before is a great opportunity to meet people — it’s quieter and slower paced so conversations are easier to strike up.

PRO-TIP: You’ll also want to consider staying until the day after the event (if you’re flying) just to give yourself to digest the event. Guru’s and event speakers are usually still there the next day and this is a great opportunity to get some more personal time with them. And possibly enjoy some of the local sites while you’re there!

As part of your online business planning, you should set aside a budget for attending events. If you have to travel a big distance, need to stay overnight, and need to buy food and drinks, these things will all add up. (Don’t forget to buy your ticket to the event!) The good news is that most events will be held at a hotel. And because of this, you’ll get a discount on the room. Nevertheless, many new marketers fret a little over the cost, but it’s part of doing business and can potentially be written off your taxes!

There are a few things to consider prior to attending your first event. First, you’ll need to find the events you want to attend. You’ll then need to factor in a couple extra days if it’s a bigger event — the day before is sometimes the best time! As you start to attend events, you’ll want to set aside a budget to keep your attendance up. Live events take some planning, but they’re totally worth it!

WHEN YOU GO TO AN EVENT, BRING YOUR PLAN WITH YOU

Going to an event is no small matter. Depending on how far you have to travel, whether you’re staying overnight, and how big the event is, there can be a large cost involved. The events themselves offer a lot of possible opportunities to build your business. Knowing what your business needs will help you make the most of the event.

To get the most out of the event, you need to have a plan before you go. You should have ONE big objective that is the main purpose of attending the event. The event should be a big benefit to your business, so any objective that can best be served by being at the event is a good objective. Before you purchase the event tickets and make the travel arrangements, you’ll need to know what you want to gain by going to the event.

Here are a few ideas of what you can expect to accomplish at a big event:

★ Meet affiliates for your upcoming launch

★ Meet vendors for your upcoming affiliate campaigns

★ Meet potential customers and establish a brand for yourself

★ Find a programmer to help build and maintain your software

★ Study the sales pitches of the event speakers

★ Meet the leadership of JVZoo

★ Find a partner for your business

★ Find an accountability buddy

★ Develop a support group or mastermind from the attendees

★ Purchase an offer made from stage

★ Reconnect with old friends

★ Spend time with your business partners working side-by-side

★ Find a mentor to coach you

In addition to having the main objective, you may also want a list of secondary objectives. For example, let’s say your main objective is to have a private meeting with a major affiliate for your upcoming launch. You may meet other people at the event who may also be great affiliates for your product. A good secondary objective would be to connect with additional affiliates, exchange contact info, and generally build rapport in-person. Your main objective can be completed in half a day, but you have the rest of the event to complete your secondary objectives.

When you go to an event, you should know exactly what you’re going to gain from the event. Of course, you’ll realize more than what you planned. However, if you go to an event just to be at the event, then you probably won’t get as much from the experience. Events are unique opportunities to push a specific part of your business to the next level — the part that can only be done with personal connections!

THE ACTION IS IN THE MAIN ROOM OF THE EVENT

Many events will feature a main room where the action is taking place. This is where you’ll find many of the top people in the industry. You’ll also find the most dedicated students of marketing in this room as well. The main room is the place to be if you’re new to events or if you want to hear your favorite guru’s share their insights.

In the main room, you’ll get an awesome opportunity to listen to top marketers speak from the stage. You’ll definitely want to take copious notes as they present insights they don’t share anywhere else. In fact, these sessions are so information-packed, that you’ll even see the other big gurus taking notes and asking questions. These sessions can easily justify the entire expense of the trip with the exclusive content.

Depending on the event, you may see the presenters make an offer from the stage. This is an awesome opportunity to see how selling is done. The products offered from the stage at offline events really pack in some value. In general, these are mid-ticket to high ticket offers that would typically be sold through webinar — the event is truly a live webinar! If the package being presented is a good fit for your business, then pick it up. If not, enjoy the show.

PRO-TIP: Even if you don’t want to purchase anything offered from the stage, it’s a good idea to study the presentations, including the sales pitch. One day you may be selling from the stage, so start learning early!

Not all events are strictly presentations. Some events encourage interaction in the main room by coordinating group activities. At a recent event, the hosts put together a “speed dating” activity that encouraged the attendees to mingle and get to know each other. At the same event, there was also a “shark tank” style event where groups would create a product and present it to an expert panel. Events aren’t always about presentations and pitches.

The main room of the event is always packed with opportunity to learn. At many events, there’s a series of lectures from top marketers. At other events, there are opportunities to work in small groups with your fellow marketers. It’s true that you may hear some sales pitches, but those are also opportunities to learn even if your business doesn’t need the product. The main room is always full of action!

THE ONLY OTHER PLACE YOU’LL WANT TO BE

If there’s one location besides the main room for meeting the top people in Internet Marketing, it’s the bar. And the parties that are thrown in the evening after the presentations have ended. The bar is one of the most popular hangouts for all attendees. It’s a place you’ll want to be if you want to forge new relationships with key people. That being said, there are a few things you need to consider while you’re networking in the bar.

The first thing to remember is that the bar is a very social area… meaning don’t lead with business. When you’re approaching someone new, you want to invest some time getting to know them personally. Don’t focus on business at all.

Remember that people do business with people, not resumes. Eventually, the person you’re talking with will be ready to discuss business. But give them time to get to know you first!

“So what do you do?” Is a very common question when you’re first meeting someone. You still want to avoid going straight to business if they don’t know you. You can simply say “I’m creating my first product on video marketing, but my spare time I like to…” Answer briefly, but push the conversion back towards a personal connection.

Above all, be yourself while you’re talking to new people. Yes, it’s a bar, but don’t rely on alcohol to have fun or be fun. Let people know who you really are. And learn who they are. You will be surprised by the number of people who portray one character on Facebook or in their product videos while being completely different in person. The secret power of the live event is that it allows you to discover the truth about people in the industry as well as convey who you are, so don’t skip this opportunity.

PRO-TIP: The bar isn’t the only area outside the main room where you can chat up your fellow marketers… the area immediately outside the main room is another place you connect. Just stay away from the doors so your conversations are disrupting the room.

The bar is a very popular place to make connections. You’ll want to focus on being less formal while your there. Get to know people on a personal level first, then let business discussions come up. The bar is where a lot of the action takes place, but don’t forget about the area outside the main room. Never forget that some of the best moments of the event don’t always occur in the main room!

WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU’VE ATTENDED AN OFFLINE EVENT

After a big event, you’ll notice a flurry of activity on Facebook. There’s a ton of “it was great to finally meet you,” posts. After a couple weeks, the post-event bliss dies down. And when it does, so to will the benefits of attending. People you met only weeks previously may become busy with other projects and may forget about you. You’ll need to take some steps to follow through on your event to ensure it’s fruitful.

Establish your online connection. While you’re at the event, you’re going to want to connect with your new acquaintances via Facebook or email. If you have a card, you can give that to them as well. If they give you an email address, send a quick Hello message. You’ll want to establish a connection with your new contact quickly… as memories fade fast in this modern age.

PRO-TIP: Start a spreadsheet of all the contacts you make at live events. Shake as many hands, do as many introductions and get as many business cards as you can. Then when you get back home make a spreadsheet with everyone’s contact info and mailing address. Those details will come in handy later when you’re getting ready to launch a product!

Implement your plan. Attending the event should have served a business purpose. If you managed to meet a key affiliate, for example, then you should send over the JV details for your launch and set them up with anything they need to promote as soon as possible. However the event fits into your business plan, you should immediately apply the gains from the event by continuing your plan.

Keep in contact your connections. Connections have a shelf life. If you aren’t staying in contact with those you meet, you’ll fade from their memory. This doesn’t mean that you have to send them a private message every day. You can stay in contact by commenting on their Facebook posts or writing your own posts. You’ll want to stay relevant and visible so that when you need to reach out to them for a launch or project, you won’t be starting from scratch.

Follow through is critical to making sure your event attendance is productive and valuable. You’ll want to make sure that you have all the details you need to keep your personally formed network intact. You’ll want to make sure to implement everything you gained from the event quickly. And you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping up with your contacts — otherwise, you’ll always be starting from scratch! So follow through on your event and will pay for itself!