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Next week, over 20,000 marketing professionals will meet in Boston for HubSpot’s annual inbound marketing conference, INBOUND.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably attending. Great! The question is: are you prepared?

Making the most of INBOUND 2018 requires some careful planning to optimize your time, focus on the things most important to you, and to help your business see the most value.

We at New Perspective have attended INBOUND for the past few years and continue to learn new ways to make the most of the week. Here are some key tips for attendees at INBOUND 2018.

Plan Your Sessions

With over 200 sessions, it’s impossible to see everything at INBOUND. Make sure you search through the agenda before you go and highlight the sessions most important to your sales and marketing goals.

In the past, there was a real issue with sessions filling up; attendees were being turned away from these valuable sessions. Now, you are able to reserve sessions ahead of time to ensure you get a seat. If a session you want to attend is full, you can still wait in a standby line – but keep in mind that this may not be the best use of your limited time. The keynotes and spotlight speakers are held in a larger room and are generally much easier to get into, but the breakout sessions (where a reservation is more likely to be necessary) are often where the real specific value is found.

Plan Your Schedule

Your schedule doesn’t only include which sessions you plan on attending. There is so much to do and see at INBOUND that it can be tempting to pack every minute of your schedule with sessions. But don’t forget to plan in some time for lunch and other breaks! The mid-afternoon schedule usually includes a block with fewer sessions. This is a good opportunity to get something to eat, answer emails, and process everything you’ve learned that day.

You should also plan time to meet with other attendees, explore the show floor, attend after-parties, and explore outside the convention center. You may be there to learn, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

Reach Out to Attendees and Speakers

INBOUND is a great opportunity to meet experts in your industry as well as in sales and marketing. Reach out to people in and out of your network who you know will be attending and try to arrange a few minutes to meet in person.

As you look to make these connections, make sure you outline your specific networking goals. While simply growing your network is a good achievement, you’ll see more success if you know what you’re after. Are you looking for a marketing agency to help with your inbound marketing strategy? Do you need a vendor that can assist with a specific problem? Looking to hire a new marketing or sales professional?

Explore Outside the Convention Center

This year, INBOUND is looking to expand the convention outside the center with INBOUND&. They have partnered with a number of companies for offsite events. For example, WeWork INBOUND is offering a lounge to get work done during the conference. ASICS Studio Fitness Center will have daily fitness classes all week, and Vidyard is hosting a video marketing lounge. LogMeIn and OpenView will also be hosting additional panels at their nearby offices.

You can search the official agenda for more places to explore.

Save Energy for the After-Parties

After a day of sessions you’ll probably have an urge to head back to your hotel room, rest and maybe get some work done. Your INBOUND day isn’t over yet! The after-parties, both those hosted by INBOUND and by companies at restaurants nearby, are great ways to meet other attendees in a more relaxed setting and make some great connections.

INBOUND Rocks is usually the highlight of the after-party scene with stand-up comedians wrapping up Thursday’s show. There are also a number of Seaport parties on Tuesday and Wednesday that offer more casual opportunities to network and unwind.

Plan Content and Social Media

If you are looking to grow your social network during the convention, providing a steady stream of content over the week is crucial. Try to plan any related blog posts or other content ahead of time to avoid creating them on the fly during the convention.

On social media, make sure you are following and using #INBOUND18. Share quotes and takeaways from sessions you enjoyed and any other experiences from the convention. When you meet someone new, connect with them immediately on Twitter or LinkedIn while the interaction is still fresh.

There is so much value to be had at INBOUND 2018, but you really get out of it what you put in. If you take this advice and come prepared, you’ll be in for a great convention that provides real value for your company.

If you are attending INBOUND 2018, we’d love to meet you in person! Reach out and let us know when you’ll be there.

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