From the December 2007 issue of Entrepreneur

When it comes to online marketing, how do you keep up with all of today's hottest tools, tips and tricks? Go offline. You'll get the inside track on what works and what doesn't by attending industry conferences.

Internet marketing has become so complex that there are conferences dedicated to every channel. Some popular events include the Affiliate Summit, eBay Live!, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, the New Media Expoand Search Engine Strategies. ClickZ, The Direct Marketing Association and Marketing Sherpa also offer a variety of internet marketing events. These days, software companies and consultants offer workshops, too.

Many of these conferences aren't cheap, but don't let that scare you off--you'll probably get a year's worth of education at one event. Plus, by leaving your business for a few days, you'll return refreshed and ready to implement myriad time-saving and moneymaking tactics.

To get the most out of internet marketing conferences, take the following steps:

  • Write down a list of goals. The process of writing down your goals prepares you to accomplish them. Perhaps you want to find a new vendor or employee, or get answers to specific questions. Whatever your goals are, take the list with you.
  • Divide and conquer. Due to the scope of some conferences, you might not get to all the speakers' presentations. That's why it can be beneficial to go with a colleague, attend different sessions and compare notes. Also consider recording the sessions if it's allowed. If not, you may be able to buy the conference recordings. (Tip: Frequently, you'll get a discount if you pre-purchase the recordings at the event.)
  • Go to the parties. Oftentimes, what you learn at the social events is just as valuable as what you learn during the educational sessions--or even more so. Don't reveal confidential company information, but do network with your peers. This is the perfect time to share what really works and what doesn't.

Your internet marketing to-do list for 2008 might already be long--and growing. To help you accomplish your goals, consider giving yourself the gift of education.

Catherine Seda, a 12-year internet marketing strategist, is author of How to Win Sales & Influence Spiders and dean of LA College International. Get her free "Top 10 Internet Marketing Mistakes" report at catherineseda.com.