Conferences, trade shows and in-store events are great ways for your business to connect with existing and potential customers.
However, it is not enough to just organize or attend these events. A little thought and planning before the big day can go a long way in building your clientele, expanding your network, and ultimately growing your business. That said, you don’t have to be a professional event planner to maximize your experience. Here are seven simple things to keep in mind that will make your presentation at conferences, trade shows and other events a success.
Choose your audience and set goals
The first thing to consider when considering an event is whether there is an audience you want to reach. Some trade shows and conferences may be suitable for some businesses, but not ideal for others. Just because the event attracts a lot of participants does not mean that they are good customers. Try to attend events that attract an audience that gives you the best chance of increasing your visibility and promoting your business. When you decide to attend an event, the next thing to think about is your goals. What would you like to do during this event? For some businesses, this may be as simple as generating certain sales figures. For others, the event may be about building long-term relationships with potential customers or getting people to sign up for email subscriptions. Whatever your goals, make sure they are visible and well defined. This will help you determine if the program was a success once it’s over.
Describe the event
Now that you’ve committed to attending or sponsoring an event, it’s time to get the word out. It’s best to start putting the word out a month or two in advance to give people plenty of time to prepare.
If your email subscribers live near the event, send them an email! But if your mailing list has non-remote contacts, segment your messages to ignore them. Post reminders on social media. Use your social media accounts to promote the event to your followers. You can also consider offering discounts or special offers to people who share your posts.
Bring lots of stationery and other gifts
When you attend or host an event, the goal is to make your brand presence felt. One way to do this is to print your business name and logo on a variety of materials and merchandise, including:
- logos and banners for your stand
- Posters to display on and around the event grounds
- Information cards to distribute during the event itself
- Coupons for special offers
Printing your brand name and logo on a variety of materials gives your business a unified look and ensures attendees take your business with them when they leave the event.
Organize and support your employees
Once you’ve decided to host a program, you’ll need to set up your staff. Depending on the nature of the event, this may require bringing in additional temporary help to manage foot traffic and greet customers.
Whether your event staff is large or small, you can do your professional job by equipping them with apparel that bears your company name or logo. This can help build trust among your customers, build awareness for your business, and show how serious you are about what you do.
Network and collect customer data
One of the benefits of events such as conferences and trade shows is the opportunity to network, both with potential customers and other professionals in your industry. You will be collecting a lot of business cards, so make sure you have plenty on hand. You can also use conferences, trade shows or sponsored events to collect email addresses for your subscription. Consider attracting people by capturing images from the email subscriptions you collect during the event. Consider the small prize you give to the winner as a good investment to expand your potential customer base.
Showcase the personality of your company
In-person events are an opportunity to show the people behind your business. They allow customers to add a face to a voice they heard on the phone or a name they saw in their email inbox. Plus, if you do most of your business online, this is an opportunity to show customers the human side of your business.
Although the main goal of such events is to increase visibility and ultimately sales, it is also important to have fun. Finally, customers can do business with people who seem to enjoy what they do.
Be flexible and expectant
It’s important to remember how rare it is for an event to run smoothly from start to finish. When something doesn’t go as planned, it’s easy to panic. Try to remain flexible and roll with the punches to avoid making a small problem worse. Immediately after the event, note the areas you could have improved and take action next time.
Again, you don’t have to be an expert event planner to make the most of in-person events. Simply work your way through these seven tips to give your business the best chance of increasing visibility, connecting with existing and potential customers, and most importantly, driving business.