Conferences can be insightful and a great source of opportunities. At the same time they often also are costly and time intense. This guide is all about being prepared and getting most out of your conference presence.
In addition to this article we've also created a checklist for you to download and print out. You can find it here:
Pick the right conference
When evaluating a potential conference ask yourself:
Are my potential customers visiting
Are my competitors exhibiting? (if not there might be a reason, so better find out why)
Compare price, exposure and prestige, in order to compare with other conferences that are relevant to your industry
Reach out to the organizers
Ask about discounts
Talk with them about the best spot for your booth (traffic, co-location with booths that have a similar topic, noise level, …)
Talk to former participants
Find out if the show was worth their time and money
Ask for any recommendations they may have (tricks, lessons learned, …)
Know where to spend and save
Save costs by planning ahead
Is there an early bird discount for the trade show?
If not, ask for a discount. It never hurts to ask.
Are there other companies that you could share a booth with? (companies that sell a complementary product)
Save costs by booking early
Try to find a hotel early, and be there one or two days ahead. This might help you socialize with others that arrive early, and might help you get in touch with organizers, participants, and speakers.
- Don’t save in the wrong areas. Make sure your appearance and booth look professional to stay memorable.
Now that you have decided to invest in a conference booth, make sure you have the right appearance to show your prospects who you are, and what you stand for.
Prepare your Booth
- Check first what equipment the conference organizers offer
- Next make a list of the things you need additionally, and prepare them ahead
- Order Snacks and Sweets: pamper your prospects
- There are many booths at a conference. Think about how you can differentiate to attract prospects:
- Choose an element that visually stands out to attract people to your booth (colors, signs, teddy bears, uniforms)
- Flyers & business cards: moo.com
- Stickers: stickermule.com
- Bags to put all materials in: teenah.org
Prepare your sales process
Make sure to have enough representatives, so potential stop-ins don’t pass you by
Prepare your offering
Prepare your sales pitch
Think about giving out a discount or freebie
- Invite your existing clients to visit you at the booth
- Ask the conference organizers if there are free tickets for your clients
- Schedule meetings with potential and existing clients at your booth
- Invite important clients and prospects to a side event (dinner, talk, workshop)
- The sooner you follow up, the better
- Prepare a sheet to fill with prospect details while you talk
- It will help you send relevant mail in the follow-up
- See which journals/blogs/websites have reported about the conference and its participants
- Have your agency get in touch with them to see about being featured ahead of the show
- Prepare a press release and get in touch with relevant media and bloggers