If you’re going to an event for the first time with your business or you’re a seasoned pro, we’ve put together a couple of tips that might help improve the experience, generate you some extra leads or just make the day run a little more smoothly. This list is by no means exhaustive; it’s just a few things to remember.
- Proper preparation prevents p*ss poor performance. This military adage is true across the business world and can be applied to events as well. Events are all about networking, generating qualifiable leads and marketing yourself. Prior to the event, have a look at the attendee list, draw up a list of attendees you specifically want to target – this is simple marketing, you’re identifying your target market from a population based on a number of ideal characteristics. Once you have this list, contact them prior to the show and start building the relationship – this is a step a lot of people miss out and can help differentiate you from the stack of business cards everyone walks away with at the end of the day.
- PRACTICE! Set up a mockup stand (or your real one) and practice a few walk-bys, experiment with lighting and placement, can you make it interactive etc. It’s all well and good turning up on the day and going straight into it but you might recognise some tweaks to improve your performance, the look of the stand or have a brainwave and come up with something you’d never have thought of by just visualising.
- Get your social media planned in advance – you should be engaging with visitors, the event itself and building up knowledge that you’ll be exhibiting at the event for at least 2 months in advance! Get some banners up on your website, send out a few press releases, work with the event managers themselves on the marketing of the event – people should turn up at the show and know who you are before you introduce yourself. On the day itself, engage via social media with the people you meet – everyone loves engagement and it shows you remember them – it’s all about building the relationships.
- Make a note of every question you’re asked during the day – if people are asking questions, they want to know more (it is after all, the function of a question!) or want clarification. Post-event, put together an FAQ guide that you can email out to valuable leads you met at the event – it may very well be that they didn’t have time to ask you a question they wanted to but fortunately someone else did. By providing answers, you’re providing value and you’re re-establishing top of mind awareness.
- Storytelling! We aren’t talking life stories here, what we’re saying is, everyone is pitching to visitors all day at these events – aim to garner an emotional response from your prospective lead by engaging them with more than a by-the-numbers pitch. Tell them a story, give them a hook. YES explain to them how your business can provide value, YES don’t waste their time and beat around the bush BUT don’t bore them – by giving them something unique that they’ll remember or eliciting emotion, you’ll differentiate yourself from that company that said that thing about stuff.
- Follow up – Post-event, make sure you follow up on the contacts you made with a social media post or a short email. Keep it casual, it’s like a relationship – you don’t want to come on too strong.
- TIMING – You have around 3 seconds whilst somebody is walking past your stand to make an impression and engage them – ask an open ended question so they have to stop think and answer. Simply ‘Are you interested in our business’ could result in ‘No!’ whereas ‘When was the last time you looked at your marketing strategy?’ or ‘How is today going for you?’ requires a more thoughtful response.
Our number one tip? It costs nothing and will make a very important impression:
Smile. Eye Contact. Firm Handshake.
Bonus Tip – When you meet someone, repeat their name back to them – it will help you remember it and shows you’re paying attention!
There are so many other little things that can really improve your success at events and help you generate those all important contacts and leads – live-tweeting, notebooks, elevator pitches – but if you follow the basics, relax and stay focussed, events and networking can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of these tips further, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or on 01285 648248.