After all of the expenses involved in getting your company to a conference, the big question afterwards is “Was there a good return on investment?” Part of knowing whether your ROI is high, is also clarifying to yourself beforehand what determines whether an event was successful. Are you trying to generate more leads? Or do you want to build your network of influence? Or are you trying to gain market share? Once you know the real reason why you want to attend this conference versus another, you can fully map out your game plan to achieve your desired goal.
So how do you create a strong presence in an arena that is dense with other companies trying to do the very same thing?
- Find out all of the available ways you can tag onto the event’s existing marketing. Each conference will have their own marketing so if you register early you can be a part of whatever resources they are creating, whether that’s a highlight in their pre-conference communication, or an ad in their event collateral.
- Get social. Almost all of the major national and state conferences now use custom hashtags. You can build hype to your followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc by announcing that you’re going to be at #ABC-XYZ2015. You will also show up in searches when people type in that hashtag. Have an employee with social media experience at your booth to take photos and “live tweet” the event. To tag a person in your photos you have to friend them or “follow” them, which can be applied to potential leads. “Hey let’s take a photo together for my social media page. What’s your handle and I’ll tag you in the photo?” Bam, lead generated.
- Have a booth and make it memorable. Sure the tried and true method of putting together a booth, giving away pens and having sign-ups is cheaper and faster BUT imagine if you put some extra thought and creativity into getting people to stop by your booth. One client I know had a caricature artist at their booth and offered free drawings. The line to their booth snaked around the convention floor and the sales reps had between 30-45 minutes with each person in line!
While you’re creating unique ways to build a high return on your investment, you’re also creating a memorable experience for the people you meet at this conference. At the end of the day, you want to be the company that a conference attendee remembers and talks about when they get back to their office!