Exhibitions and conventions can help you position yourself as an expert resource in your industry. There will be expenses involved in taking part of conferences but think about it as an investment because the results will benefit you on both personal and professional level. Getting ready for your trip to the convention center requires you to do a lot of planning. I've put together an easy-to-follow checklist you can download to achieve successful results and promote your products smartly if you follow the 7 steps here:
Be the Early Bird, Book Your Booth Early!
Besides saving money on your early bird booking, you will also have the benefit of selecting the best location in the convention. The later you book, the less options you have. Make sure you book a reasonable amount of space for your booth facing the entrance. Also, try to book the location that offers you a 360-degree exposure experience, so the attendees can see your booth from all sides while walking around the convention. Avoid sharing walls with other participants as much as possible. It may cost you more money but it’s worth it.
Invest on Designing an Attractive Booth.
Put your graphic designer in charge of this. Your booth design must match your brand. I often see sets that have nothing to do with the brand. It’s confusing and reflects disorganization. The convention center will offer you the option to select their furniture and booth sets. Although this could save you time and money, try to avoid this option if you can. If you book early like I mentioned above, you can then design your own booth to distinguish yourself. Remember, you’re not the only one there so you need to differentiate yourself from others.
Get Your Visuals Ready.
You will have the option to have display screens in your booth. You will need a screen for meetings and demo purposes and couple of other screens to display your infographic video or showreel. Keep in mind, conferences can be a bit noisy so there will be no point of having audio or voice-over with your videos. Just focus on the visuals. Infographics videos typically take 4-6 weeks to produce so prepare your content ahead of time.
Plan Your Materials Right.
Brochures and flyers are a must. Attendees need something to take with them so they can read it later after the event. They need a reminder of you and your product. However, some print materials I came across, can be easily ripped and some of them left ink stains on my fingers so I ended up throwing them in the trash. Consider printing your materials at the highest qualities. I suggest you take a step further and get more creative. So, instead of printing a regular tri-folder, consult with your printing vendor and they’ll show you samples of brochure designs. Printing companies usually have a lot of unique ideas to offer within your budget if you ask them.
You Branded Promo Items.
Little details matter. At the conference, you’ll be using stationaries like pens, notepads and agenda books. Make sure you take your branded corporate stationary at every conference. Bring extra stationary to offer to potential clients when needed. If your client can’t find his/her pen, you’ll have an opportunity to offer your branded pen to them. Your promo items are an effective reminder of your brand whenever your lead uses that pen or notepad you gave them. While stationary items are a must, you can also explore other options too. At some conferences water bottles, can be hard to find so you can create your own water bottle labels and offer them to your leads. Other little gifts like branded snack boxes, tea bags, USB’s, golf balls or even t-shirts can also help you market your products to you attendees. However, consider the fact that people don’t enjoy using or wearing poorly designed items. Invest some time on creative designs within your brand guidelines and budget.
Increase Activity on Social Media.
Every convention promotes a specific hashtag. Use this hashtag to promote your booth location and activities during the event. This will help the attendees find you on social media and get familiar with your brand. In addition to promoting your products on your social media pages you can also ask the convention marketing team to promote your company in their newsletter, publications and social media pages. Ask them in advance before booking your booth to help promote your company. Then, prepare enough content and share it with them before and during the event.
Choose your representatives wisely, Please!
There were times when I went to conferences and I couldn’t find a representative at the booth because they’re out smoking. Other representatives show up to conferences just to enjoy the drinks at the mingling events. All your preparations can fail miserably if you don’t choose the right people to represent your company. Having said that, choose two to three staff members who are passionate about your brand and enjoy socializing the most. Appearance is important so research the atmosphere of the conference you’re going to and dress accordingly. Is it professional or Casual? Either way dress to impress.
You can customize shirts or t-shirts with your logo on it. Pins on a suit would work too. Besides business cards, you can also create little introduction inserts about your representatives. This will break the ice and help the attendees know who they’re talking to.