The marketing industry has gone through some big changes in recent decades. In response to rising digital dependency and changing consumer habits, marketers are relying heavily on digital marketing strategies to promote and grow their businesses. But in an increasingly busy world, in-person interactions can be highly effective for establishing genuine connections. Trade shows, industry gatherings, conferences, and expos all give you a chance to warm up to potential customers and find new partnership opportunities. Here are some ways to make the most of business events:
Be picky with your events
If you think attending as many events as possible will give you the desired exposure for your business, you're probably mistaken. Business events require a lot of strategic planning, especially if you choose to host an exhibit. Even if you're willing to spend a lot of time and money at an event, you need to first consider questions, such as:
Will your intended audience be there?
Has the event seen a good number of attendees in the past?
Will you be able to stand out from the competitors who are exhibiting?
Does the cost of exhibiting justify the potential exposure you'll receive from attending the event?
Are any controversial sponsors involved in the event?
If you wish to maintain your credibility, it's important to be very selective about the events you attend and the brands you choose to associate yourself with.
Do your research beforehand
Whether you're attending an event as a participant or a spectator, gather as many details about the event as you can before signing up. Make sure you thoroughly research the event's official website and keep an eye on social media to find out who is likely to attend. Once you have a decent number of names on the list, make a note of companies with whom you are hoping to establish connections. Strategise ways to approach them and consider details you'd like to discuss. You can even try emailing them a day or two before the event expressing your interest in meeting.
However, amidst the chaos of the event, you may not end up meeting everyone you initially intended. That's completely fine. Focus on letting the conversations flow naturally and building genuine connections with everyone who stops by your booth. Never turn your interactions into a sales pitch, unless a visitor seems interested in hearing more about your product or service.
Find the right team
The people representing your business at the event are the face of your business. How they greet people at your booth and conduct themselves will reflect on your brand. So it is always important to be extra careful while choosing your team. A good representative for your business should be:
Confident and able to initiate and drive conversations naturally
Knowledgeable about your products and services
Able to maintain their professional demeanour at all times
Capable of effectively communicating your business's unique selling proposition
Above all, it should be someone who feels proud to represent your business.
Make your presence memorable
Once you've done the groundwork and prep, it's showtime. On the day of the event, attendees will come across many exhibitors, all trying their best to showcase their offerings and build conversations. That's why it's crucial to make the extra effort to stand out from the crowd. Try to set up a visually appealing booth with a welcoming atmosphere. Be strategic about your booth's placement, dress code, giveaways, and all the tiny details that will draw attention to your business. If you have enough room in your budget, you can even try hosting interactive games, a photo booth, or a coffee cart to make your station more enticing.
Keep the buzz alive online
Business events create an excellent opportunity to humanise and show the real faces behind your brand. The next time you're at an event, make sure you create some buzz on your social networks by posting live updates and keeping your audience actively engaged. Give them a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, and post pictures and videos capturing your booth's atmosphere. Use the event's official hashtags and tag the right people (with permission) on your social platforms to gain better traction.
Screenshot of a post from our LinkedIn handle
Be quick to follow up with your leads
Once you're back from the event, it's time for diligent follow-up. First, make a list of all the people or businesses you interacted with. Then, prioritise them based on the quality of your interactions. It's a good idea to send a follow-up email or a LinkedIn DM within the next 24 hours, while your conversation is still fresh in your leads' minds. Consider highlighting a favourite part of your interaction, and ask if they'd like to catch up again to discuss things further. You can also reach out to those you couldn't meet at the event and let them know you hope to catch up soon.
We hope this post gives you some ideas on how you can make the most of attending in-person business events.. Are there any more ideas you'd like to add to the list? Share them in the comments below