It is proven that face to face marketing events such as trade shows, private VIP events, and conferences are important and beneficial to an organizations growth, brand awareness and ROI.
It’s more than just a cool booth (which we love designing don’t get us wrong). The work required to have a successful event has to begin months (if not years) prior to the opening of the show. The moving parts required to have a successful event are numerous. Brand building has to happen 24/7/365 in this new age of “get it now” information gathering. Looking at an event after it happens to see that you received a rotten ROI is a great way to see what you did wrong. So pre-event planning is more important than ever. So here are our suggestions for effective management of your events, before, during, and after:
Set measurable goals. Determine why you’re going and what metrics you’re using to measure your results: Number of visitors, leads generated, leads qualified, future appointments or actions, etc.
Develop pre-show announcements to be made prior to your event to engage and increase awareness.
Develop a top list of prospects by type that you are in search of and try to communicate in advance that you’re exhibiting and create a “call to action” for them to build awareness or interest.
Do a prequalifying call to prospects you think are attending and see if they want to schedule a one on one meeting.
List your events on your website and do some email marketing prior to events to “save the date”.
Engage your Exhibit house or display producer to ensure you have everything prepped and ready and they have all the information about your event so they can help you properly manage the logistics.
At your event:
Social media awareness is very important at this time. Create hashtags and use the event hashtags to keep followers engaged. These should be used frequently during your event and at any after-hours mixers or fun events as well.
Offer special incentives for qualified visitors to your booth. Consider contests or games with prizes that are more than just cheap give-aways for qualified prospects only.
Research the best event management software you can use to capture lead data from attendees, manage follow ups, and track any results after the event (very soon after the event)! There are some great tools out there from developer’s such as Exhibitforce, EventMobi, EventBrite and others.
Some exhibitor’s have found success in live-streaming from their booth about their event to build future awareness as well.
In today’s digital age instant follow up should be easy. Collateral in your booth should be available electronically so you can instantly fulfill requests and schedule follow ups in the above mentioned apps.
After the event:
Ensure there is a “lead czar” who has assigned and is managing all your qualified leads.
By the time your event ends any requested information should have been communicated or at least followed up upon by a booth staffer to schedule a demo or appointment.
Send “thank you” for attending emails and create a call to action again in case they didn’t get in front of someone to meet specific goals or requests.
Have a booth staff meeting to review and see what you did well and what needs attention.
Engage your Exhibit house if you have one to ensure your booth properties are in show ready shape for your next event.
Review your total cost per lead and other metrics to gauge what this event did for you (or didn’t do for you).
This is just short list of things you can do on a regular basis to ensure you have a consistent event approach and can reap the rewards from being prepared and “show ready”.