Exhibiting at conferences, trades shows and conventions present opportunities beyond the obvious learning, networking and connecting – We're talking marketing opportunities.
Having a presence at events poses a perfect opportunity to market your business both in person and virtually. Here are some simple
tips to ensure you’re also using the opportunity to market your business.
Invite a client, prospect or target. This is a great way to spend time together learning and sharing ideas, deepening your business
relationship and getting to know each other on a more personal level. A ticket for a client to a relevant conference or event can be a
clever and targeted use of marketing spend.
Pre-connect, virtually. Connect on LinkedIn with other exhibitors, speakers or attendees and ensure you’re following the event’s relevant social media pages. Share content useful to your audience across your social media pages.
(TIP: ensure that your social media profile images – whether personal head shot or company logo – are up to date to
make it easy for connections to find and recognise you and your brand after meeting).
DURING THE EVENT
HASHTAGS: Get hashtag happy. Ensure you’re posting on your social media platforms using the event's and speaker’s hashtags. This allows you to be part of the virtual conversation live, putting your brand (whether company or personal) on the map with fellow exhibitors, while demonstrating to your followers that you are participating in learning. Speakers and influencers will be using hashtags to monitor the conversation so it’s a great way to step forward and join in.
CONTENT MARKETING: Events and conferences are content marketing dynamite. Think team or group selfies, a photograph with the presenter, a Q&A with a speaker or a video of a presentation (check for permissions first!). Even better, think about using Facebook Live to interview a relevant contact at the event. Consider asking speakers whether you can arrange to interview them at a later date. This makes for great content, providing it’s useful and relevant to your client or customer base. You can share and repurpose it across your social media, the interviewee can share it across theirs and often the event organisers have agreed communication channels to share to attendees as well.
INFORMATION SHARING: Take notes of interest or benefit to your clients or customers that could also double up as blog topics for your content marketing.
AFTER THE EVENT
MAKE CONTACT: Connect with your new contacts as soon as possible after the event. This might be through LinkedIn
(send a personal message to act as a reminder and context for your invitation), via personal email or by adding the contact to your CRM. Good
old-fashioned pen to paper is often a really nice way to connect with new contacts: who doesn’t like receiving a handwritten note?
Follow your new contacts on their social media platforms and sign up to receive their emails as well.
DEBRIEF: Take a moment to objectively assess how useful the event was to your marketing efforts.
Take a moment to make a note of how you noticed other exhibitors, speakers or attendees marketing or promoting themselves. Was there anything that you could learn from for next time around?
GIVE GRATITUDE: Thank the organisers. These guys are at the centre of who’s who and what’s going on, so it pays to make yourself and your brand memorable to these gatekeepers. Event managers are great contacts to nurture and are usually good connectors if you want to be introduced to someone you didn’t get to meet.
Business events can be a great way of getting your brand in front of participants, speakers, organisers and their connections and can be a powerful element in your marketing mix. All it takes is a bit of planning.
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