Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The 8 New Rules of Trade Show Engagement

We at IIR know first-hand that conferences have changed. And, it’s time to update your approach to planning them. You’ve probably been in more than one meeting to brainstorm new ways to drive traffic to your booth and increase ROI at events. Your to do list needs a major update and it can be hard to figure out where to start and what to add.

To make it easier, we’ve put together our own list of the top 8 things you need to be doing to set yourself up for success.

1.       Reverse engineer your strategy for every event to reflect specific goals. Every conference is different, but the goals and strategy for each often end up being extremely similar. To really get the most out of ever y event and achieve optimal ROI, you have to tailor your goals and strategy accordingly.

Begin by asking yourself, your team, and your management, “What defines a successful event?” Qualify those responses and get as specific as possible for individual events: How much revenue and over what period of time? Any leads or only qualified leads? What kind of partnerships? Then, how will you measure this success – what tools, metrics, and projections will you use?

2.       Use social media before the event to make more eye contact on the floor. Think about the last booth you manned. Standing out in front of the booth, smiling, sipping your morning coffee, eyes hurriedly scanning badges in an attempt to identify your prospects and pull them into the booth. By the time you identify a potential client using this method, they’ve already passed your booth and then you have to run after them.

To avoid this faux pas, identify your top prospects on the attendee list before the show. Then make use of LinkedIn and other social media outlets to learn what they look like. It’s a simple strategy to make eye contact and better engage with attendees.

3.       Test your elevator pitch. Repeatedly. With multiple people. Ensure you’re delivering a meaningful and unified message by sitting with your team, defining your talking points, and practicing.

Begin by looking at what’s being discussed in the content portions of the event to develop your talking points. This will give you an idea of what will be top of mind for attendees and what they will likely be interested in hearing from you. Also take into consideration any speaking opportunities your company is participating in.

4.       Create a well-thought out staffing schedule. No matter the size of the show, it’s important that you know who will be at the booth and when. As you’re rehearsing your pitch, make notes of the types of questions people ask – are the questions about client services, are they technical, about pricing, or requesting a demo?

Take these questions into consideration when creating your schedule, as you’ll want to ensure there’s always someone at your booth who knows the answers.

For the remaining rules and detailed tips and tricks on how to successfully execute each, download the full ebook here:

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