Quick Tips for Long-term Impact at Events

  • By Catherine Dove
  • 17 Oct, 2016

Events and exhibitions are great ways to build exposure for your brand. Whether it’s a conference or a trade show, your brand gets the unique opportunity to have the spotlight for future customers and even partners. But, how do you maximise your time at an event?

1. The first thing you must do after booking an event is to decide what your objective is. Of course, you want to increase sales. But how can the event help you achieve this? Think about whether you’re looking to actually complete sales at the event or simply gain leads to nurture into customers. It is with this single objective that you will plan everything from your personnel to your display and merchandise. Your event objective should be realistic and plausible regarding the budget you have for the event. Once you have chosen a broad focus for the event, start prioritising more specific goals in regards to sales generation, customer relationships, brand building, market research, media relations and PR. For example:

  • Generate 300 sales leads
  • Meet 50 qualified prospects
  • Hand out 2,000 samples
  • Research 10 competitors
2. Plan your resources and merchandise according to budget. Prioritising what accessories and merchandising to utilise your budget on can be some of the most difficult decisions prior to the event. Engaging and well-made literature on your services is a must, therefore start planning, designing and ordering brochures or leaflets way ahead of the event- you don’t want any last minute panics! Research the number of visitors attending and if in doubt, print more than you need; they can always be handed out at other events. However, brochures and print can easily be thrown away thoughtlessly. Innovative and original branded ‘freebies’ gain a lot more interest and are more likely to be kept.

The usual suspects are keyrings, bags and pens- cheap bulk buys that will be kept by the visitor hopefully long-term, to look back at in case they ever need your services. These are perfect if you have a small budget, but even without a huge budget, original and innovative freebies are very viable and will be even more of a success. For instance, we still have in our office, Barry the dinosaur- a subtly branded, inflatable toy, cheaply made but too adorable to throw away! If your budget is more substantial get creative. For instance renowned car companies can afford to give away branded leather wallets or USB car chargers, more worthwhile giveaways.

3. Make sure your staff are enthusiastic and welcoming. Ensure they have frequent breaks as manning a stand can be very exhausting. Keep a positive attitude and ask open (not closed) questions to keep your audience engaged. Try to prioritise your leads as you go, for example keep a 6 tier system:

  1. Hot prospects: with a large order and ready to buy
  2. Warm prospects: with a large order and longer decision time, or smaller order and ready to buy
  3. Luke warm prospects: with a smaller order and not yet ready to buy
  4. Cool prospects: with the potential to become customers but not ready yet
  5. Other “useful” contacts: media, potential associates, etc.
  6. Other: people selling to you, browser, etc.

Perhaps colour code each lead for each section as a more subtle approach. This will make refining your leads after the event a lot quicker and easier.

4. Make the most of publicity services during the day. Invite press along to view your stand and if possible, arrange some kind of attraction, such as a game, demo or activity- anything interactive. Live-stream the event on Periscope or Facebook Live to create a buzz around your brand online. Film the reactions to your products and testimonials whilst at the event, as these can be used in a huge variety of ways in your future marketing campaigns (See our blog   Testimonials are for Sharing! ). Ensure you take photos and post on all your social media platforms before, during and after the event- even delegate a person to take charge of social media so it doesn’t get overlooked in the chaos of the event.

5. After the event- the work isn’t over yet, sorry! Hold a debrief, discussing with your team the ‘successes’, ‘improvements’ and ‘lessons learned’ of the event. Delegate who will be following up the priority leads immediately to avoid losing sales. Warm leads need following up too, at least in the next couple of days. Your ‘other’ leads should be filed in a  CRM system  and followed up with some useful information that wasn’t available at the event, for instance a blog of the event highlights, a copy of the presentation or personalised advice or feedback on their company. Don’t be afraid to persistently remind them of your presence- if you are consistently sending them quality content, you can’t go wrong.

As you go to more events you will build up your own expertise, and can elaborate on these initial exhibition techniques, catering specifically for your company’s priorities and objectives. So get going! The sooner you begin to organise an event, the sooner you’ll be bringing in multiple leads thirsty for your services.

For more advice and expertise on how to create a great marketing event within a successful marketing campaign, get in touch on 01189 100 012 or drop us an email on  info@digity.co.uk.

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