How to Nail a Conference

badtradeshowboothConferences are a great venue for you to market your product or service (Yes, authors … this means you too. Books are products). There are certain things to do and certain things not to do. One thing I learned from corporate was something a certain company president told me – speak first, booth second and attend third. For purposes of this blog we are talking about manning a tradeshow booth. This is after you properly vetted the event, a.k.a. did your homework and made sure that the attendees are your target customer. Here are some tips and tricks:

Put your best marketing foot forward. This means have the proper signage, marketing collateral to hand out (professionally done to reflect your brand) and have a display that is eye catchy and up to par with the rest of the conference vendors. For example, if everyone has pop up booth displays – your sign and lack of a back drop are not going to cut it. Try to case out the joint (for lack of a better word) at a prior conference, talk to prior attendee or the organizer to get photos if the conference is out of state. You want to stand out while keeping  your brand intact.

Capture your booth visitors contact information. Whether it is a bowl to collect biz cards or a sign up sheet for a free offer, you want to make sure you are collecting the attendee information. Unless you are a major sponsor, most conferences are not going to give you the attendee list or you have to pay major $$$ for the list. Another smart move (and you would think this is obvious), is to take notes on the back of business cards. Think about it, by day three of an all day conference are you really going to remember who Jane Doe is from day one? I doubt it. Keep track, take notes and if you have a chance prioritize what prospects may turn into viable leads.

Follow up. This absolutely kills me. Even at networking events, when people fail to follow up. I had a conversation with a new client tonight about how funny it is when people did not call you back, especially when you specifically told them what you were going to hire them for. For example, I tell Bob I want to order 1K coffee mugs. Bob never emails or calls me back. Business must be good for Bob if he doesn’t want this order, but really? Not even a response. I do not get it. Here is the deal, add your contacts to your mailing list and look at the notes you scribbled on the back of their business card. Send a personalized email and follow up with a call. During business hours. See my last blog on my raving on that one. The important thing though is to follow up – if  you do not, you are flushing your marketing dollars down the toilet.

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