Convention season is coming up just as we’re all in the midst of planning and running our holiday advertising campaigns. What’s the best way to choose an event and make the most of it while you’re there? We’ve put together a list of the best strategies that we have adopted after attending hundreds of events in the past ten years.
Choosing the right convention:
Deciding to attend an industry convention is the easy part, although there is no lack of options! First, identify the ones where you’re likely to find your customers and get qualified leads. This should be your main goal for any event you attend, whether you’re speaking, exhibiting or just passing through.
Preparing for the event:
Usually, conferences will provide an agenda or, in the best case, an app that will show you who’s going to be there! Don’t skip over this list, no matter what you do. Check it and contact people individually to set a specific time to meet during the event. It’s better to write individual emails rather than use a mailing list because personalization will likely get you the best results. It’s a good idea to do this a couple of weeks ahead of the event since others might be doing the same.
Attending the event:
Team up, if you can! Go with a colleague, or better yet, with a group of colleagues. That’s because you’ll be able to work the other booths while your coworkers man your stand, or vice-versa. If you are not an exhibitor, you’ll make a larger number of meaningful introductions by splitting up and dividing the floor.
Conventions can be deceptive because they look like social events. The less you socialize and the more focused you are, the better your results will be. Use your time wisely! Attend the meetings you set up, but try to keep them short. The goal of these meetings is to learn about what problems the other person is facing and follow up if you can help solve them. You aren’t likely to make a sale here, so be efficient.
This advice also applies to spontaneous meetings during the conference. Identify if the person you’ve just met is a potential customer or could lead you to business. If not, you can politely move on, and it’s better for them, too. However, don’t linger too long even with prospective leads. They’ll appreciate you even more if you respect their need to move on to other meetings, too!
Finally, instead of wasting time standing in the lunch line, bring an energy bar and keep looking for people to meet. If there’s nobody to talk to because they’re all eating, log in to your social media accounts and post live from the event. Tweet or post selfies of yourself with new people you meet and don’t forget to tag them and their companies! It’s also a good time to download an application on your phone to scan business cards and avoid entering them manually. Enter a few notes so you can bring up specific details in future correspondence. You’ll need this list after the event.
After the event:
Within a week of coming home, follow up with everyone you met. They’ll be more likely to remember you if you don’t wait too long. Again, write your follow-ups in the form of personalized emails and try to add one or two “takeaways” from the conference that you felt were valuable. If you can, publish a blog post or at least a social media post about what you learned at the conference. People who weren’t there or were busy meeting others might be happy to read a summary and your insights or analysis.
Finally, here are the events that we’ll be attending to kick off the season. Maybe we’ll see you there?
Event: Video Trends 2017 http://videohub.co.il/
Where: Tel Aviv
When: November 15th, 2016
Event: App Promotion Summit http://apppromotionsummit.com/BERLIN/2016/
Where: New York City
When: November 30th, 2016
Keren Golan is CRO at DMG