Event marketing has evolved quite a bit during the past 10 years. Today’s marketing budget must be utilized in the most cost efficient ways to do effective lead generation and to deliver real ROI when you exhibit at an industry conference. As my team finalizes plans for Social Fresh East 2012, I would like to share some conference marketing elements that can produce successful lead generation strategies for your next event.
Before the Conference
Prior to the conference communicate your plans to exhibit at the event through social media. Write one or more blog posts about the topics to be covered at the conference, and your company’s contribution to these topics to illustrate your credibility on those topics.
Invite people to visit with you at the conference. Use Twitter hashtags such as #SocialFresh to promote the event and your participation. Create several tweets about the event and send them aggressively in the final 3 weeks leading up to the conference.
Promote other exhibitors and speakers that will be at the conference through social media. Some of them will spread your messages as they also promote their participation in the event. In other words, help each other by promoting each others participation in the conference.
Send out a promotional marketing piece with a QR code that invites people to register at your exhibit with the QR code for a chance to win something.
Marketing Tips At the Conference
Do you remember Andre Agassi’s well known commercial in the 90s? His famous line was “image matters.” In most cases you are making a first impression with your exhibit at the conference. Every visual element matters from the graphics, to the wardrobe of the staff. Sweat those details to make a good first impression about your company and your products. Image matters…
You don’t have to be the largest exhibitor with the largest or most creative display to get high quality leads at a conference. You want to attract traffic to your display. You want to inspire visitors to engage with your team in conversation. And, you want to make it easy and fun for visitors to provide information about them including their interests and contact details.
Consider having a tabletop or tablet application that displays a solution you’ve created for other customers. By allowing people to see your solutions in action you can engage with visitors. Consider having a brief questionnaire that can be completed on the spot on a tablet device. Give people an incentive to answer your questions with an offer.
QR and NFC Codes
If you sent out a piece before the event inviting people to visit your exhibit, they can scan their QR code at your booth to get entered in your offer. BTW, your offer can be as simple as a free website analysis. You don’t need a big budget to make this work. Ask people to complete the digital questionnaire on the spot to capture their interest and contact info. While some smartphones already have the NFC chip, many of the new phones rolling out in 2012 with the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS will boast the NFC chip set. Think about offering an NFC tag within your display for effortless data exchange.
Whether your company is well established and well known or it’s a newcomer, branding is always an important consideration in your conference marketing strategy. Make sure your story is told effectively in all your materials and that event staff is well versed in how to articulate your value proposition and call to action at the conference.
After the Conference
If you invest time planning for a successful conference, don’t forget to plan your follow up after the event. Have an email written and sent the day after the conference thanking people for visiting with you. Keep it brief, but emphasize the main point that differentiates you from others at the event. Have a relevant call to action. Have a second email ready to go about one week later with another call to action.
Don’t turn your event list over to a hungry pack of sales folks to call the day after the conference. That will not differentiate you. Follow up calls can be effective when combined with your digital touchpoints both in timing and synchronized with your your key messaging.
Find and Convert is a sponsor and exhibitor at Social Fresh 2012 conference in Tampa on February 6 and 7. The winter months are a great time to visit Florida. Come see us at Social Fresh. You just might win a free website analysis!