If you haven’t been to a convention yet, you should really consider it. Going to a convention can be a great catalyst for gaining new customers and investors. Check out these steps on how you can get the most out of attending.
Step One: Define your company’s goals for the convention
The first thing you should do is figure out what you want to get out of the convention you attend. Professional development is a given, but here are some others paths you can achieve:
- Network with other’s in your industry
- Take pictures and videos for marketing purposes
- Pitch your company to potential clients and investors
- Increase your exposure through media outlets
- Use social media to raise your profile and gain new followers
- Build up marketing lists, such as your newsletter, email contacts, etc.
- Use speaking engagements to learn from others in your industry
Step Two: Choose the right convention
Attending a convention better suited for you is crucial. Don’t wait until the last minute, give yourself at least three months lead time. When choosing a convention, here’s what to look for:
- Relevancy – Make sure the convention is for your industry and check that your target audience will be attending
- Active social media channels – If they don’t market themselves well, the can’t market you well. Check out their social platforms and make sure they are actively using them and posting relevant content.
- A good website – A convention’s website should be the first thing you check out. If their website looks out of date and unorganized, it’s a sign this one may not be worth going to. If the website has updated information and looks organized, then they are more than likely to treat their convention the same.
- Who will be there? – Take a look at other businesses that will be going. If your competition is attending, then you should probably be going too. Make sure that other companies going have the same potential investors and clients as you do.
Step Three: Prepare for the convention
Once you have decided on a convention, now you can begin preparations. This could take quite a bit of time; it never hurts to start early! Check out these tips on how to prepare:
- Check out the competition – Now that you know what competition will be there, use that to your advantage. Find out if they will have a booth, where they will be located, and if they have a marketing plan for the event. Ask event organizers how many people will be attending, what media plan to be there, and any other questions you might have. The more you know, the better.
- Gather good signage – It’s important that you invest in good signage. This is something you can use for multiple occasions and display on social media. If you plan on renting a booth, make sure you order appropriate signage approved by the convention. You can never have too much, so bring as much as you want.
- Order printed marketing materials – Business cards are a must, but do your research on what materials will be most effective for your target audience. Then, order the materials you’ll need and make sure you have plenty.
- Get the media list – Ask the event organizers if they will share the media list with you. If you can get it, use it to your advantage. Contact reporters that might be interested in you and let them know what you have going on and any new products you’ll be debuting. Who knows, you might get an interview!
- Let people know you’ll be there – Post on social media and your website to let consumers know which convention you’ll be attending, when it is, and where to find you on the showroom floors.
Step Four: Attend the convention
If you’ve gotten this far, you can make it all the way. Attending the event is the fun part! This is what you need to do while you’re there.:
- Post on social media – use photos and videos from the convention with the event hashtags and keywords
- Meet new people – whether that be potential customers, investors, or other businesses
Step Five: Market your business after it’s over
Once you get back from the trip, the work is almost over, but there’s one more step to complete. Here’s what you should do next:
- Advertise media coverage – if your company got covered by any media while at the event, advertise it on your social channels and website for more exposure
- Follow up – if you received any business cards or leads, make sure to reach out to them after the event
- Analyze the results of the convention – This is the most important part; ask yourself these questions to help evaluate your time there. How many new sales and new leads did you acquire? Did your social media platforms and website get any new traffic? Were you able to increase your brand awareness? What kind of professional development did you get out of it?