Published 08 December 2017 Category: Compass Tips

How To Prepare for Your First Business Conference

Heading into your first business conference may be quite overwhelming! So many things to plan, consider, and organise before you even get a chance to arrive at the conference! Here are 7 tips and best practices to help you gain the most experience before at your next conference:

1. Pre-Plan Schedule
Many conferences run for a few full days so it is essential to pre-plan everything ahead of time. Taking the time to organise everything ahead of time ensures that your focus is going to be solely on the conference.

2. Map Out Your Conference Strategy
Your goal is to build relationships, expand brand awareness, and most importantly, collect more leads for your company! Next, your execution has to be aligned with the above mentioned goals. To do so, each person on your team must be assigned a specific task. This helps to reduce stress at the conference itself and will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Strive to actively participate as much as possible in the conference. The more people you deliver your pitch to, the more you expand your company’s awareness.

Get cracking with ‘networking while you’re at it. Conferences give you an opportunity to speak to A LOT of people, therefore it is important that you know your product inside-out; well enough to communicate it fluently to prospects and avoid mumbling. Do some research on which competitors are attending the conference. By identifying your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths, you will be able to better position your product’s added value. Before attending your next conference, internalise your product or service’s strengths in order to fine tune your message, making sure it’s clear and concise.

3. Prepare Plenty of Marketing Collateral
The overarching goal of attending a conference is to promote your company, right? Therefore you need to bring enough marketing materials to hand out to prospects. Besides bringing a bunch of business cards, it will help if you create colorful flyers and printed physical copies of your best-performing eBooks, posters, etc.

When preparing the marketing collateral, ensure that all of the messaging, content, and call-to-actions support your company goal. And last but not least, branding is everything. Branding affects the human psychology, including consumer behaviour. How does this apply to conferences? Well, it influences how well your prospects can recall your company name. That’s why it’s vital to keep all of your marketing resources consistent in terms of brand colours, typography, language, images, etc.

4. Plan Social Media Strategy
Another important lesson is not to wait until after to post on social media. Take advantage of the momentum while you’re there! Social media is a vessel for creating a buzz around your exhibit. To leverage this, pack your social pipeline with lots of conference-related content – and scheduled it in advance. Quick tip: let your followers know the exact number of your stand so they can look out for you!

Another tactic you could utilise on social media is enticing people with freebies. You could take a slightly different approach by unveiling a new feature for the first time or giving free demos! No matter what the focus of the conference is, your social media strategy should complement it.

5. Encourage Employees to Share
Since there will be plenty of companies fighting for your audience’s attention, try employee advocacy. Believe it or not, employees are your most valuable marketing asset. Cumulatively, they have a much bigger follower-base than your corporate social accounts alone.

Throughout the conference, encourage your teammates to do some live sharing and tweeting. Harnessing their untapped reach will help to drive your content forward and ensure it’s received with more trust.

6. Swag Up the Booth
People are bored of seeing the same old pens, key holders, and sweets with companies’ logos on them. If you want to pull prospects closer to your booth then your freebie or gift bag needs to make a memorable statement. Try to think outside the box. What is something that people can relate back to your company, country of origin or work culture? It doesn’t have to be extravagant. People are most likely going to throw it away or give it to someone else, so your idea should be cost-efficient yet enticing.

7. Look & Feel Good
Are you ready for the final takeaway? Dress professionally but stay comfortable. You’re going to be on your feet for long hours and it can get quite exhausting.

Final Words
Plan, plan, and plan some more – spontaneity is not meant for conferences. Save yourself the trouble of having to buy and book things by preparing it all in advance. Map out your strategies for the conference itself and on social media. Generate as much hype around your company’s presence – employee advocacy does the trick. Bring plenty of marketing collateral to hand out to prospects, ensuring it’s on-brand. Make your stand attractive to prospects by either swagging it up with some unique freebies or being super friendly. And most importantly, be cool. You know your company better than others, so let your confidence shine and remember to communicate the value of your product or service.