Local events are a perfect way to showcase your business. Yet, they can also be a huge waste of time and resources if not done correctly. The last thing you want to do is create a laughing stock of your business right there in the open for everyone to see. To ensure that this doesn’t happen you need to prepare accordingly and plan ahead. If you aren’t exactly sure how you’re supposed to do this, just keep on reading.
Research the Event
Conducting meticulous research beforehand is crucial for finding the right event for your particular business. You don’t want to attend just any event (and waste your precious time and money), you want to attend the event that will help you promote your business in the best possible light; help you generate new leads; and expand your network. Also, you want to know exactly what you can expect from such an event, so you can put a proper plan in place and prepare accordingly. Once you find the right fit for your business, you need to continue the good work and find out exactly which stands you want to visit (and at what times) and put them on your schedule; you want to have a clear goal once you’re there, instead of running around like a headless chicken. If need be, contact people you want to connect with before the event to set up a meeting.
Prepare Promotional Materials (And Lots of It)
Now that you know which event you’ll be attending and how (vendor, speaker, participant), you need to prepare adequate promotional material to give out to attendees. Namely, I’m talking about a business card. No matter how small (or big) the event may be, a business card is your ticket to finding prospective clients and customers for your business. Next, you should consider using some giveaways—in the form of branded pens,custom flash drives, T-shirts, CDs, and so on—to attract people to your stand. What’s more, remember to always follow these up with specially-made brochures and encourage your clients to leave a business card for your fishbowl before they move on.
Prepare an Awesome Stand
Your event booth is like a window into your business. As a result, you need to ensure that it portrays you (and your business) in the best possible light and that it gives your prospective clients a good first impression. Generally speaking, custom exhibition stands tend to draw in more customers as their unique (and on-brand) design makes you stand out from the crowd a lot better than your run-of-the-mill stand. Also, make sure you hire the right people for the job, as there’s nothing worse than a makeshift stand with a poorly developed, and unprofessional, design. In addition, the design should be consistent with your online branding. That way, your fans and followers will recognize your stand from miles away, and hopefully, stop by for a visit.
Promote the Event on Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting your brand both during and after the event, if used correctly. For instance, you want to inform your followers at least two to three weeks prior to the event, so they can fit it in their schedule. Speaking of which, post a time-table of exactly when they can expect to meet you during the event to ensure that they don’t just pass you by. Use the appropriate hashtags and announcements to build interest and promote what’s happening at your stand during the event. This will (hopefully) create a fear-of-missing-out effect on your followers and draw in their attention. Once you have them all hooked up, offer them a discount or another reason to stop by and visit your stand.
Network, Network, Network
If you’ve done everything right, by now there should be a huge crowd of enthusiastic attendees sieging your stand. Make sure you speak with as many people as you can, and don’t forget to give them your business card as networking in general is crucial for expanding your business. Another thing you ought to do is attend all the various activities organized during the event; you never know who you’ll end up meeting there. Also, use this time to snoop around the competition and gather valuable intel on other products, organization, and companies as well. If you find yourself overwhelmed, get some more people and it and split-up; just remember to leave someone behind to watch over your stand.
Always Do a Follow-Up
This one is huge, but easily forgotten. All your hard-earned efforts will go down the drain if you don’t contact leads before the trail goes cold. Of course, you cannot (and should not) follow every single lead; it’s a waste of time. Instead, prioritize the most promising leads and go from there. Also, now’s the time to investigate any business opportunities you’ve uncovered during the event. Finally, you want to do a ‘post-mortem’ and determine which tactics have worked in your favour, and which ones require a bit more tweaking. Evaluate your overall performance and note down the number of leads and contacts you’ve generated, and ask yourself: Was there enough promotional material? How well was it receive? Where your strategies effective at drawing in new attendees? What could you do better next time?
All in all, local events are the place to be. Make sure your stand is top-notch and on-brand; prepare plenty of promotional material for your loyal fans and followers; create a positive buzz on social media, and you’re good to go. Also, remember to keep a smile on your face and give out as many business cards as you can. Good luck.