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How To Pull Off Your Conference Marketing Strategy

You’ve already learned how to exploit conference marketing as a brand building tactic, and how to build a business case that will get you the budget you need to exhibit at a conference. Assuming that all goes smoothly, you’re now tasked with delivering on your promises and capturing leads at the actual conference. This is where things will really start to heat up, so don’t let the pressure get to you and put all that planning you’ve put in already go to waste. Here’s what you need to know.

Conference marketing strategy onsite

Before you get to the conference, make a checklist of everything you’ll need. This will vary depending on what you want to do, but here’s what we recommend bringing:

  • Business cards
  • Print collateral and invites
  • Signage for your booth
  • Booth clothes, either a previously decided on uniform or clothing with bright patterns or colors to draw attention
  • An extra laptop
  • iPads or tablets
  • Extra chargers
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies
  • Scissors and packing tape

While your specific needs may vary, bringing this kit will prepare you for networking and brand outreach, tech issues, booth cleaning and shipping logistics. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be equipped to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

Run of show and booth tips

Just before arriving onsite or shortly after, you’ll want to talk through run of show with your team. This means going through the conference from start to finish, discussing logistics and finalizing your talking points and pitches. It’s important not to neglect this, since once the fur starts flying at the conference, there won’t be much time to plan big-picture.

In addition, you’re going to want to maximize your face time—after all that’s why you’re at the conference. Here are our best suggestions for how to do that:

  • Take notes about every conversation immediately afterwards so you can keep track of how you should follow up
  • Compare notes and pitches with your teammates to see what’s resonating when you have downtime
  • Invite promising contacts to your customer event
  • Pass off your best prospects to your closer—that’s what they’re there for

You should also make yourself approachable and make conversation with people as they pass by the booth. Train yourself to scan people that stop by the booth; be diligent about this and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your quoted number of leads. Make time to regroup as a team as well so you can make sure that you’re on track to hit your target goals, have promising contacts to pass onto sales and consider your one-pager and tchotchke inventory.

After the conference

Once the conference ends, the first thing you’ll want to do is prioritize your contact scans and keep the momentum up. Sending out a post-drip conference campaign can be crucial to following up on those leads. 80% of trade show exhibitors don’t follow up after the conference ends, and you don’t want to be in this number and let all your hard work go to waste.

Finally, you should revisit your initial goals and begin calculating your ROI. Start preparing for a recap meeting with your stakeholders if applicable. It can be tough to measure success with a physical event, but tracking your actual returns against your goals can be a great way to do that. If you plan well, follow through and—most importantly—chase those leads once you get them, conferences can be a powerful tool in your company’s marketing arsenal. If you’d like a more in-depth look at conference marketing, check out Kapow’s exclusive whitepaper on crushing your conference strategy here.

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