Conferences and trade shows can be excellent places to learn, make connections, and promote your brand as a thought leader among your peers and clients. People love to gather and learn about the latest products, hear keynote speakers remark on the latest industry insights, and connect with like-minded individuals in the same space.
However, there is a big difference between being a conference attendee and a sponsor or presenter. If you have never sponsored or presented at a conference before, you may be wondering how to get your company’s name out there in a way that will resonate with your audience.
In the swarm of conference goers, it’s easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed. However, people tend to flock toward speakers and presenters who create a presence for themselves that’s unlike anything else. Simply put, they stand out.
Here are some ideas to help your company stand out at your next conference:
1. Make your booth awesome
If you’re sponsoring or promoting your company at a trade show, and have access to a booth (or even just a table), then do what you can to make the most of it. Your booth doesn’t need to be obnoxious — but it should be obvious. Here are a few ways to grab the attention of conference attendees:
- Display a pop-up banner. Pop-up banners — also called retractable banners — are a great way to make your company name, brand, and services more visible. These banners roll up for easy transportation and create
eye-catching visuals to make your space your own.
- Bring lots of giveaways. Whether it’s personalized pens, free candy, or custom t-shirts, promotional giveaways are always a fun way to draw a crowd. If you can, spice up your gifts to make them stand out from others in the mix.
- Incorporate an activity. Handing out free swag is one thing. Encouraging guests to spin a prize wheel to win a more exclusive prize? Even better. Other companies have incorporated props like roulette wheels. Draw attention with special interactive components and you’ll have even more opportunities to engage with visitors and make a lasting connection.
Of course, the most important aspect of your booth is the people behind the table. Above all, be sure that you are representing your company with smiling, friendly people who convey a warm and authentic personality. Introduce yourselves, shake hands, ask questions, and listen. After all, lasting relationships are built on communication and trust.
2. Make your giveaways stand out
Chances are that lots of other companies will be giving away their own promotional items at your conference. To make yours stand out, think about your audience. For instance, certain content marketing agencies like to give away custom notebooks with their logo on the front. This reminds people of the company’s focus (content) and gives them something truly useful — especially during a conference when they’re bound to be taking lots of written notes.
Custom jotters — small spiral notebooks — are another great giveaway, especially when they come with pens included. They’re great for those who have forgotten a pen and paper, and small enough to stick in a purse or briefcase.
Personalized pencils and pens are another common (and useful) giveaway. Make yours stand out by choosing LED flashlight pens or stylus pens branded with your custom logo. Attendees will love the additional utility and be more apt to remember your brand over another.
3. Establish a social media presence
It’s not uncommon for conference organizers to promote their sponsors, booths, and speakers during the days preceding the event, during the conference, and then after the event is through. You can do the same through your own social media platforms.
- Take the time to study your online branding. Are you using design elements to reinforce the look and feel of your website or logo? Is your messaging in line with your products, services, and overall mission? Consider the photos, colors, images, and messaging on your profile pages and make sure they look sharp and accurate.
- Do some research to learn which social media channels your prospective clients are using. Then, post some of your most recent content and make some connections for how it relates to the upcoming trade show.
- Follow the keynote speakers on Twitter or Facebook to see what they’re talking about. Consider adding to the conversation with your own insights or experience, or share their posts to your own feed.
- Know the handles and hashtags associated with your conference and key conference presenters. Then, listen in on the conversations happening online. This way, you can get a sense of what people are most interested in, and the ways in which you can help solve their problems.
Many conference goers stay connected during and in between conference sessions, as well as while walking about a trade show. Use hashtags, post photos, and publish useful information to encourage people to find your booth and say hello.
When attendees come to conferences, they plan to walk from booth to booth to see what they can learn — and freebies are available. Once you get their attention with your exciting booth, great visuals, unique giveaways, or pure charm, you will only have a few minutes to convey your company’s products, services, and value proposition.
Take the time to practice your product pitch out loud and with a smile. Make eye contact with the people who visit, and speak in a warm and friendly tone. When you know exactly what you want to say and how to say it concisely and with purpose, you’re bound to make an impression.
When preparing for a trade show or corporate conference, approach it with your audience in mind. Ask yourself what they want to see, hear, and learn, and which giveaways would mean the most to them. By stepping up your game on social media, designing an eye-catching booth, and knowing your pitch inside and out, you’ll be sure to keep your company top-of-mind.