Attending trade shows and large-scale industry events can be an expensive affair. Prior to the event, a company’s marketing team toils hard to get the logistics right. A significant portion of their event budget is spent on booth space, travel and stay for company executives, and customer engagement activities.Venue space at events is quite expensive. The event is almost deemed a failure if this space goes empty and sales teams come back without having met enough new prospects or leads.
So how do you ensure a full booth at an event? As a part of my role as Customer Success Evangelist for several Jifflenow accounts, I have shadowed event marketers from leading companies such as Cisco, Adobe, Dell, and VMWare. I have seen up-close what it takes to keep the footfall going. There is no single magic formula, but following certain best practices can get you off to a good start.
Rule no 1. Book meetings with customers and prospects well in advance
I can’t emphasize this enough. Event marketers can often get busy planning for the actual event days. You need to remember that your existing customers and prospects who will be present at the event will have their calendars booked. It’s crucial that you block their calendars so that Sales can meet them and advance or initiate deal discussions. Secure time with them well in advance so that you aren’t struggling at the last minute.
Rule 2. Use the list of pre-booked demos to procure higher event marketing budgets
Jifflenow research shows that pre-booked meetings are twice more likely to happen than the last minute ones. This also increases the chances of finding an available time slot on senior executives’ otherwise booked calendars. When you have many C-level executives pre-booked for the Sales team to meet, you can definitely build a stronger case for a higher marketing budget. This budget can in turn, be spent on branding building initiatives and delivering great customer experiences.
Rule 3: The meeting invite should be accompanied with a detailed agenda
Setting an agenda and sending out briefs prior to the events serves multiple purposes. It saves the initial 10 minutes of context setting for the discussion, and allows people to come prepared for the meeting. This helps shorten the sales cycle as executives go in with all the information needed to close the deal. Meetings with a detailed agenda get over in the stipulated time, and people are more likely to attend as they know what to expect out of the session. So make that additional effort of sending out a crisp agenda with any helpful reading briefs that can help advance the deal.
Rule 4: Be active on social networks
Event marketers at times underestimate the power of networking on social media platforms. Research shows that marketers who are active on networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram tend to generate more leads and meet more prospects at an event. A conversation that has begun online can lead to a better meeting offline. You can engage with tech bloggers, sales executives and leadership executives on Twitter and Linkedin, and post data driven articles about the event or trends on various forums. This builds your credibility as a thought leader and also helps you understand the interests of your customers and prospects better.
Rule 5: Brand, Brand and Brand!
To maximize the potential of a great product, it is important to have a strong brand image. Offline and online branding creates audience recall, which in turn enables people to remember the product.Create a comprehensive branding strategy that includes branding communication guidelines, printed collaterals, online banner ads, social shares and offline company banners at events. A strong brand can sell even a mediocre product. But without branding, even strong products get lost in the sea of new technologies.
At Jifflenow, we understand the importance of making the most out of your event booths. Our amazing customer success team works round the clock in order to ensure that you pre-book your meetings, increase attendance of senior executives, and reduce your sales cycles. We have a ton of resources on best practices for event marketers that can help you with smart meeting management at your next event.