Staging events helps your business connect directly with an audience. Here's how to do it properly.
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Most business leaders have one thing in common, they want the best for their business. Many enquiries that we get tend to be businesses and companies looking to showcase their offering at events, but they’re just not quite sure how to go about it.
If you’re like many people we speak to, you believe you should be using events and know that they can benefit your business in many ways. But you’re not too sure how to begin.
We’ve been running events for 15 years and seen first-hand how events can transform a business. A rich, memorable experience is an effective marketing tool and gives you face-to-face access to your target audience. Here’s a few of our recommendations and tips on how to showcase your business through events in 2017.
Host events to educate an audience
People usually attend events to network and be educated. Do you have a unique product to promote or thought leadership in your team? If you have a strong reason to invite a bunch of prospects, clients, employees or stakeholders to the same room, hosting an event is a powerful way to set you and your company apart from the competition.
When we run conferences, there is something very powerful about the content inspiring delegates. You’ll leave them inspired and energised from their experience, with actionable ideas to take away and improve their performance.
Hosting your own event allows you to define the message
Speak at events to catapult your brand awareness
Guest speaking can position you as an expert within your field, and give you access to a targeted audience. Take the time to identify target events, or reach out to your local business clubs to find speaking opportunities. You’ll need to come up with a great topic that fits the theme of the event, and one the audience will find useful. And then go for it!
We’ve produced many industry conferences where a guest speaker wows the audience and has a queue of people wanting to speak to them afterwards.
Our advice is to create a one-page pitch you can use to put yourself forward for speaker opportunities. As you become more experienced, collect testimonials and video footage to showcase why you’d be a fantastic guest speaker.
If this all sounds too daunting, presentation training will help you to improve your confidence and delivery.
Attend events to grow your network
A strong personal network will open up doors and build mutually beneficial relationships.
Try to attend industry gatherings and relevant events or conferences. Look out for local business clubs which put on regular events with business leaders in the local community. In Nottingham, we have two high profile business clubs which each meet monthly with presentations from local businesses and the opportunity to network.
Networking events can be hit or miss. Don’t try to sell. Ask questions and you’ll hear people talk about their business challenges. Look for opportunities to help or introduce them to other members of your network.
And be social. Follow up with your new connections on LinkedIn, and follow them on Twitter. If you plug your new connections into your wider platforms you’ll have more opportunities to keep in touch and convert over time.
Exhibiting at an event puts you in front of new customers and partners
Exhibit at events to sell more stuff
If you want short-term lead generation, then you should consider exhibitions. They offer a unique opportunity to meet prospects face-to-face. It’s important to pick the right exhibitions – consider if your target audience will be in the room. Do your research before attending and find out numbers of attendees and who else will be exhibiting.
If you decide to take the plunge and exhibit your company, good preparation is key. Make sure your messaging is consistent across your stand and company literature.Think about how you engage with people before your event. Video is a great tool to help prospects recognise your brand and remember why you’re relevant to them.
And perfect your company pitch. You might only have 30 seconds with a prospect so nail your USP. This is also where presentation training can be very useful - the more you have spoken about your business and offering the better.
If you’re collecting leads or business cards, come up with a system to categorise the prospect. Perhaps a scale of 1-5 will help you to prioritise your follow-up activity.
Hopefully you’ll complete sales at the exhibition, but this isn’t always your main goal. The hard work starts after the event. This is where remarketing becomes really important. Be sure to follow-up your leads with a personalised approach, invite them to respond and meet you to discuss in more detail.