A conference is an excellent opportunity to network with people in your industry and generate new leads for your company. To be as effective as you possibly can at lead generation, it helps to plan ahead. By strategizing ways to generate interest in your company and get people thinking about working with you, you can ensure you use your time at a conference as wisely and effectively as possible. Below, we’ve compiled a step-by-step playbook that offers strategies on how to draw in new leads.
Gather a List of Attendees
You can usually obtain a list of attendees by simply asking the host of the conference for one. However, if they don’t provide you with one, consider searching for a previous year’s list or scraping emails from a related group on LinkedIn. Once you’ve gathered your contacts, you can sort through them and see which ones qualify as potential clients and reach out to them.
Leverage Marketing Automation
Marketing automation tools like HubSpot make it easier to reach out to multiple people simultaneously. They even have the ability to track conference ROI with attribution reporting. You should use marketing automation to send emails to target prospects attending the conference, including a personalized message telling them you’d like to engage with them in person. It’s also beneficial to include information about the event, your booth schedule, or a giveaway you’re having.
Set Up Meetings in Advance
Once you know which customers and peers will be attending, be sure to set up meetings in advance. You can do this by creating and sharing an online calendar with attendees so they can schedule a meeting or demo at your booth. Make it clear they should sign up so they can skip the lines.
Plan Your Booth
Your booth is your hub and home base at the conference. Plan ahead so it looks good and serves your needs. Set up a large monitor to display a video about your company that includes key information so potential prospects can get a better idea of what your company does. According to HubSpot, 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service. Below is an example of a video we did for our client, Advent Health Partners.
Write a Pre-Conference Blog
You can generate buzz by writing and sharing a pre-conference blog post. Give readers a rundown of the event and highlight some of the key speakers and companies attending it. When you publish the blog, tag the speakers so they can see the blog and share it on their social channels. Go the extra mile by directly sending them the post with a short note on LinkedIn so they are sure to notice what you’ve written. Below is a template you can follow when writing your pre-conference blog.
Offer a Free Resource
To add value to your booth, plan to offer a free resource to any attendees you meet. This could be a comprehensive report, helpful tips, or an interview with a thought leader in your industry. As long as you’re offering quality information, you’re establishing your company as a go-to resource for others in your industry. If you’re looking for a good example of a free resource, check out our Smark Tool Box.
Conduct a Giveaway
Decide on a giveaway to draw people to your booth. You should give people a usable, everyday item. Make sure the item has your company logo on it. That way, people will see a reminder of your business daily and think about working with you. Here are 7 things to consider when choosing a conference giveaway.
Host an Event
Consider hosting an event at the conference. For example, you may want to hold a private roundtable meeting or a happy hour that attracts people from different organizations. Conferences typically involve large crowds and it can be a challenge to form meaningful connections. Holding your own private event and engaging with potential clients one-on-one will make it easier for you to nurture relationships.
Interview or Showcase an Expert
Schedule expert interviews with speakers at your booth. Big names will draw people in. You can also use this as an opportunity to generate more content. Consider repurposing the interview into a blog post or a podcast you can share on your company website.
Advertise on Social
Setup retargeting ads to market to attendees on social networks before, during, and after the conference. If someone has looked into your business or the event itself, make sure you get them to commit by reminding them again in their online ad space. In addition to running ads, you should take advantage of social to post about the event. Share behind-the-scenes pictures, video highlights, or a tour of the venue so your followers can experience the conference too.
When you gain a new lead, it’s important to follow-up with them. After the conference, send follow-up emails to anyone you spoke with. Personalize each message by mentioning a specific topic you discussed. If you discussed doing business together, reiterate why you think your company’s services align with that person’s needs. Here’s an example of a follow-up email.
Get Feedback with Surveys
Improve your playbook for the next conference by using surveys. You can use survey tools to capture attendee information while gaining valuable insights. Be sure to ask them about their experience, specifically what they liked and disliked. This will allow you to learn what strategies work best and gather new ideas to implement in the future.
Need help planning for an upcoming conference? Contact us and we’ll make sure you meet your conference goals.