Corporate and marketing events provide a perfect environment for those looking to engage and connect. As a sponsor, you can network, learn about current industry trends, and hear from key experts. Over the course of multiple days, you can both represent your company and build future partnerships with like-minded organizations. But it’s important to remember, that a conference is also a busy time, with packed schedules, and a long list of new names, possibilities, and information.
The experienced conference attendee knows that simply showing up is not enough, rather, there are steps one can take beforehand to maximize the opportunities offered by any event. Before and during a conference, it is a good idea to remember a handful of tips to help you make the most of your sponsor experience.
To-do List Items to Cross Off Before the Conference:
Have a Networking Strategy
To magnify your networking opportunities, do some research! The conference agenda is your roadmap to the people and companies you most want to connect with. Don’t leave it up to chance, instead, you can contact them ahead of time on LinkedIn or any other social media to arrange a meeting. It will be easier to connect if you have messaged beforehand, plus you can even set a time and place to meet. This way it will also be easier to keep track of future clients and contacts after the event ends.
Do Your Homework
When you’re at a conference, don’t just wait to be approached. Ask for a delegate list! You can pick and choose the best contacts to further your business. The on-site team is available to organize a meeting before or after the event if desired. Arranging ahead of time will help you make your experience more efficient and leave you more freedom to pursue other activities during a conference. The organizers are there to help you facilitate the networking you plan to do. So remember to be proactive in communication!
Formulate a Wishlist
Plan for the future! A few months ahead of the event, prepare a wishlist of companies you would love to see and give it to the organizers, so they can try inviting them to the conference. While there is no guarantee that they can get everyone you want to attend, this will still help you to forge the connections you need to develop your business. Connecting through the organizers is also easier since they will function as a trusted third party, avoiding the awkwardness of cold-calling a prospective client or business partner.
Get the Most out of Your Time
Many sponsorship packages include 2-3 delegate spots. Prior to the event divide up the responsibilities among all of your delegates, this way you can avoid missing out on any networking opportunities. Conference time is limited, so get the most out of it! If you followed the recommended steps of what to do ahead of time, your agenda should be packed with people to meet, speeches to attend, and information to learn. Delegate responsibilities so your team can maximize the opportunities you generate.
Make Your Speech Something to Remember
If your sponsorship package also includes a speaker slot, you might want to read our previous article on how to best format your materials and plan your speech. A good presentation will help promote your company, but a great presentation will make sure the audience remembers you. Make sure to prepare a well-written professional bio that highlights your knowledge and experience. This will also help during the networking phase, as possible contacts will already know who you are! And don’t forget to use professional photos and high-resolution logos. Your speech will suffer if all people can recall is blurry and poorly visible images.
During the conference, make sure to:
Think about Your Appearance
Your brand can benefit from an organized approach to materials. For example, you can stand out from the crowd by having your company representatives have your logo on their shirts or badges. An organized, coordinated dress code looks professional and leaves a good impression. If you are personable, friendly, and energetic, it will attach those properties to your brand image in the eyes of anyone you talk with. Remember, your outward appearance speaks volumes before you even utter a word.
Prepare Your Materials
Materials, such as pamphlets and brochures should be prepared ahead of time and sent to the conference organizers. They can make sure your materials are placed into the folders of all conference participants! B2B events allow you to connect with top decision-makers from your industry, so make sure to bring the sort of merchandise that will help them remember you and your brand. Common-use items like mugs, flash drives, and pens work perfectly for this, but don’t be afraid to get creative! Regardless, make sure the item is quality and functional to leave a positive impact.
Invest in a Stand or a Roll-up Banner
Prepare a stand where you can place your materials and interact with interested attendees. Answering questions and interacting face to face makes your business more memorable and can lead to more networking opportunities. It’s also easier to sell to potential clients person-to-person, instead of through inert promotional material. And last but not least, a roll-up banner, designed by your marketing team, will make your stand look much better.
A speech is also a great way to introduce yourself and your expertise. If you are giving a speech or presentation, don’t just promote your own organization or product, give a case study! This helps audiences tie your brand to a specific, real-world example and is considerably more interesting than just a PR speech. It also demonstrates your knowledge of the field. Remember to leave time for a Q&A! Interacting with the listeners will make your speaking time more memorable and personal, and you can connect with the audience better during the networking section. It also demonstrates your ability to think on your feet and add nuance. Plus, shortening the speech to make time for questions is a great way to help you focus on what you really want to say.
Utilize Social Media
Share your experiences on your social media! This way you can attract the interest of current and future clients. Regular posts and updates keep you at the forefront of potential customers’ minds both during and after the conference. This will also boost your visibility to potential clients at the event and possibly lead to new connections! A good speech can reach a wider audience through the internet and the materials you prepared can feature in your photos and posts! Also, consider interacting with the posts of your peers and the conference organizers. This is a great way to keep in touch with the connections made during the event.
A conference is a great chance to leave a lasting impression with your peers, through networking, speeches, and materials. You should always strive to finish each event feeling that you accomplished everything you intended to. But like any project, a bit of planning goes a long way. Use your sponsor status to get the most out of any event and don’t forget to communicate with the organizers! They are more than willing to help you succeed at reaching your goals. Keep the aforementioned ideas in mind and you will leave every conference satisfied with your performance.