In an increasingly digital world, it's more important than ever to form real connections with people.
Webinars and virtual conferences certainly have their advantages, but they aren’t the best way to foster strong relationships or drive engagement with current and potential customers.
That’s one of the reasons you’re planning to attend a live, in-person event, right?
Whether you’re participating as an attendee, renting booth space, or sponsoring the event, your key objective is likely the same — to meet potential customers and generate more ROI. But attending industry events can be very expensive. You don’t want to waste your time or your company’s money by showing up unprepared.
We're here to show you how to plan for your next event to ensure you get the most out of your next conference or tradeshow.Here’s how to plan your next event.
You might be taking a day or more away from your business and family to attend an event so you’ll want to ensure it’s worthwhile.
Determining your goals and objectives ahead of time — for yourself and the stakeholders — is part of that.
So be sure to consider the following when planning for the event.
Your reasons for attending the event may include one or more of the following.
Identify objectives that support the goal of your event. Here are some examples.
Having clear goals and objectives will help you create your event plan and strategy for interacting with current and potential customers. They also lay the groundwork for that all-important event ROI for stakeholders.
Of course, it’s important to create a budget in advance — with a little padding for the inevitable adjustments you’ll make along the way.
If you’ve sponsored or exhibited at events in the past, you may have this process down pat. But if it’s your first or second event, there might be costs you haven’t considered.
As you're planning for your event, here are all the potential line items to take into account.
If you learn about the event, attendees, and speakers ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus your time and energy more effectively during the event. Here’s what to do.
If you’re an event sponsor or exhibitor, you may need to assemble a team to represent your brand effectively.
These are the typical roles and responsibilities you’ll want covered to be successful.
Conferences are all about using your time wisely and getting the most out of the experience.
There will probably be loads of sessions to choose from — many more than you could attend. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the event schedule ahead of time so you can prioritize your options.
If you expect to conduct meetings during the event, look into booking meeting rooms or review the venue layout for any areas that have been designated for this purpose.
Considering hosting a networking event such as a happy hour, coffee break, or dinner? Whether you’d just include your prospects and customers or sponsor an event for all attendees, you’ll need to solidify those event plans as early as possible.
If you network before, during, and after the event (like you should!), you can expect to see an uptick in your social profile views. That’s why it’s essential to optimize and update Twitter and LinkedIn with content that will engage and resonate with your new connections.
If you’re a speaker, exhibitor, or sponsor, you should consider creating an event marketing plan to promote your attendance and attract potential prospects. While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, a multichannel approach will expand your reach and generate more interest.
Leverage whichever marketing channels and tactics resonate most with your target audience.
Whether there’s a handful or hundreds of exhibitors and sponsors, you need to make an impression and find ways to set your brand apart. The same holds true if you’re attending the event solo.
Here are some ways to be memorable.
Technology has made it a lot easier to plan and execute professional events — it creates a better experience for attendees too.
You can also use technology to manage and evaluate all the connections you make so you can prove the value of the event. Luckily, you probably have some of those solutions in place already.
Here’s what you should have in your toolkit.
Remember the goals and objectives you established for attending this event in the first place? You’ll need a process to determine whether you’ve met them so you can present the all-important event ROI to stakeholders.
Here are some indicators of success.
Now that you know how to plan and get the most out of an event, it’s time to start packing.
In the meantime, you can get a head start on driving the event ROI by booking meetings at your conference ahead of time.
Check out Chili Events and schedule a demo.