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Events Are Back! 5 Tips To Crush Your Next Conference

Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. 

The booth is set up, swag is stocked, and your meeting spreadsheets are ready to be filled. 

Sound familiar? Welcome to the life of an event marketer. Preparing for conferences and tradeshows can be hard work. But after a year-ish hiatus, the excitement of returning to live events (hopefully) overshadows the nitty-gritty of the job. 

We’re simply stoked to get back to face-to-face conferences. Plus, many think live events are more essential than ever this year.  

That’s why we put together some tips to make the most of the red-hot return of events. Whether you’re a little rusty or raring to go, let’s make this your best conference year yet. 

Embrace your community

After a year of virtual happenings, many of us have grown accustomed to registering at the last minute because you can simply hop onto a link the next day. Combine this behavior with tight budgets, competition for attention, and demanding marketing priorities, and we no longer have the luxury of planning and campaigning for months in advance. 

Thus, it’s advantageous to tap into communities. In this context, we mean event attendees, organizers, internal teams, partners, speakers, and sponsors. Everyone should play a role in promoting the event.

Leverage these relationships and ask them to help share content, encourage registrations, and hype up the big day. Make it easier for them to do so by providing graphics, links, and example copy to make their own. 

Bonus, people want to hear from other people. As humans, we’re wired for connection. And after the last year, it’s more important than ever. Simply being real, and marketing as real humans, as opposed to a brand, creates authenticity and personability.

Capitalize on time before and after the event

While the day of the event rightfully receives the most attention, you’re missing out on tremendous opportunities if you aren’t taking advantage of moments before and after the event. 

In addition to your landing page, emails, and social posts, how are you engaging with attendees and prospects beforehand? Are you still using messy, manual spreadsheets for your reps to coordinate meetings at the event? 

The event booking process is error-prone without event meeting automation. Make sure that meetings and attendance don't slip through the cracks by using a tool that connects with your calendar and replaces those untidy spreadsheets. 

The right meeting solution, like Chili Piper Events, allows you to coordinate availability among reps, meeting spaces, and attendees — making the entire process quick and easy. Think of the time you’ll get back that won’t be spent scouring through docs and going back and forth trying to book meetings! 

This tool is advantageous for post-events, too. When trying to capture leads or conversations at the conference, use the tool to book follow-up meetings on the spot, making it easier for both you and your prospect. 

Here’s an example of what the Events product looks like when scheduling and routing meetings. The tool syncs directly with Gmail and Outlook, so your follow-up meetings are never double-booked. Bonus, the solution also connects to Salesforce, so all meeting activities (before, during, and after the event) are accurately captured. 

Psst … Curious about trying Events? We're relaunching the product — join the list to be the first to know about the launch!

Elevate your event technology game 

There’s an ample opportunity for hybrid events this year, as some COVID-19 protocols may still be in place, and the landscape is different around the world. And even for the 100 percent in-person conferences, the bar is high to engage in interactive and cross-platform trends.

One of our favorite considerations is that of immersive, contextually aware experiences. Some of these activations we recommend exploring include: 

  • Gamification: Mobile-powered game experiences that can take place at the booth or after 

  • Location-based sponsorships: Mobile triggers that send as attendees walk by your booth or other locations of interest

  • Tech-supported networking: Participate in event apps that make it easier for attendees to meet and connect 

Networking includes the meetings you and your sales team want to have at an event. Technology is your best friend in these moments to make sure the right reps can meet with the right attendees without the mess and ineffectiveness of spreadsheets.

For example, Chili Piper Events makes it easy for attendees to pre-book event meetings on your website, including the simple selection of meeting rooms. Bonus, these pre-booked meetings are automatically qualified and assigned to the right rep to ensure high-quality meetings, which means better ROI. Here’s an example of what this looks like: 

Experiment with creative new ideas 

Excitement levels at live events this year are going to be at an all-time high. So capitalize on that energy by:

  • Experimenting with wacky ideas

  • Innovate on what has worked for you in the past

  • And try out those creative ideas you’ve been reluctant to try

Take our friends at Avalara, an automated tax compliance software, as an example. Their team is no stranger to executing at conferences and tradeshows. They’re used to maximizing ROI by using Chili Piper Events. They took further advantage of this tool by scheduling group meetings at their booth between partners and sales reps. 

The Avalara team also combined the Events product with Concierge, enabling them to create a landing page that went out in event promotion emails. Attendees could then pre-book at their convenience, routing them automatically to the right rep’s availability at the event. 

We also love these fun ideas: 

  • Implement virtual reality at your booth: Can you create a simulation that lends to your service or product? VR tools today make this feasible and relatively affordable. 

  • Enhance your booth experience: Most booths look pretty similar. If you must have a booth, spend an extra penny and try something new to make yours stand out. (we love these examples)

  • Get out from behind the booth: Maximize time beyond the booth by executing content on-site (e.g., on-site interviews turned into video content) and trying out some guerilla marketing activations (like the year Gong wrapped Ubers that were serving attendees at a conference)

Make the most of face-to-face time

If you’ve ever manned the booth at a conference or tradeshow, you know it can be hectic. When booth traffic is high and you’re juggling conversations, it can be hard to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity.

Event meeting automation can be handy here once again. In these chaotic moments, this tech helps you not waste time and quickly book a follow-up meeting with your attendee. 

Pro tip: Our friends at Avalara are trying something creative here, too. They’re making QR codes that are connected to their booking link(s). This allows visitors to immediately book a meeting on the spot, or save the card with a code to book later on. 

Additionally, we’ve seen reps have success at making the most of face time by offering authentic incentives to attendees. An integration between Sendoso and Chili Piper Events enables SDRs to automatically send a gift to anyone who books through their link. When executed in a genuine way, this sort of giving can help build rapport between you and attendees. 

Bottom line

With event meeting automation in place, you don’t have to wait until after an event for sales to sort through spreadsheets and email lists, and then schedule follow-up meetings. Take advantage of moments at the event when attendees are interested, rather than following up a week later when they may have lost interest or forgotten about you altogether. Plus, who doesn’t want to generate more ROI? 

Check out Chili Piper Events today

We can’t wait to see what ideas you implement to propel your marketing this year. Cheers to the best event season yet! 

About the Author

Chelsea Castle is the Director of Content Marketing at Chili Piper. A journalist turned empathy-driven marketer, she's also a concert junkie who can often be found #doingthings outside and crafting creative ways to be sustainable.

Profile Photo of Chelsea Castle