Conferences continue to be an important networking tool. This is especially true for companies that provide products and services to other businesses. Big contracts require a high amount of trust and confidence. Many will only deal with people they know personally. Events like these provide opportunities for their representatives to introduce themselves and the companies they represent. If they play their cards right, then they could attract a lot more clients and land lucrative deals. Presenting at a conference is a good first step but they should follow this up with other strategic moves.
1. Give out promotional products.
Businesses can improve brand awareness by giving out promotional products. This is a tried and tested marketing strategy. One of the best things about it is that you can choose from countless products to suit the situation and the targets. If you are in a construction conference, then you can give out measuring tapes, flashlights, or multi-tools. If you are in an outdoor conference, then you could give out water bottles, caps, shirts, or jackets. Every detail can be customized to your liking. Print your logo and your website address on the items so that interested parties can check out your business.
2. Send out email newsletters.
While you can simply hand out the promo items, you can also ask people to provide their contact details in exchange for the freebies. Tell them that this is for your email newsletter that contains the latest business news and promos. They might even get discounts by signing up. If they consent to the terms, then you have yourself new leads that can turn into paying clients later on. Even a modest conversion rate can prove to be worth the initial investment. Stay consistent with the delivery of high quality information to keep people interested.
3. Get active on the event page.
Most events these days have their own social media page or even their own dedicated websites. These contain all of the relevant details that may be of interest to the attendees and the media covering the event. People may confirm their attendance and start discussions with their peers. It is a great place to get to know the audience before your presentation. You can gauge the mood and the energy in these pages to match them later on. You could start getting active on these event pages and share your thoughts on the hot topics to establish your competence.
4. Become a social butterfly.
Familiarize yourself with the layout of the venue and find good spots to hang out. Try to socialize with other people in the vicinity and get to know the businesses they represent. A lot of the networking happens between the scheduled event so make use of these chances. As much as possible, book a room in the official event hotel so that you can be together with the other participants. This will also give you more chances to interact with industry players in a more relaxed manner.
5. Exchange calling cards.
You will be meeting a lot of people during the event. It will be difficult to keep track of them all. It is also hard to write down their contact details one by one given the brevity of your encounters. Instead, you should bring a lot of copies of your calling card. Give these to every person you come into contact with and ask for theirs as well. You can write notes on the cards you collected and contact the most promising leads later on. You can take pictures of these cards for a digital archive in case you lose the physical copies. This will also make them easier to carry around.
6. Organize an informal side event.
If you are up to it, then you can go ahead and organize events that may be of interest to other conference participants. This could be a formal meet-up to discuss a certain topic that is relevant to your presentation. Those who could not ask questions because of time constraints during the main event can use this opportunity to do so. You might also initiate an informal meet-up to unwind with other attendees at a restaurant. You may play a round of golf or explore notable places in the area. You can also attend such gatherings organized by other people and meet potential clients in these groups.