It’s All in the (Event) Details

Event sponsorships play a significant role in any company’s marketing strategy – and their ROI increases exponentially with the right preparation.

The major steps of pre-conference preparation are often easy to identify – Whom from your company should attend? What level of sponsorship best suits your budget? Is there a speaking opportunity? There are a myriad of more granular considerations, however, and each can have a major impact on your event presence.

Here are 10 tips to ensure that you get the most out of your conference schedule:

1. Curb Appeal   

Items like branded banners, table skirts and giveaways make a visual impact and separate pros from the amateurs. These materials can also be reused, making the most of your initial investment.

2. Table Stock  

After forking over the money to exhibit at an event, it can seem like an unnecessary additional expense to order premiums such as branded notepads or pens. These items, however, serve as an understated way to promote your company name, and though unexciting, people always need pens and notebooks, especially at conferences.

3. Think outside the Package

If your company is considering sponsoring an event, don’t be afraid to get creative. While conference organizers will likely have existing sponsorship packages, they’re always willing to entertain new ideas. This is a great approach for brands who want increased visibility without the platinum-level price tag. Ask about sponsoring the venue wifi, branding the agendas or providing the lanyards passed out to attendees.

4. Build out the Rolodex

Make sure to grab a card from anyone who stops by your table. Putting out a clear bowl is an easy way to collect cards – ensuring that you can follow up on conversations and keep track of potential leads or business partners.

5. Plan Ahead

Things like printing sell sheets, ordering premiums, and organizing collateral deliveries take time. Be sure to give yourself a buffer in case something goes wrong. It will save you a headache – and rush fees.

6. House Rules

Many event spaces have rules, requirements and additional fees around things such as deliveries, set-up and even what kind of bags can be brought into the venue. Be sure to check for any such rules in advance. Often the conference host is a separate organization from the event space, so be sure to have a point of contact at both.

7. Power Up

This might seem obvious, but if your booth needs access to an outlet or wifi (say for a live product demo), or if particular cables are required to keep everything operational, be sure to confirm availability/accessibility with the organizers in advance.

8. Work your Free Time

While the breaks between panels are traditionally intended for networking, they’re also valuable time to set up meetings with reporters. If executives or spokespeople from the company plan on attending, request a media list from the conference organizers and reach out to any relevant reporters.

9. Do your Homework

The primary point of attending an industry event is to engage with your fellow attendees in a meaningful way. Look up social media accounts for the speakers, moderators and conference organizers in advance so that you can actively engage with them during their presentations and broadcast your presence to the broader digital community.

10. Continue the Momentum

You’ve put time, money and energy into this conference, so make sure that your efforts continue to work for you long after the venue empties. Aggregate your thoughts or takeaways from the event into a blog post which can then be shared on your company’s website or LinkedIn. Sort through your gathered business cards while the names are still fresh and input names and contact info into your CRM, along with any notes about your conversations. Brainstorm interesting giveaways to offer exclusively to conference attendees, and include trackable links on the handouts.

When it comes to industry conferences, even the smallest details can pay off in a big way. Events are an investment, and you’re in control of the returns.

Unsure which conferences you should attend or sponsor? Learn how to select the right event for your company here.

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