Tag Archives: invitation process

Tips – Final Preparation Before Going On-site at an Exhibition

Image result for check list on-site exhibition logistics

Preparation Just Before Going On-Site

You have done your check list and double checked that everything has been ordered and re-confirmed this with your suppliers. You have gone through the timeline and made sure that you are up to date and have everything ready to go. Now use this list to remind yourself of other things you need to have achieved:

  • Check all monies and invoices have been paid.
  • Check you have ordered any necessary:
    • Power
    • Telecommunications facilities
    • Equipment
    • Stand cleaning
    • Insurance
    • Furniture
    • Floral displays
    • Catering
  • Check and inform the appropriate people of any travel arrangements, hotel accommodation and meeting rooms that you have booked.
  • If you are having any speakers represent your company at any of the sessions make sure that they have travel and hotel bookings and that these have been confirmed. Check that they have been sent their seminar session information including session times, plans of the conference rooms and exhibition layout.
  • Make sure that any staff who are due to attend and help have been sent details of the exhibition, including your stand number and hall. They will need to know what days and times they are attending and when to meet, and they will need a show plan.
  • Have a conference call or meeting with everyone attending to run through the schedule of the show and what is expected from their participation.
  • Make sure all staff to understand the objectives and goals you want to achieve at this exhibition.
  • Prepare staff – make sure they have a complete knowledge of your company and its products and services, both current and new, and also that they know the relevant market trends and competition so that they are able to talk effectively with prospective customers.
  • Run though pre-training required by staff and make sure they are familiar with any equipment, demonstrations or presentations that they will need to use or refer to.
  • Run through the process of lead collection and allocate staff in the home office to follow up these appropriately as soon as possible after they have been generated.
  • Make an inventory and pack items to be taken to the show, such as literature, give-aways and lead forms as well as equipment, software and stock. These can often be delivered to the show by the stand builders or by using the services of a transportation freighting company. Make sure that if you are exhibiting in a non-EU country that you have filled out the correct customs forms for clearance and re-entry back to your home country.
  • Confirm that freight has arrived and all contractors are on schedule.
  • Check that you have sent out badges or passes as required.
  • Prepare an exhibition handbook with all information about the exhibition and your company’s participation, as well as supplier contact and names.
  • Plan to travel out during the build-up of the stand to make sure all is running to schedule and that you are there to supervise the stand build. Take photo of stand before show opening.

The next blog tip will be live on-site logistics

Tips on Marketing and Publicity for Exhibitors – Marketing your Trade Show Attendance

For every exhibition there will be a variety of marketing strategies that you can use to
promote your stand, brand, business, services, products and expertise. The key to successful promotion is to use the right combination of strategies.

First you will need to know what your objectives are for exhibiting at the trade show in order to determine which forms of marketing suit your promotion. To get any attendee to your stand they need to perceive value, have an experience, or learn in some way. You will need to make sure you have a targeted and up‐to‐date database of contacts.

Traditional Marketing Media

Traditional marketing can include:

Press releases and invitations of journalists to a press conference or briefing at the
show.

Personal invitations to hospitality events or face‐to‐face meetings offered in
advance. You will need to offer them something of value like access to decision
makers and your top management.Invitations including hardcopies of the trade show registration giving an indication
of why they should visit your stand.

Database mailshots with phone follow‐up.

Promotion of a contest or prize draw they can enter or giveaways they can collect
on the stand.

Newsletter to current clients and prospects telling them what you will be doing at
the show and what you will be demonstrating. This can promote any speaking
opportunities you have as well as use competitions and giveaways, and it can
describe the hospitality you’ll offer on the stand.

Business introducers, using face‐to‐face communication to promote your attendance
at a trade show. Make sure all employees are promoting the exhibition at every
opportunity when talking to clients, prospects and third parties.

General correspondence – make sure your exhibition at the trade show is mentioned
in some shape or form on all correspondence that leaves the office, such as fax
headers, note pads, and compliment slips. Create leaflets to include in any
correspondence you send out. You can also use giveaways to promote the event.

SMS messaging. Short texts are great way of reminding attendees of the event, and
sending updates to them about what is happening.
On‐line and Social Media
Many of the above‐mentioned traditional forms of marketing can be done using email
marketing.

Email campaign. This is an excellent way to market your event if you already have
permission to contact the customer or prospect. Often the collection of contact
details through the website for newsletters can be excellent for sending electronic
invitations. The exhibition can be promoted on every email sent from the office with
an additional line on the signature, specifying the stand location and number.

The company website. This can be used to promote all your events on your
corporate website under a specific tab heading of events.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs and YouTube. All of the social media platforms your
company use should promote your exhibition details in advance, especially if you can
engage with potential prospects before the event.


Twitter used in combination with links to your website can be powerful in making
information about your show available to real and potential attendees in an easy‐to read
steady stream. This method is a great vehicle for generating buzz about your
conference.You will need to choose a great hashtag. A hashtag can be included in the
body of each tweet and is a short phrase preceded by a hash (#) symbol. By making a hashtag that is short and easy, other tweets can reference your conference using the tag.

  • Mention your hashtag far in advance of the conference and include in all
    your related publicity – don’t wait until the day the event starts!
  • Tweet white papers, videos, and presentations, as attachments. These can
    be teasers for your trade show appearance or even a reminder of your
    offerings.
  • A great time to send tweets promoting your appearance is a few weeks
    before the trade show. You can offer teaser photos of a new product
    appearing at the trade show or announce the details of an executive who
    will be a keynote speaker.
  • Include hashtag in all print and digital material.
  • Make sure your Twitter profile has the full name, date, location of your
    conference and a pitch about the conference.
  • Encourage your sponsors, exhibitors and speakers to include your hashtag in
    all their conference‐related postings.

Mobile Apps ‐The need for mobile trade show apps is greater than ever. Trade shows
are all about showcasing products or services in a short amount of time. You need to
let attendees know about a special discount, or send out a push notification within
seconds. There are a variety of developers of mobile apps such as CrowdCompass.

  • A mobile trade show app means faster and more efficient marketing. It
    means measurable results for your exhibitors and sponsors.
  • Mobile trade show apps also give exhibitors and sponsors more
    opportunities to make stronger connections with existing customers and
    reach out to new ones. It is one way to drive interaction and engagement
    between the company and attendees.
  • A mobile trade show app helps you think outside the booth to improve the
    overall event experience and stay ahead of the competition. These apps can
    be created for most smart devices such as Android, iPhone, and iPad.

As mentioned before you need to use the best method of promoting your trade show
attendance to your market and potential customers. The main point is to make your
attendance known so that those coming to the show know of your presence and want to visit your stand. It does not matter how good your stand and products are if you don’t get footfall and generate leads to your products.

Tips on Marketing and Publicity for Exhibitors – Promoting your Exhibition

Your marketing and publicity should be part of your whole marketing plan for exhibiting. Trade shows are a powerful element of the marketing mix in that they enable you to have face to face conversations with your customers and prospects, and to gather sales leads.

Your business and brand needs to be known to potential customers who are attending the trade show. The attendees will gravitate towards the brands that are familiar, visible and readily available to them. You want as many of the right kind of attendees to come to your stand.

Image result for photos marketing exhibitions

You need to ensure that you meet the right people, set up productive meetings and drive traffic to your stand. To do this you need to make sure that your marketing is targeted to the right attendees: those who will be interested in your products and who could potentially lead to a sale.

Image result for photos marketing exhibitions

Depending on your budget there are different types of marketing and ways of promoting your exhibit at a trade show. Some are free and others are chargeable. There are also different ways of marketing and promoting your presence at a trade show.

We will look at the various ways of promoting your event in this tip blog  and then in the next blog tip we will look at the different types of traditional and on-line marketing that you should consider using.

When you start the planning process you need to finalise the theme of the exhibition. All the marketing and communications of the company exhibition and promotion should have the same branding and look-and-feel. All communication about the exhibition should make consistent use of the appearance and branding. If you are highlighting new products then the communications and graphics should reflect the same graphical design.

The Promotion of the Event

  • The marketing of your exhibition is not just about the promotion of the stand and brand but it is also integral to promoting your business, services, and expertise.
  • Whatever marketing methods you adopt make sure you measure the results. This is so that you can determine the most effective method of getting people to your stand and so that you can analyse your Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Make sure that all your promotion is highly focused and correctly targeted.
  • Consider all possible methods of communication because different people like to receive communication in different ways. Use the full range of traditional offline promotion as well as online promotion and social media.

We will outline the marketing and promotion of exhibitions in three sections:

  • Promotion through the Trade Show organisation. (This blog)
  • Traditional Marketing Media promotion. (next blog tip)
  • On-line, Social Media. (next blog tip)

Promotion through a Trade Show Organisation

If you are exhibiting at a trade show then you should not just rely on the organising company to promote the event because you want to stand out from the other competitors and companies who will be promoted at the same time. Do, however, take advantage of their promotional publication to advertise your company stand and products because they will use their large database of previous and new attendees who are already targeted into your market. Promotional opportunities provided by the organisers will vary from trade show to trade show but usually consist of:

  • Promotion of your company in their catalogue of exhibitors. This usually requires a short abstract about your company, what it is that you are promoting, a list of products, photos of the products, and stand location and contact details.
  • An entry onto their website again listing your company products and contact information. Remember products can be searched and products cross-linked.
  • PR article for their newsletter promotion.
  • Advertising on website or pre-event magazine.
  • Sponsorship opportunities. These will be chargeable, but your brand or company name will be promoted on banners, on part of the website, on promotion media and at the exhibition.
  • Taking advantage of speaker opportunities that may arise if the trade show is running an educational seminar or is associated with a specific conference connected to the market segment into which you are marketing.
  • Use the trade show logo on your in-house marketing material and emails to advertise that your company will be exhibiting.

In summary you need to use the best method of promoting your trade show attendance to your market and potential customers. The main point is to make your attendance at the show known so that those coming are aware of your presence and want to visit your stand. It does not matter how good your stand and products are if you don’t get footfall and generate leads to your products.

First things to consider when producing a memorable small business event

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When organising a small business event much of the time is spent in the planning of that event whether it is a workshop, seminar, small exhibition with speakers, and your events success is all down to the planning and in the details.

First decide upon your target Audience:  You need to define who your target audience is.  This will be the start for all your other decisions, such as format, content, price and location etc..  Being structured will enable you to stay focused on achieving your goals.

Have a clear business purpose for holding your event:  You have to be clear on why you are doing this event, as every decision will support your mail goal:

  • Is it a medium for passing on information, educating your market
  • New products or services release
  • Create brand awareness
  • A way to meet new customers/prospects and gather sales leads
  • PR opportunity, a way to make customers feel important build on loyalty
  • Involve third party vendors and resellers, strengthening business alliances

Create SMART goals:  always start with strategy; this will need to be measurable.  You need to know what is you are trying to achieve, outline what you are aiming for, then make sure that you follow this through to enable you to reach your goals.

Check other industry event when they are scheduled:  Check the calendar for dates, no bank holidays, or school holidays etc..   Check other events that your target audience might be interested in attending.

Know your budget:  Know how you are going to pay for the event.  The cost will depend on the number of attendees you will have.  Is the event funded by sponsorship, ticket sales, collaboration with other companies?  You will need to create a budget before looking for a venue.  Remember to add all expenses not just the meeting room such as food and beverage, audio visual etc..

Decide on type of venue for the event:  Know your event size, location, how easy is it for your attendees to get to this venue?  You may have to be flexible on this depending on availability and how the event may change in size.

Make a checklist of the details:  The checklist needs to contain everything you are planning for the event.  Are you are going to do all this your-self, or just certain parts? Event management logistics that needs to be considered include:

  • Programme content of the event
  • Putting together a Gantt chart showing time lines with action points, responsibility and critical dates
  • Marketing the event – the invitation process to include attendee invitation and registration
  • Registration management – client lists
  • Venue liaison to include:
    Room set up
    Audio Visual requirements
    Food and beverage
    Running order for breaks, luncheon, reception
    Logistics of getting materials to the conference venue
  • Speaker management including co-ordination of speakers, presentation, hand outs
  • Production of delegate documentation including delegate packs and badges

The organisation of an event is a project planning process.  Like all projects it will grow and develop and you have to be flexible but still keep your eye on the ball as with all events that are going to happen at a certain time and all has to be ready and in place for this time.  Checking and re-checking is so important to make sure that you have covered as many eventualities.  Remember your events success is in the details.

 

Conference & Seminar Tips: Social Events at a conference

Social Event information required before the conference

  • When you are planning what social events you are going to do in conjunction with a conference you need to decide are they optional or part of the programme? Are they sponsored or do the delegates pay for these?  Are they on-site at the conference venue or at another venue?
  • Once the above has been decided they you can plan what sort of event to have in the programme, what are the objectives, budget  what is the theme,  is it for delegates only or can partners accompany the delegate?  If off site you will need to arrange a site visit to chose the  appropriate venue for the event.  Other  arrangements will include transportation and any entertainment, decide on F&B, plus staff to manage the event.
  • Once the social programme has been decided and arranged then it is important to get all the information from the delegates prior to arriving onsite.  A booking form should be available on the website to sign up for the event.  Information required on the booking form should include:
  • An information sheet outlining the social event or activity, so delegates can understand what they are signing up for
  • Name and contact details of delegate, time and dates of activities, if bringing a partner their details also required
  • Dietary and or any allergies, disabilities
  • If activities are to be organised do they bring any equipment or require specific clothing,  or are these provided?
  • If a drinks reception or banquet dinner is  part of the programme, you might decide to send a personalised  invitation
  • A spread sheet database should be set up to record all the information so the event manager has this data to refer to when onsite and when letting venue know of numbers
  • Confirmation email should be sent out to confirm booking and any relevant information the delegates needs to know about the event or activity
  •  Relevant transportation if required needs to be booked.  If the event has a late evening finish then transportation should be arranged so that delegates can leave before the end if they so wish and if coaches used then they should arrange to drop off passengers at different hotels if required .

On-Site Management

  • Depending on size of conference recommend  to have a manned information/hospitality desk in the delegates hotel, where delegates or partners  not involved in the conference can go for information on what they can do whilst at the conference city and join any site seeing tours, activities that have been arranged.
  • If using a local DMC make sure all communications numbers of guests involved are up to date with regard to the partner activities, tours, lunches etc…
  • Make sure that staff involved in managing social events are well briefed and know exactly how many delegates and guests are involved.

Tips how to run a Successful Conference: Event Management and Planning Logistics, The invitation Process

The Invitation Process

 The marketing and creativity side of the invitation process was covered in part 4 of tips; here we will concentrate on the process.

the invitation is not only a way of inviting delegates but also a way to confirm name and contact address of potential delegate and open a dialogue for further communications before and after the event.

for this you need a database, depending on the event this can be a database of your own employees, a prospect list from your CSR system, sales records, website inquiries about your products or services, commercial lists although these are not always so successful and you cannot always know how clean and up to date these are.  Third party lists from your partner or distributors, can also be invited.  Remember you need to invite far more people than you actually want to attend and there is often a 25% drop out rate.

Software products are available on the market for the actual process of administrating the attendees, and if you do several events a year it is worthwhile investing in a package.

The invitation mailing should be creative and follow the theme of the event, it should encourage acceptance, and give the essential information an attendee requires before deciding to attend:

  • Name, title, address of delegate
  • Date and location of event, map and rail/road/air connections
  • Start and finish times
  • Theme of the conference and why they should attend
  • Guest speakers if famous or a renowned authority on the subject
  • Personalisation from the conference sponsors
  • Reply device, with space for delegate contact details and any special needs

the timing of sending out the invitation is important and this should be built into your invitation plan and further reminders of the event should also be planned before the event and added to your time line.  Certain audiences may require at least three months notice of the event, with reminders sent out to the undecided as you near the event.

confirmation of attendance, this should be done immediately as you need to build up a communication channel to the delegate leading up to the event both to promote your company and also to reduce the inevitable drop-out rate.  Communication should be regular and involve email messages, news letters telephone and further details on the programme, joining instructions, travel and accommodation details, hospitality arrangements and other relevant information you would like the delegate to receive before the event.  If you are using web based registration you can add their own personal login and ability to communicate with other attendees and find out information on the event.

the registration system will be used to create badges for the delegates that can be created by the software package you are using and colour coordinated if required to show the different categories of delegates, sponsors, speakers, staff, exhibitors etc.

The delegate attendee list will also be created from the registration list and can be analysed and produced as required.  The contact list is most important if there is a crisis during the event and should be up to date and available to all those concerned in dealing with a situation if the needs arises.

Tips on how to run a successful conference: Part 4B Marketing the invitation process

In the previous blog on Marketing for a conference we looked at the promotion of the event and included tips on offline promotion and online promotion in this blog we will look at the invitation process and ideas on how encourage delegates to attend.

The invitation process for your conference needs to be efficient and professional

  • For larger events use software products to manage the invitation process which sends out invitations, gather delegate data, and will show who needs to be followed up if they have not responded and produce statistical analysis.
  • You need to build a suitable database from raw lists, customer lists, prospect lists, that are targeted to the audience you wish to attend the event.  The database will need to be cleaned to make sure that all the contact details are correct.  You need to invite far more people than you wish to attend the event as sometimes it can be only 25% of acceptance.
  • Make sure all employees are promoting the event at every opportunity when talking to clients and potential customers, third parties.
  • You want people to know about the event ASAP so a teaser or keep this date free can be useful before the main invitation is sent.  The more notice people can have of the event the better, sometimes this can be 3 months before the event other circumstance 3-4 weeks.  Remember reminders for those that have not accepted need to be built into the invitation process this can be by email, telemarketing phone follow up.
  • Confirmation to invitees is very important for those who have accepted, you need to build up a communications channel to reduce inevitable drop out.  Communications can include email messages, telephone, more detail on the programme and joining instructions.

How to get delegates to attend

Delegates will only attend after they find out’ what is in it for me’

  • Spell out the benefits
  • Offer an incentive or discount
  • Offer them a valuable bonuses
  • Make your event irresistible stress the benefits, offer worth while bonus material and state their value or an  incentive for attending your events, such as discount on early bookings
  • Focus strongly on how specifically your event helps to improve the lives of attendees
  • Get other people and organizations to promote your event, look into sponsoring the event with another organizations.  Target other businesses, suppliers, distributors to invite attendees from their own database
  • Work with local press t raise your company’s profile, build relationships with local radio, look at free publicity in newspapers and magazines, send out a press release
  • Measure effectiveness of everything you do, so that you know what works or does not for the next event

Further blogs on how to run a successful business event that has ROI will follow.  To receive these valuable ideas and make sure that you do not miss any of the blogs please sign up we will deliver them to your in-box free.  The blogs will be full of tips and ideas, to help you and your business in event management.

Reference reading:

John G Fisher – How to run a Successful Conference

Philip Calvert – Successful Seminar Selling