Convention season is upon us, and for many of our clients, this means major business development efforts and networking. We want to help all our clients represent their brands with the best impression possible. A little planning now can help create a better convention experience for you later!
Have you started planning? We have!
Your VERY quick takeaway (if you stopped reading here): You get out of conventions what you put in. We’ve seen the outcomes of convention preparedness each year – the AMAZING and not-so-stellar.
Here are some of our tips to be convention ready.
Great materials take time to produce. Whether you have a booth to curate or simply want to have smaller-size materials that can be easily handled, timeline matters. The earlier you start, the better chance you have of crafting the right materials, getting them printed/created, and saving money so you are not doing rush orders. This includes digital assets!
- Do you have the materials you need or do they need to be created/updated?
- When was the last time you were on your website? Is up-to-date?
- Are your property flyers accurate?
- Let people know you are going to be there!
- Craft convention emails to send out and schedule meetings ahead of time.
- Create social media posts to announce you are going and then use them.
Getting started early is essential and will ensure you have enough time to focus on all details to have a great convention.
Whether you’re walking the floor or arranging materials at your booth, it’s imperative to have business cards that are clear, accurate, and branded. We like to craft minimalistic cards for conventions with writable space to allow for a quick note to be written. Choose to use a virtual business card or scan card for ease, but don’t plan on being 100% digital. For specific contacts, have an option that they can put in their pocket and remind them how they know you. People meet and talk to hundreds of individuals at conventions; this simple tip will ensure they’ll easily recall you and your conversation.
Do you have a solid digital footprint that includes a website, an online presence, and a Google My Business Profile? If so, review them each with a critical eye prior to the convention. Does your website stand out against the competition? Is it accurate? Update your social media bio(s) and make sure they accurately reflect your current business role. Google yourself to make sure your Google Profile is active and your website shows up in the search results. If not, let’s talk now.
Everyone knows that introductions and conversations are one of the best advantages of attending a convention. Remembering the specifics of those conversations, and who they were with, can be daunting for even the most seasoned participant. But with a few quick, easy-to-use technology tools up your sleeve, it doesn’t have to be. Voice notes and Google Docs are our go-to’s. The voice note feature on our cell phones worked great to record quick thoughts into a checklist that is saved in a Google Doc that is accessible by the team. Sounds simple right? Because it is! Find the tool(s) that help you and your team be quick and efficient.
Convention conversations have an unfortunately short lifespan after the event. (Don’t let this be what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas ) Utilize technology tools and refer back to them – problem solved! Prioritize making meetings, sending follow-up emails, and staying in front of business development conversations. REMEMBER TO FOLLOW UP!
Finally, a couple of practical but very important anecdotes. Buy good shoe(s) (plural for ladies!) and break them in ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than sore feet and blisters because of bad shoes (yes- that one is from experience). Plan your meals, dinners, and fun times for connecting now. They fill up fast and we all need to – let’s be honest, want to – EAT with friends and colleagues.
Remember you do not have to go this alone! We can help you create your attention-grabbing booth graphics, create your pre-event communication, check your digital/print asset, update your business cards (or scan cards), and help with the pre-convention to-do list that will ensure you’re a successful convention attendee.
Lastly, If you are headed to ICSC this May, don’t forget to let us know so we can see you there, and consider joining us for the Next Luncheon!