Despite the globe embracing digital trends and virtual communication, the best opportunity for any industry to connect with key influencers, decision-makers, and like-minded professionals is at an industry conference.
Conferences, trade shows, and events offer an excellent opportunity to reach a diverse audience in the target industry and generate new leads and prospects for your business.
But attending a conference isn’t just about booking your passes and logistics; it takes a lot more to show up and create magic at a meeting. You don’t just show up, you have to have the right material and intel to interact and wow the people you meet to create a credible and long-lasting business connection.
So if you are looking for a checklist to help you prepare for a conference, here is all you need to know:
Get to know everything about the event
Before you even start preparing, you should first make sure you have all the right information about the conference or event. This includes knowing the kind of audience that is attending, the key speakers or sessions that will be held, and the opportunities available for you to make the most of the event.
Depending on your purpose, make sure you have all the event information handy. A few key details you should have are:
- Event purpose.
- The audience type that will be attending.
- Event dates and location (this helps since there are times when a conference can have sessions simultaneously in different locations or rooms at a huge venue)
- Sessions that are taking place, speakers, and key influencers who will be presenting.
- Opportunities for you (if you are interested in branding exercises at the event. This could be speaking slots, pitching opportunities, booths, or other ways you can be at the forefront.)
- Event organizers and contacts of the key people who can help you out in case you run into an issue at the event.
Define your conference goals
Once you have all the details and are sure about attending the event, define a goal for attending the event. This could be networking, marketing, generating leads, connecting with a known contact, learning, or other purposes. Be mindful of your goals as they will define the success you get at the conference.
Ensure your website and online profiles are updated
Imagine you have wowed a prospective customer and share your business card with them. However, your website is still not updated, and when the customer visits it, he finds most of the stuff you spoke of isn’t even mentioned. This could also happen with social media if they haven’t been updated in a long time.
Your online presence is just as crucial as your real-world impression, so make sure you update the website, social media profiles with the relevant information, and it has all the content that will back you up!
Get the logistics in place
The preparation for the event can define success or failure, as it should be an integral part of your planning. If you need to travel to the conference, do you have your checklist ready?
If you are speaking or presenting, do you have relevant materials or presentations ready? Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, prepare with proper logistics! A must-have in the checklist you should refer to should cover:
- Travel logistics (taxi confirmation, plane or train tickets where relevant)
- Stay logistics (if applicable)
- Personal logistics (business cards, an impeccable suit or a dress that is professional, notepad, pen, laptop, etc.)
- Marketing materials (brochure, company one-pager, flyer, banner or standee for your booth, and other documents as relevant)
- Other logistics (depending on the type of event and your purpose, this could include things like a backup HDMI cable if you are presenting or showcasing a presentation at your booth, an allocated budget to cover your additional spends, etc.)
Research the key people and companies attending
Networking at the event is critical, as conferences present a fantastic opportunity to get face-to-face with the key people in your industry. So make the most of it by research which will be attending and have a list of top companies or people whom you would like to meet.
You can get the list from the event organizer or through research by looking up the exhibitors.
Schedule and keep all the essential information handy
An event can be fast-paced and can leave you lost if you don’t have a proper plan. So make sure you have all the crucial sessions finalized and on your schedule.
This should be in your calendar, too, so you can keep track of your day. If there are networking opportunities like high-tea or lunches, keep these on your schedule as well, since these are the most candid opportunities you can get to network.
Take detailed notes and follow up instantly
The best thing about conferences and events is the full range of impeccable insights and information you get from some of the best in the industry. But without proper notes or a recording, it is easy to miss out on these insights. So take detailed notes and have a pen or notepad handy at all times.
If you are meeting people in your network, write down the follow-up notes or the things you promise, like setting up meetings, product demo, or others. To wow your key contacts further, be proactive, and follow up instantly. This could even be as soon as you are free from the event.
Be flexible and be ready at all times
Lastly, events and conferences may have end-to-end planning, but you never know what may happen. For these times, be on your toes and ready at all times.
If you meet a prospective client who has hardly responded to your email, now is the time to act. Be prepared for impromptu demo or presentations, and go beyond your scheduled sessions.
All in all, a conference is good or bad, depending on how you leverage the opportunity. If you’re interested in conferences and want to get the latest insights into the tool and the eCommerce industry, you should consider attending conferences like Klaviyo Bos, and eTail unite.