When the events are always held at your place, you’re used to people coming to you. But when you’re the one attending the event, like the upcoming Nightclub & Bar Convention and Tradeshow (March 30 – April 1), it can be challenging to stand out in the crowd. With the countdown to the big event already on, below are tips to maximize your presence at the show, attract and engage the right attendees, and establish genuine, long-lasting connections.
Set goals. To get the most from your time at the event, set goals before you go. They should be measurable and achievable such as the number of people you’ll introduce yourself to, the amount of qualified, new business connections you’ll make, and three important takeaways from each session.
Define your target audience. Once you’ve established your goals, determine who can help you achieve them by digging into the agenda and speaker bios.
Update your social media profiles and engage attendees. Be sure that your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and Twitter account are all up-to-date. Also, use your social media presence to initiate conversations about the event, promote your booth giveaways, and schedule on-site meetings before you arrive.
During the Event
Divide and conquer. If you’re attending the event with a colleague, separate from each other so you can cover more ground from a networking and educational perspective. Also, as you make new connections, write a note or key words on the person’s business card so you’ll remember what you discussed (more on that in a minute).
Promote the event on social media. Live tweet event highlights and remember to include the event hashtag (#NCBSHOW15) in your posts. Also, post event updates and photos across your social media profiles and re-tweet messages from other attendees.
Be creative in your giveaways. Don’t hand out run-of-the-mill tchotchkes. Instead, invest in unique, valuable and visually appealing giveaways that will drive traffic to your booth and spark conversations about you during the event and afterwards. They can range from memorable gifts for everybody who stops by the booth to a drawing for an exotic vacation for two.
Consider an alternative to business casual. Put a new twist on the business casual uniform that everybody else will be wearing. For example, a marketing team from Canada recently attended a U.S. event wearing hockey shirts with their names on the back and company logo on the front. They stood out in a positive way as they actively engaged attendees. You can adapt this idea for some, or all, of the event. It’s a memorable and great conversation starter when your attire reflects the theme of your place such as a jazz club motif or a Mexican cantina.
Send personalized follow up notes. Conquer that stack of new business cards you collected at the event and use the notes you wrote on them to personalize follow up emails and LinkedIn invitations.
Debrief with your team. Schedule a post event meeting so colleagues can share lessons learned. Aim to do this on the way home or immediately after you return to work so the valuable insights aren’t forgotten and can be quickly applied to your business operations.
Write an event recap and include photos. Share it in your newsletter, on your blog and/or your Facebook page and then amplify your reach through Twitter and LinkedIn.
Applying this strategy to the Nightclub & Bar Show – or any industry conference – enables you to maximize your investment in professional development and networking events.
Register now to attend the upcoming Nightclub & Bar Show, taking place March 30-April 1 in Las Vegas! Advance rates end March 28, 2015.