3 Steps To A Successful Conference

As a small business owner I am always on the lookout for new ways to promote and grow my business.    It’s very competitive out there these days and I have to do all sorts of creative things to stand out from the crowd.  I also have a family so time is an issue.  I don’t want to be that guy who spends all of my time working while my children grow up without me.

So one very good way to promote my business is to attend conferences as a vendor.   A conference is a great location to reach a highly targeted audience.  For instance,  I recently attended a conference for peace officers.  One of my target client bases is law enforcement.  This conference was full of law enforcement upper management.  These are the people who control the purse strings.  They decide what vendors to use in many situations.  These are the people I need to reach.  I spend 3 days and at a hotel and reach a large number of potential clients.   The cool thing is that I can even bring my family with me.

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Now, just attending the conference isn’t enough.  There are many things you can do to ensure you have a successful conference as a vendor.  Here are 3 steps which I believe are critical in that respect.

  1. Demo Your Product/Service- You need to have a solid demo of your product or service for the attendees to see first hand.   For me, I am a database/web developer.  So I would have a computer set up with some applications and websites on display.  The ability for the attendee to see for themselves what you have to offer is huge.  You need to grab their attention and make an impression.
  2. Have A Professional Display –  A plain table with your demo product on is just doesn’t do it.  You need to have an attractive and professional display set up.  There are some great places to get banner stands for exhibits and conferences online.  A solid exhibit banner stand can really make your business shine.  There are likely to be many other vendors there and an impressive banner stand can draw more attention to your booth.
  3. Creative Freebies – Some vendors give away some great stuff.  Others…not so much.  Freebies can get very expensive so it’s important that you maximize the benefit you receive from them.    It’s a balancing act.  You want something that the attendees want to have but also something that promotes your business.    An item I like to give away is USB thumb drives.  There are tons of sites online that will sell them in bulk, print your logo on them, and even preload your content.  I generally like to load my promotional material onto the drive and a demo program which auto plays.  I realize that the user will probably delete the info pretty quickly to use the drive themselves but my logo and website is still on the outside of the drive.

There are many other things you can do to ensure a successful conference but these are the three biggies (in my opinion).  Leave a comment below with any other thoughts you have on having a successful conference.

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