There are countless industry conferences each year but how do you decide which to attend? Choose wisely! From an exhibitor’s viewpoint, focus on the conferences that offer ample opportunities to promote your company and products to attendees with plenty of networking events. Talk to your referral and alliance partners for recommendations of conferences that have been successful for them.
Once your conference calendar has been set, there are several steps that you can take to ensure a successful conference season!
- Do not miss the Exhibitor Registration deadline date or you will have to register on site or worse, the event will be sold out and you will miss a valuable opportunity.
- Book your hotel rooms early! Most conferences reserve a block of rooms at a discounted rate but the rooms usually sell out quickly.
- Ground and air transportation will need to be scheduled, book early for the best rates.
- Pay attention to discount deadlines, you can save money by taking advantage of the discounts when ordering and registering early. Have a checklist of the items needed for your booth (carpet, padded stools, etc) and order early to receive the discounts.
- Schedule the labor to install and dismantle your booth by hours and manpower. You can personally direct the installation of your booth or hire someone to direct the installation by giving very detailed instructions. Nothing is worse than having your expensive booth set up incorrectly or damaged.
- When making cargo/freight arrangements for your booth to the conference site, make sure you work with a cargo company you trust. You will have the option of advanced or direct shipments.
- Advance to Warehouse – Locations are set by show management to receive freight before the start of the show. Freight is stored at this location and then shipped to the show at the appropriate time.
- Direct to Show Site is a shipment that will be sent directly to the trade show location instead of going to the advanced warehouse.
- Work with trusted vendors, we have found that being careful and proactive is a must but sometimes mishaps are out of your hands. Have a backup plan for potential problems and work only with trusted vendors who will do what it takes when things go awry. Stay in contact with your exhibitor attendees and provide them with the support and solutions.
- Don’t forget to monitor all of your expenses and track any revenue gained from sales at conferences. Tracking your expenses versus revenue to create ROI reports for all marketing activities is key to determining the effectiveness of your efforts and which activities or conferences to attend in the future.
- Staffing your booth: Make sure that your booth is always fully staffed and operational during exhibit hours and that they arrive early to prepare any necessary materials. Consider adding booth staff during peak exhibiting hours but be careful not to over-staff your booth. For an example a 10′ x 10′ booth should have no more than four (4) exhibitors.
- Set clear expectations for your booth staff in terms of dress, presentation and schedule. Generally booth staff should remain inside the booth at all times during exhibit hours. It’s bad etiquette to “work” the aisles or talk to attendees at another exhibitor’s booth.
- Do not dismantle the booth early or you could miss interested prospects. Additionally some tradeshows are very strict and may impose penalties for not following rules, including fines or not invited back as an exhibitor at future shows.
Attending a conference as an exhibitor is a great way to inject a new energy into your company. Not only do you get to promote your products and services while meeting with potential clients, you will get to know other companies and their ancillary solutions that you can cross promote to your clients. Through PTM’s association with other companies, a new group to assist payroll service bureaus was formed called the Payroll Ancillary Service Association (PASA). We share many mutual clients and prospects and have pulled together a suite of training information to benefit our payroll partners and help smaller service bureaus prepare solutions to make them more competitive with the “big boys.”