Corporate events are incredible opportunities for businesses. You can network, increase sales, and get a close eye on the competition. And that’s a key term to remember, there: competition. There are going to be loads of other people at this event. You need to stand out from the rest.
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But many business owners squander this opportunity by making several mistakes. Here is an extensive list of all the mistakes you need to avoid, as well as how to avoid them. Good luck!
Wasting a good marketing opportunity
Of course, one of the most important functions of a corporate event, especially a trade show, is as a marketing technique. You are, essentially, setting up a physical advertisement space and allowing hundreds of people to find out more as they walk past. But many business owners often forget that what you do at the event isn’t just a marketing tool to deploy to the people at the event. If you play your cards right, what you achieve at the event can be used as a marketing tool outside of it.
People are going to have cameras trained on this event. Journalists and bloggers in the business or entertainment sphere will be around. There will be people posting updates on social media, most likely on Twitter. If your product is really popular, or if your display is amazing, or if your people at the booth are well-liked? Then photos and comments will be shared across social media and the blogosphere.
Not announcing your presence
Chances are there are going to be hundreds of people going to this event, if not thousands. There may very well be many people attending the event who are already fans of the work your company does. But what happens if they don’t know you’re actually going to be there? Then you’ll just have to leave it up to luck when it comes to whether or not they’ll even see your display. Don’t assume that everyone who attends the event is going to have an unlimited amount of time to wander around!
This is the mistake a lot of business owners make here. They think that everyone there will eventually walk past their display and thus get a chance to have a look. But it’s absolutely vital that you make sure your presence at the event is known about before the event happens. This should take the form of an announcement on social media. A small-scale marketing campaign could also be implemented. This will make sure that you presence there is highlighted to people outside of your core audience. Anyone interested in the sorts of things you do will take note and make sure to seek you out on the day.
Not speaking to the competition
Many business owners make the mistake of not speaking to the competition when they’re at a trade show or a similar corporate event. This can get especially tricky when the event is focused largely on your specific area of business. That means all the other business owners at the event are in direct competition with you! To some, this makes the entire thing sound like a bit of a warzone. What else could a room full of people trying to get the most attention for their business be?
The problem is that, by doing this, you’re missing out on one of the biggest benefits of such an event that there is. And that’s networking. Networking is one of the most important parts of succeeding in any business pursuit. A lot of business owners underestimate the power of networking with rival businesses. After all, how could such a thing benefit either of you? Isn’t a win for one of you a loss for the other? But this isn’t always the case. Remember that competition is actually one of the most useful things in the modern business and economic spheres. Get to know your rivals. You never know when that particular connection is going to come in handy.
Skimping out on booth design
Let’s face it: what your booth looks like is going to be one of the major pulls for you at this event. If your booth doesn’t look that impressive, then people probably aren’t going to make the effort to see what you’ve got to offer. Only people who already know your company by name may be tempted to come over to you. Of course, even then that might not happen unless you’ve got your company name and branding on full display!
All of this might sound a little obvious. “Make sure the name of your company is on display!” “Make sure your booth doesn’t look boring!” But the fact is that not every business owner escapes making such mistakes. Remember: at a trade event, you essentially become an advertisement. You have to apply certain marketing techniques to your approach. One of those, of course, is that your booth has to be as attractive and distinctive as it can be to catch the attention of passers-by. You should look into strong custom designs for your booth to ensure the best results.
Having uncharismatic or unconfident employees at the booth
I know, I know, employees are a little like children. You’re supposed to love them all equally. (Don’t let them find out you’re comparing them to children, though.) But let’s face it: some people are simply better at talking to others. Some people in your company will be naturally gifted at talking to others with sales being the ultimate goal. You need to make sure you’ve got the right employees for the job out there at the display.
Of course, it’s not all about charisma and confidence, although those are the things that are going to grab people at first. The people you have out there talking to potential customers and clients need to know what they’re talking about. They should be completely clued in when it comes to anything that event goer might ask.
Giving people awful free gifts
Awful free gifts? That sounds a bit ungrateful, right? If something is free, then surely it’s automatically great? That’s the kind of attitude that many business owners seem to have at these events. Free promotional items are definitely one of the best things you can have at your booth. Items with your branding on it will help spread brand awareness, as well as burn your company name into the mind of the person you’ve given the gift to.
But what if the free gift is just, y’know, junk? What if it’s not something that they’re actually going to use? You need to be careful. Even wearable items can be a bit of a misguided idea. Badges and t-shirts might seem like a great idea at first, but most people might not want to wear something that advertises so blatantly. (That is, unless your shirt has a really cool design on it.) It’s best to give people really practical branded gifts. Pens, notebooks, USB drives – items for everyday usage! Oh, and make sure any pens you give out have black ink. Yes, I know a lot of people use blue ink. But most people just feel disappointed when they find out a pen they’ve been given doesn’t use black ink.
Using paper forms
Paper forms used to be the only way we could get potential customers and clients to give us their information at a corporate event. If they’re interested in your product or service, then this is the way they can sign up to any subscriptions or notifications. But we’re not just confined to paper these days. It’s better for you to have a company tablet that people can use to give you this information. In fact, you should probably have more than one tablet available!
Having someone fill out the required information using pen and paper just takes too long. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have paper forms around in case some disaster strikes and renders you unable to use those tablets! But it’s best to focus your efforts on tablet-based information swapping. Set up a private page on the Web that your tablet browsers will be pointed to. A simple form is all you need to make. A web developer should be able to build this for you very quickly!
Sending unexciting post-event emails
Once the event is done and you’ve got a bunch of customer details, you need to use them wisely. It’s best that you send an email to those customers as soon as possible. A day or two after is best for your first email to them. But a lot of business owners don’t tend to send anything particularly exciting. They either send an email that’s only a polite “thank you” (which, yes, is better than nothing!) or an email loaded with too much corporate information.
You need to carry on displaying that personality and charisma that got you the details in the first place! Your first email should be brief, exciting, informative and personal. And sending everyone the same email may not be optimal either. See if you can create a customer detail form that requests specific information that you can use to personalize the email you sent out.