Given the amount of quality online business education available, social media platforms that facilitate networking with peers around the world, and the ability to compare products and services on a desktop computer or mobile device, event organizers are under a lot of pressure.
People crave the human interaction that face-to-face events provide, but sometimes it becomes a choice between traveling and staying in the office. How do you tip the scales in favor of your event? By ensuring your attendees achieve their networking and learning goals and that they find the new products and services they are looking for at your event.
The first step in helping attendees achieve their goals is to encourage attendees to define what their goals for attending your event are. The registration process is the perfect place to get attendees to think about and identify their event goals.
Networking: Ask attendees who they would like to meet while they are at your event. By having attendees identify specific people or a type of person they want to meet, you are helping them take the first step toward more effective networking. As the event organizer, you can assist attendees by introducing them to the people they are hoping to meet, or provide networking tools that allow attendees to reach out prior to the event to set up meetings. If you see patterns emerging in demographic or psychographic groups, you could facilitate meet-ups for those groups. The more connections your attendees make, the more value they place on attending your event in the future.
Learning: During the registration process, ask attendees to list their top three professional concerns that keep them up at night. Or, you could ask them to list the top three issues they struggle with in their day to day work. You can use that information to send targeted communications that help attendees by pointing out educational sessions that best match their needs. There is a better chance attendees will notice your communication and elevate their perception of your event to an event they must attend to help them achieve their professional development goals.
New Products/Services: The bigger the exhibit hall, the harder it is to find the companies who are an exact match to what your attendee is looking for. While serendipity can be a good thing on the show floor, most attendees come to a trade show with an agenda. During the registration process, ask attendees to identify what categories of products or services they are looking for. As the show organizer, you can send a list of exhibitors that are a match. You can also supply this information to exhibitors. Instead of a spray and pray approach to their pre-show marketing, exhibitors can deliver targeted invitations that are sure to resonate with your attendees.
Imagine the lasting impact your event will have if an attendee leaves your event having established a relationship with a new mentor. Imagine the value if they head back to their office with three different ideas for tackling a problem they’ve been struggling with all year. Imagine their relief if they found two new vendors who can make their jobs easier.
When attendees know they can accomplish their goals by attending your event, the scales will tip in your favor when they are considering all their options.