It’s conference day! Go time! You’ve prepared all the details for your booth, social media and staffing. Now it’s time to execute your plan and achieve your goals as a conference exhibitor. Ready to conquer the day? Here are some tips for a stellar showcase.
How early should you set up your booth? The sooner, the better. If you can prep your booth the day before, that’s great. Otherwise, make sure that you’re ready for an early morning.
On the day of the conference, check in and be sure everyone on your team receives their badge, pass or other identification. Set up your booth and arrange collateral, signups and giveaways. Our article Behind the Scenes: Planning Your Conference Exhibitor Booth offers a fantastic checklist for prep.
Meet with your team
Meet with your team to review the schedule of who will be managing the booth, attending sessions/events or browsing the exhibit hall for photos. Clarify expectations and refresh everyone on the company’s elevator pitch. Distribute a printed copy of the schedule, including the list of desired photos. Everyone can help with social media coverage!
Once you have your booth ready, it’s time to check your audio-visual equipment. Test all computers, projectors and screens, making sure that they’re connected to the internet. Have everyone practice with badge scanners and ensure that the technology works for each of them.
Some venues have poor internet access, and it could be hard to reach team members without it. Have a way to reach your team during the day in case you need help, such as texting.
Launch social media
You’ve promoted your presence in the weeks leading up to the event – and you should have posts scheduled for the day of the conference. If you decide to post live from the event on Twitter/X or Threads, have some captions prepared with the conference hashtags. Take lots of photos of your booth, your team and the exhibit hall. Select the best ones to post during the day and mix in the graphics you prepared in advance. Many conferences have strict video policies, so know what you can and cannot share before you post something you shouldn’t. Make sure the whole team understands the policy, too.
Finally, if you plan to go live from your booth on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, set an alarm for 15 minutes before the live to make sure everything works correctly. Promote this event in advance, increasing your social media reach and offering followers an inside look at the conference.
Plan for the unexpected
Keep a flexible mindset. Many things can happen that you can’t prepare for, so be ready to pivot. Technology can fail. People can get lost or sidetracked on the exhibit floor. Or you may encounter an opportunity that takes more time than expected.
Networking with other like-minded women entrepreneurs should be part of your schedule. Finding opportunities to meet other business owners can be challenging, so circulate among the booths and introduce yourself. Exchange business cards and show interest in their work. This could be the beginning of a supportive connection.
Attend social events and engage with everyone, from potential customers to investors and everyone in between. Conference day is not the day to be a wallflower. Go to the networking events and group meals. These are great opportunities to meet people and make connections.
Throughout the day
While your goal is to gain visibility for your business and build connections, you’re also at the conference to learn. Take the time to attend sessions and meet speakers. And remember what you learn by taking notes or pictures – whatever helps you remember.
Everyone will be exhausted as you pack up the booth and debrief on the day. Share some key takeaways and thank your team. Make sure you don’t leave anything behind!
Now it’s time to build the relationships you began at the conference. Within 24 hours, send a thank you email to each new contact. Gather business cards, new LinkedIn and social followers and the scanned badges so that you can follow up. You can tailor your emails to each contact group: potential customers, investors, other entrepreneurs, etc. The goal is to build relationships.
A successful conference means successful follow-up. You’ve got this!