Running a startup as a first-time entrepreneur is going to be exciting. For those that have received venture capital cash injections, there is going to be quite a bit of pressure. Others might be putting their retirement fund into the business which creates a completely different type of stress. Regardless of how a startup was funded, there needs to be a focus on branding. Establishing a business as a reputable company in a particular space can be difficult. Starting to become well-known in an industry is going to take hard work along with a decent content marketing approach.
Give Out Interesting Promotional Items
The booth that a startup rents at a conference has to be flawless. This will include the popup stands to the graphics that are used. A printing company that has subpar graphics will be laughed out of the conference hall. Demonstrating a product needs to be practiced by staff as hiccups can make the presentation look unprofessional. Possibly the most important aspect of this is the promotional items that are given out.
These should have the company’s name and contact information somewhere on the item. This can include t-shirts, pens, custom reusable bags, or even sunglasses. The right promotional items being given away can lead attendees to flock to the booth. The more foot traffic near the booth, the more recognition a startup will have. The investment in these items will produce a massive ROI with one decent-sized contract. Landing an ongoing contract for years can help stabilize a startup’s revenue which is valuable during the infancy of a business.
Bring Your Most Engaging Staff Members
Conferences are full of deals being closed over dinner or on the conference hall floor. Bringing the shyest members of the staff is a recipe for disaster even if they are top performers. Staff members that are engaging and understand the products/services the startup offers are imperative. Going up to the right person and having a great conversation can start the sales process.
The employees that are working your booth can help establish a startup as a fun and intelligent business. Keep in mind that some conferences are much more serious than others. Certain conferences like that of Pubcon in digital marketing can be serious but most of the time it is more like a huge party. Go over conference etiquette as well with employees that have never attended one in the past.
Write Notes on the Back of Business Cards
The odds are that there are going to be alcoholic drinks consumed at events after the conference. The trick to remembering each conversation or face is to write notes about the conversation you had with a prospect. Not only is this useful for your staff members but it can also be useful for the prospect.
Mentioning a unique topic that was discussed can help refresh the memory of who you were talking to. Do not email this person the Monday after the event as they likely have an inbox flooded with emails. Emailing on Tuesday once they have caught up with a tidbit about the conversation is a great way to continue this via email.
Building a sales funnel at conferences can be important and most people will let you know what they have going on. Remember details of conversations cannot be stressed enough as it can make that person feel valued. Hopefully, they are the ones in charge of making decisions but it can be invaluable to get an introduction from them.
Entertain Potential Clients
There is a chance that your startup wants to have work contracted from a much larger company. In digital marketing, this could be link building work or content creation. A large volume of work can change the trajectory of a business as long as the profit margins are healthy. Certain companies enjoy giving work to smaller companies as they were once in that position. Conferences are usually in entertainment or industry hubs.
Las Vegas is a favorite for a number of industries due to the ability to let loose and immense fun Sin City can be. Taking clients out for drinks or dinner can allow for personal rapport to be built. Be careful when taking these clients out as you do not want them to drink too much and cut ties from embarrassment.
A great night on the town can be enough to convince a prospective client to give you a big contract. Most people would rather work with those that they personally like if the pricing and quality of work are similar to another company.
A conference can change the trajectory of a startup and build its name simultaneously. Take time to plan out the conference carefully as every detail could matter.