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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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Exploring the Expo Hall: Tips for #ASAE18 Attendees

Posted by Callie Walker

Exploring the Expo Hall

ASAE’s 2018 Annual Meeting & Exposition is just over a week away! (Cue ALL the fun and exciting emotions.)

By now, you’ve probably hopefully taken a look at the schedule, picked what sessions you’d like to attend, planned your evening activities (like the Small-Staff Shindig!), and maybe even started putting together a mental list of items to pack.

But the one aspect of this event (and all conferences, really) that people tend to not prep for (and rather just wing) is the Expo Hall aspect. What’s your game plan? Do you have a game plan?

If not, allow us to help! Here are a few tips to help you maximize your time on the trade show floor:

Tip #1: View the exhibitor list before the conference starts

We know it’s long, but we highly recommend at least scanning the exhibitor list before heading out to Chicago. This lets you know exactly who’s going to be there so that you can put together a solid game plan. Are you in the market for software? A location for your next conference? A research company/partner?

Knowing who’s going to be there allows you to do some pre-show research, thus, maximizing your time during expo hours.

Tip #2: Schedule an appointment, if desired

If there are vendors you absolutely KNOW you want to meet with, you may want to consider scheduling a one-on-one appointment. ASAE will actually have a space available (the Business Connection Lounge) where buyers and sellers can meet (again, one-on-one) outside the trade show floor. This could be a great opportunity to schedule a private product demo or present your RFP.

Tip #3: Prepare questions in advance

How many times have you ever been to an event, met with an exhibitor, and then left thinking, “Man, I wish I would’ve asked them this, this, and this.” Yeah, we’ve all been there. (And then that’s an extra phone call or set of emails you have to deal with post-show.)

To minimize the chances of that happening, try preparing a list of questions in advance. It may not be comprehensive, but it’ll at least guide your conversation in the right direction. Question topics to consider include…

  • Price
  • Features
  • Customer support
  • Company background (Location, years of operation, staff size, etc.)
  • Training and development
  • Competitive advantages
  • Integrations/special circumstances

The more you can ask in person, the better. (We all know how complicated - and drawn out - email can get.)

Tip #4: Knock out the “must-sees” on day #1

When it comes to meeting with exhibitors, especially those you KNOW you want to see, don’t procrastinate. We say this for two reasons…

  1. Resources (pamphlets, handouts, etc.) are limited, and if you wait too long, the exhibitor could run out. Don’t take that chance. Get there early to ensure you get ALL the information you need.
  2. Sometimes it takes a while for information to sink in. If you talk to an exhibitor on day #1, you may think of a few follow-up questions over night (questions you didn’t even know you had). But the good news is...you then have day #2 to go back and carry on with that conversation. (Hooray for multi-day conferences!)

Again, this is all about maximizing your time on site because time. is. PRECIOUS.

Now these tips apply to the Expo Hall exclusively, but for more tips on maximizing your ENTIRE conference experience, check out our 2018 Conference Survival Guide below!

See you soon!

Your 2019 Conference Survival Guide  How to maximize your conference experience Download this guide

Topics: association leadership, ASAE, Small Staff Chatter

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