With all Covid restrictions in England now lifted and the UK starting to return to some semblance of normality after two years of turbulence, 2022 has also seen the return of face-to-face events. And with many of us out of practice after two years of virtual meet-ups and Zoom webinars, it’s important to take a step back and remind yourself of how best to navigate these in-person events.
To help you make the most of these key networking opportunities, we recently hosted our first ‘Spotlight On’ event of the year – focusing on ways to maximise your brand’s communications impact at face-to-face events.
Featuring insights from our founder Rachel Roberts and spottydog pups Emily Wardle and Zoe Gaffney, we were delighted to welcome Chris Skeith OBE, CEO of the Association of Event Organisers, as our guest speaker for this very special webinar.
In case you missed it, here are our top takeaways on how to maximise your impact at face-to-face events, depending on the objective you’re trying to meet.
If driving footfall is your key priority, then it’s important to put in the work ahead of time to ensure you get enough bums on seats! For these types of events, the build-up is just as important (if not more than) the event itself. Start early and use this time to outreach to connections and invite them to your stand. A personalised invite always has a bigger impact than a mass mailer, so try to outreach to contacts individually if you can and tailor your pitch accordingly.
A great example of this is when we supported our client Chuckit! at Crufts who was looking to maximise footfall at their stand. By teasing the initiative pre-event on social media and inviting key players to come and visit the stand, we saw a direct increase in footfall, and consequently entries to the newly relaunched Chuckit! challenge.
Launching a product
If you’re looking to launch a product at an event, then your focus might be slightly different. Building excitement with pre-event comms is still key here, but if you’re launching a product rather than purely focusing on driving footfall, you might want to pay closer attention to which journalists and influencers are attending the event and engage with them. And remember, you can also reach out to the event organisers to ensure they include you in any of their own communications.
When launching a product at an event, it’s also important to create an initiative that stops visitors in their tracks and markets the most exciting aspect of your creation. Offering a real, hands-on experience with a new product is much more engaging than just a leaflet with lots of information – and will also be much more memorable for those who visit your stand.
Building your influencer network
With many businesses moving away from traditional media relations and focusing more on working with social media influencers, more and more brands are using these face-to-face events as an opportunity to build their influencer networks.
If this is your goal too, it’s really important to identify target influencers prior to the event and engage with them beforehand. Remember – micro influencers are important too, so do your research into engagement rates as well as follower numbers.
Top tip: like all of us, influencers love a freebie, so you should also consider offering them some sort of branded gift to take home with them. And don’t forget that Instagram-worthy décor!
Data & content capture
If data capture is your priority, have someone dedicated to this role at your event – otherwise it’s very easy to get side-tracked. And don’t forget to use technology to your advantage to make things easier when it comes to collating this information. Remember, you need to think about what’s in it for the visitor too. People are very unlikely to give you their personal information unless they’re going to get something in return.
Conversely, if you content capture is your focus, then instead think about facilitating on-stand photo opportunities. You could even incentivise guests by asking them to take a picture in exchange for a freebie! Authenticity is key when it comes to user-generated content, so make sure this doesn’t feel forced to ensure the best outcome.
Looking to organise your own face-to-face event or want to maximise your impact at an event you’re attending? Contact us today to find out how we can help you.