Countdown to HIMSS 2015 is on: Best practices for tradeshow success

By Allyson Wright on March 5th, 2015

Thirty-eight days until the healthcare conference dubbed as the “Super Bowl” of healthcare IT conferences begins. No, attendees won’t be wearing colorful jerseys, arriving early to get our favorite players autograph or screaming loudly for their favorite team, but nearly 40,000 healthcare professionals, executives and clinicians will arrive in Chicago, IL in a few weeks to kick off one of the largest tradeshows in the country, HIMSS 2015. Attendees will present findings and lessons learned to colleagues, meet new vendors and learn about new regulations, products and solutions in healthcare today.

The average tradeshow has 400 exhibitors, so it’s imperative it stand out and make the most of your tradeshow presence. Below we’ve outlined best practices for making the most of your tradeshow experience.

Define your messaging strategy. Are you announcing a new product or new solution? Are you introducing a new executive to clients or journalists? Know what you want to discuss at the show and then determine how to share these messages. Develop a social media plan to tease messaging pre-show via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Educate your sales team so everyone is sharing the same messages during the show.

Develop a multi-touch campaign strategy to reach attendees prior to the conference. Think through all aspects of a campaign to reach attendees. Examples include outreach through direct mail or email blasts, online advertisements, landing pages to encourage attendees to visit your booth. Remember to include your booth number on collateral so they can find you.

Schedule media briefings. Capitalizing on one-on-one time with journalists, editors and analysts is essential at tradeshows such as HIMSS. Media briefings create a personal connection between executives and journalists, allow executives the opportunity to increase their thought leadership and secure future media opportunities.

Prepare a day of strategy. With your messaging strategy in place and campaign in full swing, it’s also important develop a strategy to attract booth visitors during the show:

  • Prepare a PowerPoint presentation or demo for booth visitors to keep them interested.
  • Print briefing sheets for each meeting with journalists with key messaging points, insight about the editor and goals for the meeting.
  • Share sales collateral with key takeaway messages, such as infographics, data sheets or brochures with visitors.
  • Facilitate news and updates via social media channels during the event.

Nurture your leads. Not only is it important to have a plan for the conference, but also necessary to devise a post-conference strategy. Here are some strategies to remain organized post-conference:

  • Follow up with leads form the conference and share relevant content, whether it’s a white paper or webinar/demo from the booth to keep your organization top of mind.
  • Build lead nurturing campaigns.
  • Send out a white paper to post-show attendees to encourage them to download the piece and enter into the product-specific lead nurturing campaign.
  • Provider editors and journalists with source material and other follow up information to keep conversations going.

What tactics have you used that have shown ROI in your tradeshow endeavors? Find more information on tradeshow best practices in our whitepaper: “Craving face time: Strategies for making the most of tradeshows.”

See you at HIMSS 2015.

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