Tips on How to Prepare for Attending your Next Conference
Conferences are a great way to make your software business known by peers and prospects. You get to know people; you have the opportunity to speak directly to developers, business managers or executives that work in the same field as yourself, or in fields that could benefit from your work.
They are also great opportunities of establishing connections and meeting face-to-face clients you already have but have never had the chance to personally talk to.
Benefits of Participating to Software Conferences
If such an event might have seemed rather difficult to prepare, you weren't far from the truth. Software conferences need as much preparation as any other conference. But all your efforts will be rewarded.
For starters, take into account that you will be presented with the opportunity of meeting personalities in the field, especially if the conference you're attending is an international one. Not only will you be able to listen to experts talking about various subjects, but you could deliver a presentation on a particular topic yourself; usually, these presentations have as a main goal being recognized as an authority in your field of activity.
International software conferences are a great deal opportunity of meeting fellow software developers (or business owners) from around the globe. You'll find out the latest news and you will be able to establish contacts and connections. Also, bear in mind that prospects might also attend such conferences so, do not miss the occasion of making acquaintance with them
How to Prepare for Various Conferences / Events
If you intend to participate to a software conference, it's good to make your presence there known. Let people know that you will be there. There are two ways for doing this: online and offline.
A. Promoting Your Presence Online
Run an Adwords campaign. As you very well know, this is a method to advertise your business on Google, and you only pay if people click on your ads. In this case, make sure you include in your keyword list, terms that suggest or highlight your presence at a certain conference.
Strategically placed banners on your Web site's pages (or on the pages of your affiliates or business partners) are also a great way to promote your participation to a software conference. Don't forget about the conference web site! Many people check the participants page and a logo or banner of your web site may help.
Write a press release in which you announce that you will be attending a conference. Needless to say, the content should be optimized. Promote this press release on relevant websites or on specialized press release submission directories within your software community. Let customers and business partners know. After returning from the event announce your clients the impact of it, the results, give them impressions, send them feedback, of course in an official manner: by writing a press release.
If you have a newsletter, don't forget to announce in it, the fact that you are going to the conference so that your clients come and meet, discuss and send their request. It's an online method to keep in touch and communicate with them.
B. Promoting Your Presence Offline
There are also several offline methods of promoting your presence at a software conference. For example, software magazines are good ways of letting people know that you'll be there. This is because it addresses only a very specific market. Of course, if your business covers a particular niche market, and there's a magazine dedicated to it, your efforts will have a much bigger pay-off.
Then, there is the radio. A press release will provide them all the information they need to let people know that you will be attending a particular software conference. Given the high number of people that listen to the radio on their way to work (or even at work), it's highly probable that you will raise significant awareness.
The main drawback of offline promotion is its rather high cost compared to online promotion. Anyway, it's not necessary to spend all your savings on large ads. The experts' advice is to act on a gradual step, from less to more. The reward could be many times larger.
Sponsorships is not always about money, so do not neglected. When it comes to money, get most of it: make sure as many people as possible hear about you and your business. The event planners may also offer you sponsorship packages in witch they include: a logo, ad or banner on their web site and booklet, a stand to present your business and interact with prospects, company advertising in the conference newsletter, the possibility to deliver a presentation or participating to others.
Last, but not least, there's also word of mouth. Not entirely reliable, but it's effective in its own way. News travel fast, from customer to customer, from one business partner to another. With a little luck, even the media might pick something up and show interest in your participation to that event.
Several Things to Consider Before the Conference
From our own experience, we made a checklist with the most important aspects that should be given due consideration in order for your presence to be noted at these events.
- Make sure you have prepared some give-away CDs (demos with limited rights), brochures, leaflets, and even order forms (just in case).
- Remember to bring business cards to give to the people you meet (not to ALL of them, of course).
- If possible, make sure that every member of your team that is present, wears a piece of garment (shirt, etc.) with the company's logo and name.
- Prepare something to take notes on. You can't expect to remember everything that's been said, do you?
- Even if it may sound awkward, prepare an extra bag for the free stuff that you might receive. Some of that might be really valuable, so why throw it away just because your pockets and hands are already full with CDs, leaflets and brochures?
- Try to find out who will be attending the conference or event where you're going. Know a little a bout each and every participant, as this will make it easier to start and maintain a conversation.
Examples of Important International Software Conferences
Below there is a list of some of the most important international software conferences that you should attend (of course, this depends also on your own target region and on your own interests). You will have the chance of meeting well-respected people in this field of work, listening to what they have to say, and, hopefully, learning one or two useful things for your business.
SIC - Software Industry Conference
The Software Industry Conference is a three-day event held annually, in July that culminates with the Shareware Industry Awards ceremony. There are also dozens of informative, educational breakout sessions covering a wide variety of topics. There are three nights packed with plenty of time to meet other attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors including an Exhibit Night featuring the best software development products and services.
Avangate was present to their last conference which took place on July 12th - 14th, 2007, in Denver, Colorado, USA.
EWSC - European Software Conference
The purpose of the conference is to provide a gateway to facilitate sharing information between software developers, companies and organizations that provide products/ services to software developers. This educational conference serves as a springboard to develop the relationships between developers, companies that distribute software products and companies that provide services to software developers.
Their next conference will be held on the 3rd and 4th of November 2007 in Koln, Germany.
ISDEF - Independent Software Developer Forum
The ISDEF conference is famous for its inspiring environment, stimulating free experience exchange, helping people to learn how to improve all sides of their business, such as organization and management, support, marketing, investments and others.There are two such conferences held each year, one in spring, and one in autumn.
Their next conference will be held on October 18th - 22nd, 2007, near Moscow, Russia.
Software Business Conference
The annual conference focuses on current strategic business, financial and technology issues and growth opportunities facing top executives of software companies. It is a two-day conference serving owners, chief executives, presidents, vice presidents and division or department directors of leading and fast-growing software companies located throughout North America who are conducting business domestically and worldwide.
Their last conference has taken place on October 2nd and 3rd, 2007, in Santa Clara, California, USA.
SLAM - Sales, Licensing, Alliances & Marketing for Executive and Managers of Software Companies
This conference is held each year, in late spring or early summer. It focuses on successful business development models, sales strategies, licensing technologies, partnering, growth opportunities, and marketing issues facing software companies. SLAM is a fast-paced industry event that is tailored to the goals of software sales and marketing executives, managers and team members. It also offers the best opportunities to network with peers in the industry.
The last SLAM conference was held on June 6th and 7th, 2007, in Denver, Colorado, USA.
SWRUS - Kiev 2007 - Shareware Industry Conference
Every year Ukrainian shareware developers meet each other and their friends from all over the World at this conference. Often seen as the most democratic event in the Shareware Industry, SWRUS-Kiev is concentrated around non-formal socializing.
Their last conference was held on September 27th and 28th, 2007, in Kiev, Ukraine.
Business of Software
Business of Software 2007 is a new conference, addressing people who work or wish to work in the software industry, but also to managers, CEOs, directors or founders of software companies. This conference aims at making an eclectic mix of practical and theoretical conference sessions from world experts with the chance to network with the industry's best and brightest.
Their first conference will be held on October 29th and 30th, 2007, in San Jose, California, USA.
Is one of the most important fair events revolving around digital IT and telecommunications solutions both home and business environments.The key target groups are users from industry, the wholesale/retail sector, skilled trades, banks, the services sector, government agencies, science and all users passionate about technology.
Their next conference will be held on March 4th - 9th, 2008 in Hannover, Germany