The Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon is just around the corner, and for many attending, it’s going to be a game changer. More than 1000 early and growth stage startups will descend on the Portuguese capital with various goals in mind – network, raise capital, present or attend presentations, to name just a few. Endgame for the vast majority, however, is very simple: expand and grow their business.
Attending the Summit is a great start, but it far from guarantees success. There are a number of things any exhibitor can do to boost their chances. Here’s how to win at the Web Summit.
First up, what is the Summit?
The Web Summit is an annual event that kicked off in 2010 in Dublin, Ireland. What started as a small group of 400 local entrepreneurs and investors grew over the subsequent five years to an event attended by more than 42,000 people, from all over the world, with headline speakers such as Ed Catmull of Pixar, Michael Dell, Bill Ford and Chris Froome.
This year, the Summit will take place in Lisbon for the first time, with an estimated 50,000 attendees set to turn up to see more than 600 speakers addressing every aspect of the web and tech media.
With this many people set to attend, how can you ensure your business doesn’t get lost in the crowd?
First and foremost – preparation. Know who you want to try and talk to before you arrive, and make sure you have all the materials ready and accessible before you get in front of the people that matter. Key materials include:
- Pitch deck
- Executive summary
- One or two pager
- Sales tear sheet even if your product is not yet ready!
- Need some last minute help developing business development materials on a budget? Contact Daniel Hirsch from First Line Capital. Daniel has decades of experience assisting companies from development stage all the way through IPO.
- Top tip: make your company memorable by giving out free gifts to attendees! Be as creative as you want – the quirkier, the better!
Next, remember it’s never too early to start reaching out to potential clients, investors, partners etc. People are busy, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in what you have to say – you just have to make sure you can get them in the right place at the right time. The best way to do this is to get in early. Reach out via LinkedIn. Tap your existing network for contact details. Fill your calendar before you arrive, and you won’t have to waste time booking slots when you could be pitching your product to your next angel.
Publicity and Media Exposure!
Next, and just as important, spread the word early! Why wait until you get to the Summit to start telling people about who you are and what your product does? Generate some excitement and buzz around your product before you arrive, and people will be coming to you to, not the other way around. Get the attention of the people that matter ahead of the event. Need some help with this? Bill Stuart from Summit Marketing has decades of experience helping companies get the attention of the public and they have a special deal for companies that are attending the Web Summit. So if you are looking to get media attention, social media buzz, investor attention or noticed by potential clients then Contact [email protected]
So you’ve got everything ready, you’ve got your meetings set up, you know who you want to speak to and you know where to find them. What’s next?
First, get there. Lisbon is going to be busy come Summit date. One in ten people in Lisbon that week will be there for the Summit, so get there early and give yourself plenty of time to get settled in and get the lay of the land.
Next, set up like a pro. There will be thousands of people passing your stand, and you want to aim to have every single one remember the name of your product. Go big – get a large screen, some flashing lights and a top notch promo vid that makes it impossible for footfall not to notice you.
Top tip: Don’t be afraid to be aggressive. This is a numbers game – we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, it’s not that people aren’t interested in what you want to tell them, it’s just that there are thousands of others just like you that are vying for their attention. Be the one that gets it. Make sure to get contact information of potential prospects. Exchange cards, linkedin, etc.
Finally, and this is very important, once the numbers come in… Prioritize! Your time is finite too. Book dinner and drinks with the best and most important prospects only. Don’t waste your dinner slots on useless people. There will be plenty of time for that after the conference draws to a close.
Contact and follow up!
After a successful day exhibiting at the conference, head back to your hotel. Shower, get dressed and go out for your dinner meetings with your potential investors, clients, partners etc. Once these engagements are over you may be tempted to grab a beer or join the pub crawl. Don’t! Head right back to the hotel, pop open your laptop and follow up with every single person you met during the day. They will be busy too so chances are that you will not hear back from them but this good gesture goes a long way.
Follow these rules and you will be sure to give yourself the best chance of success at the Web Summit.
Good luck and go get ’em!