Exhibitions are a brilliant opportunity to network and showcase your services and expertise, but they can also prove to be financially demanding and time consuming. With around 75% of exhibition visitors intending to buy or planning to buy in the future, exhibitions are often a worthy investment but undoubtedly hard work. We’ve identified our 5 top tips to make a success of your upcoming exhibition, and gain a real return on your investment.
Exhibiting is your chance to interact with potential customers, so planning what you’ll say and how you say it is crucial. Creating continuity within your team ensures a professional and clear message; prep them beforehand with tips on communication and appearance, including who will engage in conversations about specific products and demonstrations.
Set targets for what you want to achieve and plan the look and function of your stand based on these. If you want to show off your warehouse or state-of-the-art CNC machine, use a looped video on a TV screen. This brings to life your unique capabilities and makes you stand out from other exhibitors. Not sure where to start? Then remember…
2. …don’t be afraid to ask for help
Many marketing agencies specialise in exhibition support. It’s worth taking advantage of their experience, contacts and know-how to save you time and ensure you’re getting the most from your investment. Learning whether it’s useful to custom build your stand, or where to place furniture and yourself can hugely improve your chances of people wanting to stop and learn more about what you have to offer.
Equally, using this opportunity to update your current marketing tools, such as your literature and marketing video sets you aside from other exhibitors. These can be reused for future shows, and your video can be utilised on your website’s homepage. Remember, these are multipurpose investments so they’ll see you through other shows and meetings too.
3. Listen to your visitors
Carefully identifying what a prospective client is looking to gain from the exhibition is as important as honing your own goals. Engaging in meaningful discussions with prospective clients is reliant on you listening to their requirements. Be sure to sell benefits of your service or product rather than its features; ‘This is good for you because…’ should be at the forefront of your mind in any conversation. If you’ve had a meaningful conversation, then don’t forget to take down contact details so that you can build upon the relationship post-exhibition.
4. Social Media
Any good exhibition will have a strong social media campaign in the run up to, and the duration of, the show. Utilise this opportunity to widen your own audience and build hype for your involvement in the exhibition. Keeping your followers in the loop during the show, including setting up your show stand and some behind the scenes shots, will build interest and alert show visitors of your presence.
Getting to know what did and didn’t work can prove invaluable so it’s useful to hold a show debrief with your stand team. Discuss any failings and what could be improved on for your next exhibition.
It’s vital that you follow up on your leads in a timely manner – research their business to re-familiarise yourself and get in contact within a few days of the exhibition. Being the first company to get in contact will ensure you’re not forgotten, so why not email your new contacts that night so your email is waiting for them the next morning when they get in the office?
Make use of all the information you gather, even if it’s just a contact name and email address to add to your e-marketing database. Lastly, don’t forget to book early for next year so you’re prepared well in advance!
If you’re looking to exhibit at an upcoming show but not sure where to start, get in touch for advice on making the most of your investment.