TOP 10 tips for a successful exhibition
TOP 10 tips for a successful exhibition
Do you dread them? Standing on your feet all day and desperately trying to attract people to your stand. Trying to make conversation? Getting sore feet? Hot and bothered and desperate for a cup of tea? It sounds horrendous doesn't it? BUT exhibiting is proven to have an excellent return on investment, if you get it right.
According to reports, 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority: so 4 out of 5 people who walk past your stand could potentially be a customer. PLUS 48% of attendees say that face-face interactions are more valuable today than even two years ago, and 43% of those people believe this value will continue to increase.
(Sources: CEIR: The Spend Decision: Analysing how Exhibits Fit in The Overall Marketing Budget. CEIR: Change in Value over Next Two Years and Effects of the Great Recession and Online Media)
If exhibiting is part of your marketing strategy, consider these 10 tips to get the most out of it
- Always make sure you take a team. Even if you are part of a small company, make sure there is a team (of eg family and friends) manning your exhibit: an unmanned stand equals lost sales and leads. You are going to need to have rest breaks to keep your enthusiasm and eagerness levels up.
- Present the best image of your company you can - at an exhibition, you have a unique opportunity to go ahead and sell yourself - people expect to see you looking your best. Make sure your team looks smart and a cohesive, friendly unit. Depending on your business, ensure everyone has matching suits and ties; bespoke ties are a nice touch too. If your budget doesn't stretch to matching suits, then consider scarves and ties that can immediately allow the onlooker to recognise you're part of the same company. Polo shirtsare a great option - consider having text across the back too, so that when you or a team member is wandering around the exhibition, people will know which company they are a part of (and you can include the stand number too!)
- Attract people to your stand. Any exhibition goer will have been attracted to the stand that offers them something interesting... raffles and games always seem to go down quite well - buzzer games, splat the rat: we're all human and we all get a bit bored talking business all day - these tactics lighten the mood and allow people to relax a bit. And what a great conversation starter. What is there on your stand to taste, smell, listen to, watch or feel?
- Keep your cool, or warm things up - depending on where your exhbition or event is, you're likely to need some layers to help you adapt. You can have your shirts all branded up and ready to go with a good strong message, but if you have to cover them up with wet weather gear, then you've got a problem on your hands. Consider printed or embroidered outerwear and fleeces too.
- Get your enquiry sheets ready - it's not enough just to grab a business card if you're at a busy exhibition: you're going to need somewhere to make notes about who you've met... I've found it's best not to rely on memory alone!
- Save some time and make them remember you: if you've collected business cards in a pile and are planning to sort through them all later, why not save yourself a job and connect with people on social media straightaway - they'll be impressed that you're so organised, and it will help raise their profile too - so get on Twitter or Facebook and have someone on the stand who can send a message out to say eg 'Great to meet xxx at the xx exhbition today' Also prepare your merchandise carefuly: what might people be in need of? A handy rucksack? Carrier bag?
- Get photographic evidence to remind yourself of who people are. if you can, grab a photo of them with you or members of your team: that way, you can then immediately upload it to social media with their permission and start your relationship. If you have some sort of interactive game on your stand, that's an easy premise for taking photographs. Check out the Meet Mr Holland campaign
- Direct visitors to your stand: another very good reason for taking a team with you: send team members around the exhibition with leaflets or flyers with something enticing on them: "Come to stand xx for your chance to win a FREE, comprehensive set of branded clothing" "Need some light relief? Come and play splat the rat for your chance to win xxxxxx'
- Your stand: the most expensive and complicated part of the whole exhbition: make sure your company message is clear and eye-friendly. Not too busy. Not too bare. Consider imagery of people: people do connect with people after all, but make sure that imagery is very high quality and professional. Consider something unusual but related to the business - at an exhibition for white goods, the eco-friendly theme of these washing machines was emphasised with plenty of grass!
- Take a spare pair of shoes: essential!