Exhibiting

How to make an exhibition of yourself

The odd snowdrop and daffodil are making an appearance, the weather is a tad milder and cautious whispers of ‘Spring’ are in the air.  And with the Spring comes a new dawn of exhibitions for you to showcase your business at. The team at Encore are experienced exhibitionists (eh hum..) and so using our collective knowledge we explore here the dos and don’ts of exhibiting your business.

The first thing to remember when looking to exhibit is to make sure the exhibition and its likely attendees are relevant to your business. It can cost a lot to exhibit, both in terms of time and money, so you want to make sure that it is absolutely the right place for your business to be.

Do your research!

Most exhibitions will have a website so take a look at the types of businesses that sponsor the event and, if possible, see if you can see a list of previous years’ exhibitors and those currently signed up. Even better, can the organisers give you an insight into the kind of visitors they attracted in previous years? If you happen to know some of the exhibitors don’t be afraid to give them a call to see how they found the event.  Only when you are really satisfied that the exhibition will provide you with business value should you take the plunge and sign up.

So what now?

Planning

We’ve seen many businesses exhibiting over the years and undoubtedly the ones that present best are those that have clearly put time and energy into planning their stand, their messages, and how they are going to attract people to their stand.  This doesn’t start with the exhibition itself but several weeks, even months in advance when it comes to making sure your directory entries are in, telling your customer you’re attending, arranging customer and/or media meetings, submitting editorial to show previews, joining in social media activity in the run up to the show, and so on.

Branding

We can’t stress this enough but your stand should be plastered with your firm name, logo and colours.  Everything from staff in uniform if you have one, to pop up stands, leaflets, business cards, promotional items and more.  You have to bear in mind that attendees may visit many other stands at the exhibition and won’t remember you unless your stand was memorable as being your business’ stand.

Staffing

It is vital that the staff that you have on the stand on the day are shining examples of your business.  They should be smart, smiley and chatty. If people come to your stand, they are going to want to talk so the staff that you have on your stand must be engaging.  It is pointless putting a shy, reluctant employee on the stand – you need someone who will draw out information from potential customers for you. Staff on the stand should also have extensive knowledge of your business and your products or services.  Attendees are likely to ask lots of questions and while time costs can mean it is tempting to send junior employees to exhibitions, are they the ones that know your business sufficiently to attract new customers? By all means send junior employees to gain experience but make sure there is someone senior to answer in depth questions; we guarantee it will pay off.

Stand footfall and data gathering

Unless you have paid a high exclusivity fee, you are likely to be surrounded by competitors at an exhibition.  So, you need a good prize draw – or other promotional activity – to attract people to your stand. Any promotional activity should create a way of gathering data from potential clients so you can contact them in future about your services (of course in light of GDPR you MUST make this known with a clear notice on your stand).   Promotions could be as simple as a business card draw for a desirable prize – maybe a voucher for a service you offer – a game or a business spin on a traditional game, a selfie frame (great for ongoing social media whilst at the event), or enticing freebies. The possibilities are endless, you just have to get creative!

Follow up

The biggest mistake that most businesses make after an exhibition is to not follow up.  Without any follow up, the whole exhibition is ultimately a waste of time. This should include at least some of the following:

  • Social media activity;
  • Making contact with potential customers who showed interest in your product (again, subject to their consent being given in line with GDPR)
  • Drafting an article on your website (which can also be used across social media);
  • Delivery of prizes from promotional activities
  • Sharing any media coverage coming out of the event

With any luck at least one of your new contacts will convert to business for you!

So whether you are new to exhibiting or are experienced but need some fresh ideas, why not let the team at Encore Communications help you.  For more information take a look at our website here..

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