Whether it’s your first exhibition or your hundredth there’s always room for improvement. Exhibitions are a major investment so it’s important that you get a return on investment every time you exhibit. Here are our 10 Top Tips for exhibitors to help you succeed at your next event:
1. Pick the right exhibition for you
Don’t just jump straight into the first local exhibition that pops up, there are thousands of exhibitions every year in the UK to choose from, or if you have the budget why not exhibit internationally to appeal to a new audience? Visit our Exhibition Calendar and browse a list of upcoming events in the UK for you to choose from.
It’s important that the average exhibition attendee matches up with your target audience so do your research on any events you’re thinking about attending before making the final decision. It’s also a good idea to take into account the size of the exhibition. For example, it’s not a good idea for your first exhibition to be one where they regularly have 40,000+ guests as you may find it overwhelming and the cost to exhibit will be much higher than a smaller exhibition.
Exhibitions can be costly so it’s vital that you set up an adequate budget. There are many parts of exhibiting that can be easily overlooked when creating a budget, for example have you accounted for brochure/business card printing, travel and accommodation costs and emergency funds?
Include everything you can possibly think of in your budget and then ask your colleagues to try and think of anything else that you might need to include. Once you’ve set your budget stick to it! Going over your budget will only lead to a lesser return on investment.
3. Stand Design and Branding
When designing your stand you have to think about how you can promote your message quickly and memorably, this is because people will be constantly moving around the exhibition, they won’t have time to stop and read a paragraph of text on your display. Don’t be afraid to take a look at what other businesses in your industry are doing with their exhibition designs. Are they loud and exciting or simple and elegant?
Design of your stand doesn’t necessarily just mean the artwork, it also incorporates all of your various accessories and technology too. A screen displaying interesting video or image content about your products and good lighting to compliment your artwork are important design features that will help to generate new leads.
4. Preparing the Staff
Staff preparation will help the exhibition to run smoothly and successfully. Senior management should run a meeting before the exhibition with all of the staff members that will be working the exhibition. This should include what your SMART objectives are, target audience, the products or services that you are pushing and key knowledge about those products.
The role of your staff at the trade show is to qualify any potential leads, after initial contact your employees should know if a lead is hot, warm and cold and when their details are taken that information should be included to help the sales people follow up after the exhibition.
5. Prepare Promotional Materials
Promotional material is important to create a lasting impression on potential clients, without them you could be forgotten about as people have nothing to remember you by. Promotional material can include everything from brochures and business cards to giveaways such as branded pens.
These should be accounted for within your budget and in production, a minimum of 2-3 weeks before your event to make sure they arrive on time.
6. Pre-Event Promotion
Making it well known that you are attending an event and inviting customers/leads to visit you at the event is a great way to generate more leads. This can be done in many ways, firstly make sure that your company is featured and well represented on the exhibitions official website. If you have a mailing list it is also a good idea to send out a newsletter style email informing prospects and current customers that you are attending the event. Try to include a reason for them to show up to your event such as a new product range or a competition with a quality prize
Another popular way to promote your event attendance would be to have your marketing team contact industry magazines and journalists in order to gain some media presence. You should also post to social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn regularly as it’s a free method of promoting your attendance.
7. Exhibition Survival Kit
An exhibition emergency/survival kit is essential in making sure everything runs smoothly, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most useful items to pack in your kit:
- First Aid Kit
- Phone Chargers
- Spare Pens and Paper
- Diary or Notepad
- Business Cards
- Refreshments (Snacks and Water)
- Tools to fix any issues that may arise on your stand
For a more detailed list please have a read of our article what to pack in your exhibition emergency kit.
8. Be proactive
It’s not enough to just wait at your stand expecting visitors to flock to you, assign a couple of your staff to go out onto the exhibition floor and strike up conversation with people who look like they fit your target market. If the conversation goes well the staff can bring them to the stand to offer more advice and take down their details to follow up after the exhibition.
9. Recording Your Leads
The reason you are exhibiting is to generate sales leads, that’s why it’s important to get as much information down about a potential client as possible. You can either choose to record this information on paper or on a database. If you’re writing it by hand make sure the diary/notepad is kept safe at all times and similarly with databases make sure you are saving regularly to prevent losing important information.
It can also be a good idea to record information about your conversation, this will help you when following up as you can refer back to off-topic conversation, this makes following up a lot more personal and will encourage the lead to make a purchase.
10. Following Up
Be prepared for following up so you can get emails/phone calls out as soon as possible after the exhibition. Drafting a standard email before the exhibition so it’s ready to send out to potential leads thanking them for visiting and letting them know you will be in contact soon is a great way to make sure leads don’t forget about you.
After following up keeping an updated database of leads will help you to monitor and review the success of the exhibition which will allow you to see what you may need to change next time you decide to exhibit.
At XL Displays we can supply everything from custom built exhibition stands to portable display equipment such as pop up displays.
We hope these tips help your next exhibition to run smoothly. For more information please contact us or call us on 01733 511030.