We’re finding more and more people are attending events this year as they’re eager to get out and about and see people face to face again. If you’re thinking of exhibiting at an event this year (or next), here are our top tips to ensure it’s going to be a fantastic success.
1. Choose your events carefully
Do your research first. Find out what other exhibitors are going to be there and who the visitors are likely to be. Ask about what the expected footfall is, and what the footfall has been in the past. If you’re not excited by the prospect, it probably isn’t right for you.
2. Budget considerations
Whatever the price of the stand is, this is only the start of the budget you’ll need to spend. You’ll need to fill that stand with things, take time out of your day to be there, promote your attendance, feed yourself while you’re there (and stay overnight if it’s not local). Before you know it a few extra pound signs have been put against what could have been a humble budget.
None of this matters if you have the budget and you’re confident that you can secure an ROI. But don’t get caught out. And don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you can’t quite afford what the event organisers are asking for, what have you go to lose by telling them what you can afford and seeing if they’ll meet you halfway? The show organisers need to fill spaces, so never be afraid to ask.
3. Know why you’re attending
If you just think to yourself that you need to go to get more business, it’s too vague and it probably won’t get you the results you want. You need to think more specifically. You want to go to promote that new product and sell 50 items. You need to get 100 leads. You want 80 people to become new subscribers. Whatever it is, have a clear target it mind and then work backwards to ensure you can meet it.
This means think about how you can grab the right attention, drive traffic to your stand, send out the right messages, have the most meaningful giveaways, run the most relevant competitions and really speak to your audience in the most effective way. When you know what you want to achieve, it makes the planning so much easier.
4. Plan your event carefully
Work out every element that you’ll need to consider. The show organisers might have a checklist that could help. From the pre-show build up, to how you’re going to follow up leads afterwards, and everything in between, make a list of all the things you need to do.
This might include social media posts, banners, buying the competition prize, electricity and Wi-Fi on your stand, purchasing promotional pens, getting a new brochure, adding in a summary of your company in the Show Guide and so much more. There will be numerous things to consider, so take a few minutes before you do anything else and write your to do list. Forgetting something could be the difference between success and failure.
5. Pre-show build up
At least two or three months before the show starts, begin to tell people about it and that you’ll be there. But also consider what you want them to do with that information. Do you want them to book in and meet with you? Do you want them to know about the wonderful talk you’ll be doing at the event? If you have a call to action in mind when you put together your pre-show marketing, it will work more effectively for you. Just telling people you’ll be there isn’t that interesting in itself.
6. Lead management
On the day, think carefully about how you’re going to manage the leads. The show might have a barcode scanner you can hire and you just ‘zap’ the visitor badges. Or do you need a lead pad and pens that will allow people to write notes on. Then what are you going to do with all those leads? How are you going to follow up on them? Will you be sending out one of your brochures the following week, or did you ask for permission to send them an email? Don’t let this valuable data fall through the gaps.
In addition, if you ran a competition, did you capture contact details? How can you use them? Do your thinking here before you go, so you aren’t delayed in following up afterwards. People forget so easily who they’ve seen at shows and what stands they’ve visited, so act quickly.
If you’re planning an event and you think you could benefit from some professional marketing support, please get in touch. We’d love to explore how we could help.