Attending your first exhibition, or one at a new location can feel daunting. But they are definitely worth the effort. They’re the ideal place to network in a casual setting, meet new people within your network and evaluate your competition. The key to success in this setting is planning, which thankfully when attending an exhibition is rather unavoidable.
We’ve compiled our tips you should know to prepare for an exhibition:
1. Book early
The earlier you book the more likely you will be able to choose a stand or space in an ideal location. Furthermore, the earlier you book the earlier you can start planning for the event and deciding on your strategy. You will also need time to promote that you’re attending the event to your local network so they can visit you.
2. Prepare your pitch
Not preparing your pitching strategy before the event means whoever is running your stand may feel unprepared, say different things to different people and not feel as confident as they could. Ensure the team attending knows the purpose of your presence, what the goals are, who they should be speaking to and what they should be saying.
3. Choose your team sensibly
Showcasing at an exhibition is not something every member of your team will feel comfortable doing. Ideally, the members running your stand should be those with client-facing roles who have experience communicating with your customer base.
4. Promote your presence
You need to promote your attendance at the exhibition so people who have heard about you but may not yet be your client can go and see you. Some businesses also offer incentives, for example, a discount on a service for the first X amount of people, or a free gift.
5. Order banners + posters
On the day, attendees usually use large banners and posters to promote their stand and direct visitors to where they are located. Booking your attendance early means you have time to organize these!
6. Ask for an exhibitors and attendees list
Many such events will issue a list of all the expected exhibitors who have purchased a space to showcase at the exhibition. This contains information regarding the company itself, who is representing them and what they do. This is useful information to know when shaping your pitch and your display.
7. Budget for the event
Attending an exhibition, especially a large annual event, can be a costly endeavor. Make sure you’ve budgeted your finances for the occasion. If the location is far from your head office, the trip may also involve hotel costs and accommodation for your staff.
8. Make take-away materials
Ensure you’ve planned and created material for visitors to take away in the form of leaflets or business cards. Another option is to get people’s emails which can then be added to your email marketing list, or make a QR code for them to scan and fill out a form to submit their details if they want to keep in touch with you.
9. Payment methods
Establish a strategy for how customers will pay for any products they purchase. You want to offer fuss-free payment so the customer isn’t turned away. Most likely this will be through card payment, so ensure you’re set up to accept these.
10. Decide on attire
You want all the staff attending to look professional, but still approachable, but also that they all belong to the same stand.
Establish a place for attire. Will your team be wearing matching branded clothing, or just smart work attire? The nature and industry specifications of the exhibition will have a lot to do with this decision.
11. Run a social media competition
Social media is a great place to host a competition around your attendance and encourage visitors on the day.
The winner can be announced at the exhibition, encouraging visitors to attend. Plus, you’ll be creating content opportunities through live videos and posts that will come from the announcement.
12. Establish a post-event strategy
How will you follow up with your new contacts? What will your introduction email look like to those on your new email list? Could you offer them a free extended discovery call or discount on a service to initiate enquiries? Post-event follow-up is just as important as pre-event planning. You don’t want all your new contacts and leads to forget about you.
Removing things from your to-do-list means you’ll have more time in your day; more time to focus on growing your business! Here’s just a few of the tasks we can take off your hands to lighten your load:
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