Exhibiting at a trade show or conference gives you the opportunity to appeal to a large sample of your target audience face to face in a positive environment. Get it right, and you could leave the show with a lot of hot leads and a great deal of potential business. Do it wrong, and you could leave the venue feeling you’ve wasted time and money.
If you’re considering exhibiting at an upcoming trade show or conference and you’re not sure where to start, that’s perfectly normal. To get you started, CT Business Travel shares 5 tips to help ensure you make the most out of exhibiting at an industry event.
Research Ahead of Time
For most industries, there is more than one well-known event to choose from. When deciding which is best for your business, there are a few things to take into consideration. Firstly, ensure you choose the event that is most relevant to your business and the product or services that you offer.
Take some time to research the attendees, as well. What level will they be at within the business? Are they your main audience, and what is the best way to attract their attention? This will all require a good deal of research, but it will certainly pay off in the end.
Also, make sure someone in your business has previously attended the event so that you have a good feel for the lay of the land and that it really is the best fit. This does mean you’ll need to plan quite far ahead, but choosing to exhibit at an event isn’t a decision you should make on a whim and should be a carefully planned part of your business plan.
Announce your presence
Today’s marketing arena allows endless opportunities for announcing your presence before an event has even begun. Begin generating buzz about your attendance before the event by announcing it on your company webpage and social media. You can also generate more interest by announcing giveaways that you will hold during the event through these channels.
Another excellent way to gain some PR before an event is by aiming some outreach towards the official event website or blog. Find out if you can contribute a guest post or opinion piece to the blog offering helpful and industry relevant content beforehand. This will go a long way in establishing a strong presence for your business, and attendees will be familiar with your brand before they even arrive at the venue.
It’s also worth looking into sponsorship opportunities for the event. Though this can certainly be an expensive option, the amount of exposure it will gain your company is priceless, and this can certainly go beyond the confines of the event itself.
Stand out from the crowd
Don’t forget that there will be a lot of other companies exhibiting at the event, some of which might be your direct competitors. This means that you’re going to have to try and find a way to stand out. Rather than simply setting up your booth, printing up a sign with a logo and offering free company pens, do something creative.
This could mean creating an interactive exhibit or simply a very unique and colourful one. When attendees are looking to see which companies are exhibiting, they’re going to be looking for something a little bit different. If your exhibit is stale and doesn’t offer anything different, what will motivate them to stop by?
Put effort into the appearance of your booth by opting for eye catching colours, comfortable seating areas and free refreshments. This all goes a long way when you’re trying to get the attention of prospective clients or customers.
Take this as an opportunity to show off the unique qualities of your brand and give the customer an idea of what your business’ personality is. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box – after all, the whole point of attending an exhibition or trade show is to generate buzz about your business.
Have something to offer attendees
An eye-catching exhibit will go a long way in attracting visitors to your booth, but you need to really capture their interest once they are there. Keep them around by having something unique to offer them. Depending on your product, offering free samples or interesting and entertaining demos will pique attendee interest.
Giveaways, drawings, or discounts for registering a quote with you on the day can also be very effective. Having something tangible to show your attendees is far more intriguing than a pitch and a business card, and leaves visitors wanting to learn more about your company.
Some exhibitors can forget that it’s not only the attendees you should be targeting at events. Remember that amongst the exhibition booths, there are all kinds of businesses. Some of these may be businesses that could benefit from your services, and vice versa.
Make an effort to speak with those exhibiting near you throughout the event, but also allow time to get away from your booth and explore the other exhibits while your colleagues man your own booth. Strike up conversations, exchange business cards or leaflets and see if you can build beneficial business relationships in the process.
After the event, make sure you follow up with everyone. Any leads you collect on the day, whether they are from attendees or other exhibiting businesses, will only come to something if you follow them up.