Making your exhibition work - before, during & after
Find the right event
- Speak to previous attendees of your potential event for unbiased opinions. Ask the question in a LinkedIn group for a broad review.
- Understand the crowd. Will decision makers be there? Do a quick Google search of the event, it will normally reveal exhibitors and attendees from previous years.
- Don’t always go for the obvious events. A wedding photographer comes to mind; he tried Craft and Gift fairs to generate far more bookings than his regular Wedding Fair because people planning weddings were out gift-hunting for guests and looking at venues and came across his stand – he also had far less, if any competition.
Make your stand work with this checklist:
Send personal invites to your key prospects and if they are attending, suggest an appointment time. It also pays to try to negotiate a larger ad online or in the exhibition guide as part of your deal with the organisers. Create a buzz in the months leading up to your event with pre-show promotion, online and off.
You have less than 5 seconds to catch attention, make sure it’s simple and clear as to who you are and what you do. As a rule of thumb, the more words on the stand, the less they will be read. Instead, deeper explanation of the details of your product or service should be down to knowledgeable staff with good people skills and supporting sales materials such as brochures or iPad ready apps.
If using light and sound, be wary as not everybody enjoys loud music - especially if they can’t hear the demo of the product or valuable info. So monitor this closely. In fact, simply being open and accessible is most inviting to attendees, as is clear product information. However, if you’re not able to do a product demonstration on site – film one and show it on screen for reference and to build engagement.
Once you open up a conversation with a visitor, quickly identify why they’re attending and if your business is for them. They may only want to know about one product, so don’t overload with other products or services straight away at least until you gage whether another solution you offer would be better for them. Collect business cards / contact details of attendees and ask if they wouldn’t mind email’s to their inbox now and again to keep in contact.
Finally, if your company is associated with any well-known brands use their logo as a form of brand association for your business but check with them first!
So the event is all over and the campaign has finished, right? Far from it, now comes the hard work!
Follow-up all leads while they are hot - within a week of the show finishing works best. Call any clients who attended to catch their thoughts and if positive, see if they want to take up products/services/offers discussed.
And remember to add everyone who agreed to your database for future promotions.