Shows and exhibitions are an excellent way to get your brand in front of a wider or specialist audience to promote the business along with your products and services.
They can be excellent value in generating sales prospects as visitors have a genuine interest in what’s on offer.
But they do come at a cost so the ROI needs to be calculated. And if it is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
Here are 6 tips to help with the pre-planning of your participation at an industry event or exhibition. Next month, I will look at tips to help when you are at the show.
1. Choose an event that will deliver results
Select one where the last event attracted a good quality and quantity of visitors. If you are looking for customers, ask the organiser for a breakdown of visitor profiles and make sure they match your desired customer profile. Talk to previous exhibitors for their feedback. Smaller focused events can be equally as good as big general shows.
2. Book and start the planning process early
Decide early on if you are going to participate and choose a site that isn’t tucked away at the back in a dead-end corner. Don’t leave it to the last minute and then rush to get organised. Start a folder for the show, get a team together and start planning. Make sure all your key staff will be available either at the show or back in the office and they haven’t chosen that week to holiday in Fiji.
3. Set your objectives
Talk to your sales and marketing people (internal and external) and set some objectives. Make them practical and realistic in terms of your time frame and what you want to achieve. For example, how many leads, meetings or sales do you want or need to generate for your investment? Do you want to find alliance partners? Are there some good speakers you want to listen to and connect with? Maybe you want to conduct research or attract media attention. Perhaps your main objective is brand awareness. Think about the key priorities and how to measure them.
4. Have an attractive stand design
You need to make the stand or booth attractive and inviting. If you have the budget and the space, seek the help of a professional designer. If not, there are cost effective displays from companies such as Euro Poles www.europoles.com.au which uses printed textile displays that look very professional and are easy to manage. But DO get your graphic designer to create stunning artwork for the eye-catching shapes available.
5. Have a special offer and/or giveaway
This may require collaboration with one of your partners so that’s where planning is important. If you want to get leads having a prize on display that’s given away either daily or at the end of the show, can be attractive. Plus, having some branded giveaways, both low cost and more upper end depending on who you are talking to, will help you engage with visitors for longer and allow you to scan their badge. If sourcing giveaways to be branded with your logo, make sure you allow plenty of time for this.
6. Marketing & PR
Supply the show organisers with good editorial and information for the show directory. Talk to them about any promotional activities they are arranging and if you can be part of them. This may involve providing a prize or speaking at an event. Consider placing a logo and/or advertisement in the directory. As part of the planning process, send a press release and photo to the media who would be covering the show, and be very social on social media about your participation.
Invite potential and existing customers to visit you. Add a slogan and the show’s logo to everyone’s email signature, such as “Come and see us at ABC Expo”. And the message can even be added to invoices.
If you require any assistance in selecting, planning for and participation at an industry event or exhibition, please get in touch. We’d love to help you.
A: 5a Hartnett Close, Mulgrave VIC 3170
T: +613 9803 2588