Having your target audience visit you is why companies pay to be an exhibitor.
Trade shows and other exhibitions are suitable for both large and small businesses. Most industry sectors and their representative associations have an annual conference to which they invite exhibitors. And themed consumer expos are usually held at least once a year.
If you are a supplier to an industry or want to become known as a specialist in that sector, taking a stand at an event that attracts hundreds or thousands of potential clients/customers provides you with a great opportunity to be seen and be heard.
As expos can be a considerable investment, you want to maximise your efforts and take advantage of being able to meet customers and potential customers face-to-face. In addition to generating quality leads and building on existing relationships, you want to establish firm relationships with (other!) thought leaders.
Here are my top 10 PR tips to help you get the most from your expo or trade show participation:
1. Aim to be a speaker at the conference or give a demo on the main stage. This will give you authority and provide greater promotional opportunities. You may need to arrange this up to a year in advance and it’s good to have some prior credentials that demonstrate your ability as a speaker.
2. Make your stand one that people want to visit and they ASK to have their barcode scanned. Arrange an attraction and incentive that will drive visitors to your space and allow them to interact and engage with you, not just put their business card in a bowl to win an iPad.
3. Well in advance (eg four or five months) contact the editors of publications, bloggers and other media, including television if they are likely to cover the event, and let them know about the exciting events happening on your stand and what your talk is going to be about. Set up interviews with the brand’s thought leader if that isn’t you. Make sure you provide good quality photos.
4. Connect with the organisers early on and offer them a giveaway or something that they can use to promote the show to their database. It’s free publicity for you that could be exposing you to hundreds of thousands of targeted individuals/businesses. Keep the organisers abreast of what you are doing so they can use this for their promotional purposes. And make sure you place media kits in the press office.
5. Invite people to visit you — everyone on your database, even those who are interstate. Promote your stand on every social media platform — at least daily — as well as your website, in your newsletters, on your email signature and at every opportunity in the lead up to and during the event. Make sure your presentation is also promoted via social media. Make videos and post on YouTube, Vimeo and Google Video. If it’s a large show, include a map or explain where the stand is located. Don’t forget your LinkedIn Groups and the expo’s own social media site/s.
6. Ask your suppliers, distributors, dealers, partners and associates to add your promotional material and website/social media links to their website and ask them to use their newsletters to promote the event and your stand number, highlighting the attraction you’ve arranged for your stand.
7. Have branding on everything: attractive clothing, name badges, banners, signage, videos, handouts and giveaways. Make the stand eye-catching and in your corporate colours. Go all out to make the stand be your brand, as Confoil has done in the photo above.
8. Take videos during the exhibition and conference and share these on social media. For example, you could take videos of visitors on your stand and ask them what has impressed them the most. When an existing customer visits your stand, ask them for a testimonial. Utilise social media to keep the buzz going about your stand so it engages people and drives traffic to your stand or business.
9. During the show/expo network as much as possible with other leaders in their field, with the media and with other exhibitors. They may require your product or service and could become a valuable referral partner.
10. Make sure you follow up with everyone who connected with your company after the event. This should be planned well beforehand with at least one quality prepared mailout, before they are added to the general database to receive the company’s regular communiques.
For more general advice on getting the best out of your participation, here’s a link to 101 tips that will help with your planning and execution:
If you need any PR help or advice, please give us a call.
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