Exhibitions are hard work but done well, they can deliver substantial rewards. Here are seven ways to help you maximise your return on investment:
The people you choose to represent you on your stand are of paramount importance. Never let anyone turn up to your stand that doesn’t know why they’re there and what their specific role is. It doesn’t have to be complicated — give them key points about your products and services and guidance on the best way to approach visitors.
Your exhibition targets can be anything from the number of leads scanned to orders processed. It is only by setting objectives that you can measure the success of your strategy.
Exhibit in a space that is relevant for your both your budget and audience, then maximise it. Use graphics to grab attention, lighting to enhance product displays and (perhaps most importantly) don’t overcrowd the stand with your own employees.
Stands often blend into a sea of printed graphics, white vinyl and displays. Demonstrate that you value the environment — while standing out from the crowd — by using natural materials on your stand.
When it comes to attracting visitors, it pays to think outside the box. Games, seating areas, food and drink and innovative spaces can offer visitors a welcome retreat from other exhibitors — giving you the chance to strike up a conversation in a relaxed setting.
However, visitors can be wary of stopping at exhibition stands for fear of being stuck with a salesperson who won’t let them escape. Ask questions and listen before you speak.
Everyone loves a good give-away. But most end up in the bin or with the children of visitors. Give them something they’ll want to keep and use time and time again.
Always check your literature! You’d be surprised just how often old brochures are taken to shows full of out-of-date or even irrelevant information. If you can, produce something bespoke for the event.
Follow up those who’ve been keen enough to hand over their details. If they ask for information, send it as soon as you possibly can. Don’t give up, even if you don’t hear back after the first, second, third or the fourth time of following up — 80% of prospects say "no" four times before they say "yes”.
Copyright 2014 Chris Bardsley, marketing executive at Unibox.
Exhibiting at an industry trade show can do wonders for your business — but it can also cost a lot. So how do you choose the right trade show?
The first step is to list all the reasons for wanting to exhibit. Be specific. “To increase sales” is too vague.
How exactly will exhibiting help you to boost sales? Here are some common objectives for exhibitors:
Next you can start to compare the USPs of each show with your business objectives to find the best matches.
Look at each trade show and try to find out key information from previous years:
With this information you should be able to score each potential trade show based on how well they meet your key objectives. This will be a bit of a balancing act between cost, likely outcomes and the resources you have available.
A fundamental question you need to answer is: Can we afford this trade show?
You should have a good idea of your budget, so the best way to get started is to create a list of all possible trade shows and their cost and cross off all those you cannot afford.
In order to meet defined objectives, it is important to make sure you have factored in appropriate costs for each exhibition including:
You will also need to think about the costs of other activities like demonstrations, competitions, branding/graphics, advertising and so on.
Once you have factored all of these costs in for each opportunity, plus the ticket cost, you should have a list of affordable trade shows that match your objectives and target market.
Richard Edwards is the director of exhibition and event specialist Quatreus.
Everyone wants to be the stand out exhibition at an event. No matter how big or small your stand or budget, you need to make an impact.
But an impressive exhibition stand takes ambition, creativity and a solid understanding of how to show your business in a unique and relevant way. This last point is key and will, most likely, take up a considerable amount of your planning and design time.
If you have exhibited before, the first step is to objectively review your past performances at exhibitions. You can learn from your mistakes as well as those exhibits that ticked along but didn’t garner as much attention as you hoped. Carefully analyse your previous performance — what worked, what didn’t and what could be fine-tuned for re-use.
If you’ve never exhibited before, or even if you have, it’s essential you check out the competition within your sector. Focus on exhibitors that have won awards for their displays or those that are considered to be top of their game. Taking inspiration from previous exhibits that were particularly impressive is a great way forward.
Then take a look outside your industry to find fresh ideas. In addition, spend time on design websites to see what’s being shared and commended. Are there any elements that can inspire your exhibition?
Exhibition stands are evolving at an impressive rate. Just consider that integrating tablets into your presentation would have been unheard of three years ago — and flat screen displays five years before that.
Check out those websites that discuss advances in the event industry. Visiting a showroom is also an excellent way to discover what exhibition experts consider to be the future of event marketing. Looking into these advances could inspire some really creative ways to promote your business.
It’s actually quite easy to be the stand that everyone talks about if money isn’t an issue. But you want to see a return on your investment, which means carefully weighing up the benefits of taking your stand in a certain direction with the confidence that it will drive conversions.
The most straightforward way of gaining good leads from your stand is to make sure it is relevant to your business. All forms of promotion should be easily and recognisably associated with your business within five seconds of someone first seeing your stand. It should also feature eye-catching elements that are complementary to the brand message.
A bad example would be a bottled water company sporting a massive aquarium. The connection is there but it’s not immediately apparent what fish and drinking water have in common. A better example would be a travel company displaying a large aquarium to promote glamorous destinations, suggesting exotic adventures.
Once you’ve taken these steps, you should be in a strong position to create a great exhibition stand with the wow factor that everyone talks about.
Kelly Edwards is assistant ecommerce manager at Nimlok.