Making an exhibition of yourself

Following on from our recent set of tips to with help your communications, we thought we’d share some more. This time it’s all about exhibitions and here are our ten tips to help make yours a success…

1  Think about where to exhibit

Firstly, you need to make sure that you are exhibiting in the right place. Don’t just jump in before doing your homework. There are thousands of exhibitions taking place each year so make sure you ask the right questions before you commit. Is the show well established and well known within your field? Are potential visitors to the exhibition going to be your target audience? Find out everything you can from the show organisers, and if you are sure that this is the right event for you, ask for a floor plan and book the right space, early.

2  Tell everyone

You’ve decided which show you will exhibit at, so now you need to promote your appearance – and this work should start well before the actual event date. Exhibitions offer great marketing opportunities to contact new customers and also give you the chance to touch base with existing ones, even reach out to those you haven’t heard from in a while. Make sure you use social media to promote your event, also consider an email newsletter and don’t forget that more traditional forms of promotion such as mailers and marketing packs can also help you connect with potential customers.

3  Don’t leave planning too late

You’ve made the commitment to have a presence at the exhibition, now for the hard work. Exhibitions can be very time consuming and planning should start at least five months before the event date. Establish your budget – everything from stand design, marketing materials, and giveaways, to transportation and event parking will need to be considered. Careful planning at this stage will help ensure a successful event.

4   Make the most of your space

Whether you have got a large exhibition area to fill with a custom-made stand, or a small space suitable for portable pop-up displays, you will need to get the very best from your space. Where will your space be? You don’t want to be stuck in a corner that nobody manages to get to. Is the space suitable for you, who will be next to you, is it easily accessible? How do you want people interact and what is it you need them to see? Planning your space well will allow a more positive engagement with attendees.

5  Be clear about what you want to achieve

Think about what it is you want to achieve from the exhibition, and build in specific targets when you are planning. This way you can ensure you have everything you need to help you reach them. What is it you want to say, do you have a specific product or service which you want to promote, are you looking for increased brand awareness, or a specific target of new leads to follow up when you get back into the office? Whatever it is, make sure you are clear about your objectives so you can ensure you communicate the right message throughout the event.

6  Reinforce your brand

Always ensure your exhibition adheres to your corporate branding. New customers will place more trust in a company with comprehensive branding on display, and existing customers will be reminded of your strengths. It’s not only your primary stand which needs to convey this, consider all of your on-stand collateral (your gifts, giveaways and marketing materials). Make sure your website reflects what has been on show at your exhibition. If people want to know more they will look here and a website which is not up to date can result in a lost opportunity.

7  Design your stand well

There will be a lot of competitors at the exhibition, and potential customers will spend only a few seconds glancing at stands in order to decide whether to engage with you, or with someone else. Your stand design needs to be eye-catching with a clear message that is communicated well.

8  Use social media

As mentioned previously, you should be using social media in the run-up to your event, but also don’t forget to use it when you are actually at the event. It is easy to forget to do this when you are busy trying to engage with potential customers, but this is a valuable marketing opportunity. Take photographs of the stand and upload them, drive people to your stand and make sure you use the official event hashtag.

9  Think about stand collateral

You probably already know that people will expect to leave your stand with a handful of giveaways, so make sure that yours are the ones that they keep. Most will get thrown away immediately, so take some time to think about what your potential customers may find useful. Make sure your gifts are branded and have your contact details clearly visible. Your aim is to stay in front of stand visitors for as long as you can. You will also need to have a high quality pack of information available, even though we live in a digital world, and you may use QR codes, people still like to hold and flick through printed information so make the most of this opportunity.

10  Make sure you follow up

The hard work doesn’t end when you’ve packed up and left the event. Now you need to ensure that you follow up on all of the valuable leads you have captured. You should do this as soon as you can, the closer to the event your leads are contacted, the more likely they are to give you their time and convert into customers. Remember, not everyone will respond immediately so plan your communication for the longer term. Use online and offline communications, a regular e-newsletter combined with a posted item will keep you in the minds of the people you want to reach.

If you’d like more advice about exhibition or display material, get in touch, we’d be happy to have a chat.