Exhibitions and trade shows can be very productive events for businesses, but it is important to get the experience right in order to make the most of these kinds of opportunities to present your brand and products.
1. Choose the Right Exhibition: Attending the right exhibition can help you to reach out to the right audience, to make useful connections, and to focus on the right industry or geographical location, but spending time on the wrong event could be a serious waste of time and resources. It is essential to research an event before you decide to exhibit there so that you can be sure it will fit your purpose. Good ways to find the right exhibition include checking where your competitors exhibit and talking to trade associations to find out which events are recommended by specialists.
2. Learn from Your Competition: As well as using your competitors to find the best places to exhibit, you can learn a lot from them about the best ways to approach your target audience. What kinds of promotions are other companies running at the events? Are they running interactive or social media campaigns around their attendance? Have they created a specific micro-site or blog for their event? How can you make your business stand out from the rest?
3. Identify Your Targets: Knowing who you want to talk to at the event before it begins can help you to use your time more efficiently. Check the list of attendees to find out who else will be there and come up with a plan to reach out to the people you want to meet. You might want to conduct some background research so that you can make the right impression. You can also contact some people before the event to schedule a dinner or meeting, entice them to visit your stand with a personalized promotion, or find out whether they will be attending a particular event or giving a talk.
4. Don't Restrict Your Activities to the Exhibition Itself: Attending a well-respected event can boost your reputation, so make sure you mention it on your website and social media platforms. You can also use them to interact with attendees before, during and after the event in order to keep them engaged. You should also take advantage of the opportunity to arrange meetings and other activities outside the main schedule of events, and of any extra exhibition services such as changes to arrange private meetings or give presentations.
5. Make Yourself Stand Out: You need a clear message, a distinctive stand, and a reason for people to remember you. Come up with a promotion or interactive element that will direct people to your company website, or a giveaway that will actually come in useful. Be creative so that people will keep talking about your brand.
6. Be an Attendee, Not Just an Exhibitor: Don't tie yourself to your own stand. Make sure you have several people with you so that you can take turns to explore the rest of what the event has to offer. You can learn a lot and make some great contacts while you mingle, attend activities, and visit other exhibition stands.
7. Assess Your Success: Track how well you are achieving your goals so that you can learn how to do even better at your next event and calculate your ROI. Make sure you know how many people visit your booth, and how many leads and sales your attendance has generated, and what people thought about your presence at the event.