Most businesses will take part in a trade show, expo, convention, exhibition or something similar at some point.
I tend to group them under the heading of ‘Events’. When I refer to “Unexpected Events” I’m referring to the impression many exhibitors give – that they didn’t really expect to be there!
I’ve seen some really good businesses with great products and services with stands, display materials and people representing them who all conspire to make them look decidedly second class.
I’ve seen other businesses who run up huge costs attending the same events every year but with little or no knowledge of whether they pay for themselves or not.
If you’re thinking of taking part in an event in the Autumn or Spring, here are 5 questions that might help you get more from them:
1. What does success look like?
As with any plan, the best place to start is at the end. What do you need this event to deliver to be a success?
If you have a list of all the costs (don’t forget people’s time – set up, manning and pack up), you can work out what you need to generate from the show to give a good return on investment. It’s unlikely you’ll get some sales at a show, so think about more immediate measures; how many on-profile leads do you need?
2. What presence do you need?
Do you need to take a big stand, or would a small or shared stand be just as good for a fraction of the cost?
Do you even need to exhibit? Sometimes the people we want to talk to are exhibiting, so if you are stuck at your stand and they are at theirs, you’ll find it difficult to meet with them. If you aren’t sure about whether a show is right for you, go this year as a visitor and have a look. You can always ask exhibitors how the show has been for them
3. Have you got a written brief?
Any external companies you are planning to use and all your staff will need to understand what the event is, and what you are looking to achieve, so everyone can make a positive contribution.
This pays dividends in a number of ways – it makes you think carefully about what you are doing, and will ensure that your materials look good and work hard and your staff do a great job and know they are doing well.
4. Does your display attract and engage?
At most trade shows, your space will be one of many, competing for the attention of the visitors.
The job of your display materials (pop-up stand, pull-up banners etc.) is to make you stand out from a distance and draw the people you want to talk to to your stand.
Big, bold images and as few words as possible in big letters helps. The images and words should be those that will appeal to your target visitor.
Unless you are a very well know brand, your logo is probably not the most important thing to communicate. Try to find some words and pictures that talks to the typical problems or ‘pain’ that you can fix.
5. Are you taking responsibility for promotion?
If you think that all you have to do is book a space, turn up and people will flock to your stand you are probably heading for a shock.
Not every visitor will visit every stand, and some of your best prospects might not be planning to come to the show or don’t even know it’s happening.
Promote the fact that you will be there and why they should come to see you repeatedly before the show (put it on your website, email signatures and consider an email or two), during the show (social media is great for this) if it is more than one day and afterwards – thank and follow up with those that came, tell the ones who didn’t come what they missed! All of this can be planned well in advance, and much of it can even be written.
Having said that, leave room for spontaneity so you can make the most of anything exciting that happens on the day.
Events can be very effective – plan properly, execute efficiently and follow up fanatically!
If it looks daunting, why not give us a call on 0121 222 5743 or email gill’aardvarkmarketing.co.uk