Author: Marijana Brdovnik - Date: 27/04/2016
Some see it as a tradition and “the must” promotion activity, others as an over-pricey marketing, but after all discussions weather the trade shows and exhibitions really worth the money, it always ends with the conclusion: it depends on your targets, branding strategy, and the budget plan allocation. Always calculate the cost of your attendance at an exhibition, and keep a track on return of investments. Don’t go because you always exhibit or because everybody is going, or maybe if you were told that there is a last minute price. Go because you have something to say and offer to potential market of the show.
Any investment without the plan is often lost investment. Plan ahead, be creative and bring together a motivated team that will enjoy in presentation of your brand message, as well as to be proactive and positive no matter on the number of visitors they have to talk to.
Here are a few tips, better say reminders that will help you keep your exhibition planning in structure.
Before you even book a stand make sure the show is right for you, and that there is a great potential for a quality connections. Look for statistics on who has attended in previous years, which sectors are they from, how many are decision makers… Also look at which other companies are exhibiting or have exhibited in the past, and if you have a possibility ask for their experiences.
When you’re booking a stand at a show, make sure you’re choosing a top spot for being noticed. Think about the natural flow of visitors, as well as what’s nearby and how easily you can be seen. Download a floor plan of the show, or even visit the venue in advance to see what the space is like. When you invest in show exhibiting it is a bad idea to invest in corner positions as it will be far more difficult to stand out, and to catch the attention.
You need to make sure your existing clients and customers, and other visitors to the show know that you’re going to be there. Make sure your profile on the show’s website is up to date, and tell the organizers about any new product launches or special offers you’re going to be running at the show so they can include you in their pre-show PR. Send out invitations to your contact to visit you at your stand and join in conversation about the show on social media.
Trade show exhibitions can be an expensive marketing channel, but if you decided to invest the money into being there you also need to invest in creating a stand that is attractive, engaging and represents your brand. Experiment with lighting, sound and screens, electronic presentations and posters. Follow the same path as visitors around the stand so you see what they see . Make your messaging clear and able to be seen from every direction as well as near and far. Use clear signs and optimum lighting. Make sure there’s not too much text to read and no visual overload.
Images are an incredibly effective tool for reaching your target audience. The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, giving you the power to send a detailed message in seconds. Just like different colors have an impact on how your company is perceived, images have an effect on the way visitors view your company. A high-quality video is also eye-catching, stimulating and informative.
While the focus of your stand should be attracting visitors, increasing brand awareness is a great secondary focus. Make sure your stand features your company name, your logo, and any branding material that you think might be relevant. It is a good idea to offer your stand-visitors some goodies that are memorable and worth keeping, however small and inexpensive they are, it is important that they tell the story of your brand.
The more interactive your exhibitions stand is, the more effective it will be in attracting your target audience. Live shows and demonstrations like cooking shows, traditional dances, traditional painting or any other interactive workshops are always a good idea to think about. Think of anything that can relate to the topics of your services.
Offering snacks and drinks are also much appreciated, and always take care to put on a little branding, and tell the story of your brand through the served food and drinks.. Have brochures and other sales material ready to keep visitors occupied while they’re waiting to take a role in your entertainment program.
Organizers are often looking for businesses to contribute in other ways, not only exhibiting. If you’ve got a great spokesperson with loads of industry knowledge to share, put them forward as a speaker. There are always deals to be done, so speak to the organizers and see what opportunities are available.
Everyone likes to win something and contests, as well as special promotions will attract people to your booth. Be sure that you require something from visitors in order to enter the drawing or qualify to win a prize such as a business card, or filling out a contact form or questionnaire. Quizzes about your company’s services are a great way to add interactivity to your booth. Make a competition that requires entrants to learn something about your company.
Use social media to engage with people who have checked in at the venue or mentioned the trade show on social media. Invite them to your booth, and take time to spread the word about any promotions, entertainment and educational program that you offer at your booth. Don’t forget to post a pictures and video materials with a dose of emotion. Put the experience in front of rough information, and in that way motivate visitors to look for the experiences that stand behind your business story. And the last but the most important advice is to keep smiling and keep on interest on every single visitor that come across your stand, you never know the potential that lies behind small talks.
After the show lights are off, for most exhibitors this is a time when the real work starts. All data that you collected has to be sorted by priority of requests and contacts put in the sheets. Only a good organization and structure can lead to a quality follow up that is of great importance after the exhibition. It can be of a great help to prepare a pro-forma enquiry sheet before the show as it would be easier in that way to record every enquire. Capturing the details of those you meet, who show an interest of any sort, must be a prime goal to support your future marketing and promotion.
Photo credits: magic4.club