Attending exhibitions can be a great boost for your business – they’re a fantastic opportunity to get your brand out there and meet potential new customer and contacts.
Here are our top 10 tips for exhibition success:
1. Why are you attending? Are you exhibiting with the aim of generating as many new leads as possible? Or is it more of a PR/brand awareness exercise? By defining your key objectives before you go, it makes it much easier for you to focus on your goal and tailor your approach once you’re there.
2. Get social! Social media is reciprocal, so post about the upcoming event on social media, connect with other attendees, re-tweet the event organisers’ posts. It gives your brand visibility and personality.
3. Arrive in plenty of time – we know this sounds obvious, but make sure to factor in extra time to get to the event. Nothing looks worse than rushing in late to get to your stand when attendees have already started arriving.
4. Don’t exhibit alone – even if you are a very small business, you still need another person to help you man the stand. It’s exhibitor-suicide to leave your stand empty – even if it’s just for 5 minutes. You never know what that important next lead could be passing by.
5. Smile! So simple, but oh so effective. Be friendly, be approachable and say hello to people – you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to draw someone to your stand just by saying ‘hi’. It may feel like you’re stepping outside your comfort zone, but attendees can be nervous too, so start off with a gentle opening such as, “How’s your day going so far?” or “How are you finding the exhibition?”
6. Step away from the phone! We know it’s tempting to check your emails/messages on your phone, but not only does it look unprofessional, it also sends a ‘We’re-not-that-interested’ signal to attendees. If you need to use your phone (for example, we live-tweet a lot from events) then step away from your stand and be discreet.
7. Data capture – make sure you have a means of capturing data from potential leads – whether it’s a handwritten form or an iPad; be sure to take down their details, what they’re looking for and who they spoke to – you can then tailor a personalised follow-up email after the event.
8. Offer a freebie – everyone loves a giveaway, so think outside the box. Water? Fruit? Samples of your product (if appropriate)? Cupcakes always go down a treat!
9. Stay until the end – nothing looks worse than a stand being packed up while the event is still going on – even if there’s only 30 minutes left to go. It sends out the wrong message and you never know who might be walking past.
10. Follow-up, follow-up, follow up – According to Jim Smith of Shopper Anonymous, only 24% of exhibition attendees actually follow-up with leads after the show – just imagine how much potential business they’re letting slip through their fingers!