Thinking of exhibiting at a trade event?

Thinking of exhibiting at a trade event? Here at Just Cashflow we’ve attended many expos as visitors, exhibitors and sponsors, and we figure we know a thing or two about how to get the absolute most out of such an occasion. Here are our top tips to help you maximise your returns.

Plan Ahead

Always have a clear idea in advance of what you want to get out of the show. Are you launching something new? Want to raise awareness? Aiming to sell on the day or not? How will you measure how effective the event is? Trade events are just like any other kind of marketing – they should serve a purpose and ultimately contribute to making you money. Will your target audience be attending the show? Will enough of them be attending the show for it to be worthwhile?

More questions to consider may be:

  • How will you capture visitors’ details?
  • Will you run a competition or any other kind of promotion? Will you need printed sheets or tablets/laptops for this?
  • Will you need a large screen for display purposes? What about Wi-fi and power? Check whether these are included in the cost of your stand.
  • Will you give product demonstrations? You can attract visitors to your stand by scheduling demonstrations at set times and then publicising these through your social media and email marketing. You may even be able to get them announced over a tannoy – ask nicely!

Market The Event

Make the most of all the marketing opportunities offered by a trade event. Book early – not only will you often get an “early bird” discount, but the earlier you sign up to exhibit, the sooner the organiser can start promoting you. Some shows will also allow you to spread the cost if you book early.

There may be opportunities for additional promotion on social media – check with the organiser. However, you can make your own opportunities here:

  • Use the event hashtag and tweet about the show, seminars, speakers – these tweets stand a good chance of being retweeted by other exhibitors and by the official show account. Make sure to continue to use the show hashtag after the show as well!
  • Retweet other exhibitors as well as the official account, and don’t be afraid to retweet competitors. Remember that their customers and prospects will be at the event as well as following them on social media!
  • Tell your customers and followers you’re going to be there and invite them along. See if there are any entry discounts you can pass onto them.
  • Make sure you take photos and update social media on the day and immediately afterwards, while there is still a buzz around the event and lots of social interaction is taking place. Any photos you capture can be used post show and even the following year if you are attending again. Consider posting short videos or even livestreaming – this could be very popular with people who were unable to be there in person.
  • Once the event is over, create a blog or vlog to review the show, mentioning your favourite parts. This could potentially be shared by the organiser, the venue, other exhibitors and visitors. Exhibitions are an amazing source of interesting content.

Get Your Marketing Ducks In A Row

What marketing materials do you need to take to an event? Banners, business cards, leaflets, promotional merchandise? If you’re new to exhibiting and don’t already have all of these, don’t worry – often you can source all your items from a single printing company, and many offer an ‘all in one’ exhibition package. If you’re on a very tight budget, the bare essentials are lots of business cards and some sort of banner to catch people’s attention, but your needs will depend on what you are promoting. Make sure to have all of these items ordered well in advance – some products and printing companies have longer lead times and the last thing you want is to find that your promotional material can’t be delivered until after the event!

Take a Team

Taking a team is essential for a successful exhibition; never go to a show on your own. Running a stand is a full time job, and at a busy event every minute your stand is unattended (or when you’re simply busy talking to someone) could mean missing out on making sales or valuable connections. Make sure that you have at least one other person with you so you’re able to have breaks during the day. Also, make sure you take the right team for the audience you’ll be meeting: for example, at a tech event where visitors will be technical people with technical questions, don’t just send marketers or salespeople – you’ll need at least one person who can answer complicated questions in detail.

Talk The Talk

The worst thing you can do when talking to passersby at an exhibition or trade show is open with a yes/no question like “Can I help you?” or “Are you looking for [our product or service]?”. At best it’s weak; at worst they’ll just say “No,” and carry on walking. Often visitors will have come to the show knowing exactly what they’re looking for, and if you don’t frighten them away, they will tell you about it. A better tactic is to make eye contact and smile, then ask a question unrelated to business such as, “Have you come far?”. If that gets you a positive response, progress on to more specific questions such as, “What drew you to the event today?”. If it sounds like they’re in the market for your product or service, you can start to discuss how you can help them. Most people prefer to buy from people they like, so building a rapport is essential to drawing people in and making sales.

Follow up

It’s the end of the show – you’re exhausted and ready to pack up, go home and sleep for a week. Don’t do it! There’s no time to relax. This is when the real work begins, converting all those qualified leads into sales. This is the time to prepare your follow up contact messages, documents and follow up calls. Set yourself a deadline to get them out as soon as possible. Strike while the iron is hot!

 

Come and see Just Cashflow on the 8th March at the Exhibition at the British Chamber of Commerce QEII London

The Conference aims to emphasise the positive role that companies play in stabilising the UK economy in a time of uncertainty and change. The day will bring together senior decision-makers, business leaders, young entrepreneurs and opinion formers, to discuss a number of key themes, including the Future of the Workforce, The Future of UK Trade, Managing Business Risk in uncertain times, and Diversity in the Workforce. The event also falls on International Women’s Day and this will form a theme throughout the day.