Exhibiting at trade shows, conferences or events can really boost your business, whether you’re a tiny start-up, a huge corporation, or anything in between. But making your exhibition experience a successful one is about more than simply turning up, setting up your stand, and selling your products. In fact, the chances are that if you’re planning an exhibition you’ll be busier than you think, so here are some useful do’s and don’ts to bear in mind …
- Choose your event wisely –
Picking the right exhibition to match your products or services (and show them in the best light) might sound like common sense, but many businesses get this wrong. So, try to check out whether your competitors will be there, make a call on the overall quality of the event based on previous years, and see if you can find out whether visitor numbers are growing or declining year on year.
- Make an impact –
The main reason you’re there is to grab the attention of prospective clients and customers, so make sure your stand, your lighting, your display materials, your giveaways, and even your furniture are all working hard. Items like printed carrier bags can also help spread your impact right across the trade floor as customers carry them from stand to stand.
- Take the right staff –
Ideally, your products and services will be so good that they’ll sell themselves, but it’s also important that the staff on your stand know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to exhibitions. Experienced staff will know exactly how to behave on your stand so that prospective customers have a memorable experience (and will therefore be more inclined to buy in the future).
- Network, network, network –
Of course, you’re primarily there to meet with potential new customers, but don’t forget that many of the key players in your industry (from competitors to press to trade associations) will be under one roof for the day, which means you’ll also have an unmissable opportunity to network with them all and raise your own profile.
- Forget to plan –
Knowing what the key deadlines are, what furniture, lighting and power is available on the day, how you’re getting there, what your giveaways are (and do) and how your sales pitches work, is essential. Potential customers will know immediately if you’re winging it on the day, and that could mean you’ve wasted your opportunity to impress.
- Pay the full cost of a stand immediately
Just like anything else in business, be prepared to negotiate on the cost of a stand, and what’s included with it. You might just discover that the organiser is prepared to offer a generous discount and a range of other benefits like access to visitor data or premium listings in the exhibition handbook or programme.
- Rely 100% on technology
Yes, tech can improve the overall visitor experience and create a huge wow factor… but that’s only when it works. Make sure you have backup in the form of persuasive and personable staff who can really talk to your customers in the event of a tech failure or unexpected loss of power.
- Take your staff for granted –
Exhibitions might seem like an easy day out of the office, but they often involve long days, lots of travelling, time away from family, and gruelling schedules that involve building and decorating stands and dismantling them afterwards. So, make sure you let your staff know that you appreciate their work, and reward them with tickets for the exhibitor party or other industry events, or even with a bonus of gift.
If you’re interested in more advice on running a successful event – check out these further articles from The Printed Bag Shop: theprintedbagshop.co.uk/epd2015/