If you, like so many people, want to use exhibitions as a way to build your business we thought you may appreciate some tips based on years of experience working with clients.
According to The Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 83% of visitors at trade shows have buying authority; 79% of these use industry events to make purchase decisions for their business, and each delegate is likely to tell more than six people about their event experience.
These stats highlight the ongoing importance of event marketing for organisations in all sectors.
But if hosting a stand works for your business, it will also work for your competitors. Delegates spend an average of eight hours visiting 26 different stands at each event. Making sure they remember yours is essential.
Sure, you want an ‘attractive stand’ but before you even get started you want to think about what you are seeking to achieve...
Have you outlined your goals before the event?
You need to create a list of specific goals for the event. After all, how you can measure success if you don’t have guidelines set from the start? These may include:
● making more direct sales or increase the number of leads in your database
● looking to strengthen customer relationships
● raise brand awareness
● generating media coverage
● market testing products and;
● recruiting new partners and/or distributors.
A list of goals is important before and after the event. It should be used to make important decisions about your marketing materials, exhibition stand and artwork as well as how you interact with attendees.
Afterwards, these will be key areas to focus on when evaluating the results. Next...
How will you rate your leads?
Exhibitions are very good ways to increase leads. If this is your focus, make sure you have a detailed rating system in place. This can be customised however you like based on your goals and needs.
For example, you could use a letter rating approach:
● A could be “hot” leads that made large purchases or are ready to buy.
● B could be really warm leads that made a small purchase or have potential to become long term customers.
● C might identify leads that made small purchases but are less likely to make a large purchase in the near future.
● D could be reserved for leads that only requested literature or some kind of follow up without a purchase.
No matter what system you use, having a way to break down leads will allow you to identify the overall quality of the leads generated at the event.
What are your long term goals?
Exhibition success doesn’t begin and end with the event. Some companies continue to measure results long after the event through follow ups.
Consider including this as part of your monitoring system to determine which events are better for producing long lasting results and higher profits for your company.
And finally, how will you attract people to your stand?
Competing at trade shows is a challenge for all exhibitors. Everyone is vying to attract visitors onto their stand so how do you stand out in a busy exhibition hall and catch the attention of potential leads. The million dollar question every exhibitor needs to ask!
“Why not just use ‘giveaways’”, I hear you cry?
Giveaways are just that, a bottomless pit of money that visitors will gladly take from your stand soon to be discarded at the end of the day without a thought to your company.
What are the different options?
There are a number of options companies try to attract visitors on their stand:
- Ask the organisers to provide a full list of registered attendees, and contact them prior to the show to create a buzz leading up to it.
- Contact all existing clients to make them aware that you will be there
- Promote a competition - everyone loves a competition.
- Provide comfy seating and refreshments to give visitors a place to relax and recharge their batteries
- Provide the warmest welcome (and have the most fun)
- The most striking, innovative exhibition stand will not engage visitors if the human touch is missing
- Your event team is your secret weapon: the difference between leaving an event with a half-full database of cold leads or a calendar full of prospect meetings
- Make sure they’re well-presented and dressed on-brand. And do what you can to help them make delegates comfortable and at ease at your stand
- Most important of all: let your team be human! Your exhibit stand is not a website or a glossy brochure. It’s a chance to make eye contact with customers and clients and to start building a relationship. No visitor wants to hear a sales pitch spoken at them. So go on: share a joke. Smile. And enjoy the event yourself. Delegates will warm to this, and you deserve it. You’ve worked hard to make your stand a success, after all.