Exhibitions are a powerful marketing tool that give businesses the opportunity for hands-on product demostrations, market research and face-to-face interactions with customers, new prospects and leads. If organised well, the return on the investment can be very high.
According to the Association of Exhibition Organisers, 91% of buyers go to trade events to buy goods, and 29% ONLY buy at trade events.
Here are 5 things you should ask yourself when you are organising an exhibition.
Why are you exhibiting?
- To launch a new product or service
- To raise awareness of your brand or business
- To get feedback/market research/data capture
- To get more leads or direct sales
- To strenghten your relationship with current customers
Is the exhibition venue right for you?
- Ensure the exhibition is right for your business and for attracting the target audience you have identified in the previous question
- Check the event organisers’ attendance figures and visitors profiles. Don’t be swayed by high figures - quality is better than quantity
- It’s not a bad thing if your competitors are also attending as they will bring in more target customers through the doors
What kind of stand do you need?
- Shell scheme: pre-erected rows of stands that you can decorate
- Space only: you get an area of floor and you must provide everything
- Pop-up banners: that you can reuse for other exhibitions or events
- Bespoke stand build: more of impact and effective, but also more expensive
What calls to action will you give to your visitors?
- Invite people to go onto your website
- Download your whitepaper
- Sign in your newsletter
- Anything that will give people a reason to stay in touch with you after the event, extending the experience
What are you going to do to follow up on your leads?
- Send quotes or information right after the exhibition to everyone you promised them to
- Follow up with everyone and make it personal - people like to engage with people, not a faceless business
- Rate your leads and chase the strongest ones with phone calls
- Stay in touch regularly with everyone
The most important thing is to always give yourself time to plan an exhibition. Remember to also enquire early on in the process about the lead times of any external supplier or agency you will use, so that you are sure you won't get a last-minute panic because the things they were supposed to do are not ready.